cookbook + pictures
Having a lot of cookbooks I am constantly looking for more good cookbooks here in the US. I am especially interested in cookbooks which cover more "unusual" topics, e.q. unusual countries (Laos, Vietnam, Poland, etc. etc. to name a few) or unusual foodstuff (e.q. game etc.). I am also looking for cookbooks which have good pictures of the meals described in the recipes. Coming from Germany I really like the variety of cookbooks here in the US but I am also a little bit disappointed by the lack of quality by some of them (cheap paper, lousy or no pictures).
So can you recommend any cookbooks which fall into these catagories ?
re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)
And either of the other cookbooks by Alford and Duguid --- "The Seduction of Rice" and their most recent book, "Home Baking". Unlike "Hot Sour Salty Sweet" they are not Asia-focused, but use recipes from around the world (some Asian recipes are included). The text is wonderful to read, and the photographs as beautiful as those in HSSS, and I've had success with the recipes I've tried.
While it seems to get some mixed reviews on Amazon, I thought about Marcus Samuellson's "Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine" (see link). May not be on the opposite spectrum from German, but an interesting and modern take on Scandinavian cuisine.
I don't personally own the book (yet), but I've eaten at his restaurant and find the use of unusual spices, cures, teas, and spirits in his cooking to awaken my palate and my curiosity. Def. not "comfort food" but something that would gladly push me out of my culinary comfort zone and extend my repertoire. Large, heavy book w/ beautiful photos on good-quality paper. Pricetag isn't bad either now that it's reduced.
I have a couple of Donna Hay cookbooks that I really enjoy. There are tantalizing pictures of every single recipe in the book. Flavours skew to Asian (lots of chile, fish sauce, soy, lime, etc.) and the preparations use a mimimum of ingredients, are simple to prepare and are very tasty. I also love the Hot, Sour, Salty Sweet cookbook.
for unusual check out 'Raw' by charlie trotter and roxanne klein. i know, your thinking health food nutty, but it's not. it's real food, but it's all raw. it's freaky. and trotter and klein are both big deal chefs so they made it a nice looking book.
'the beautful' series of cookbooks as in, for example 'thailand: the beautiful' has great people to author the recipes as well as being all about the pictures. i especially like mexico: the beautiful by Susanna Palazuelos.
for vietnamese, i seem to recall nicole routhier's book being good eyecandy (the foods of vietnam).
some of the best cookbooks are published on the cheap written by people who know what they are doing, i find. including those spiral bound community cookbooks. if you want fancy glossy food porn look for the ones by the big deal chefs, many of which are good, and even great, don't get me wrong, but recipes and stories behind them are more important than pictures, after all. and i don't think they'd give all these authors a chance if they had to give them all fab looking books cause they don't all have the name recognition to sell by the truckload.