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Was santa good this year??? cookbooks, cookbooks, cookbooks oh my!

Well certainly for me! I got the best espresso/capp maker that is so easy to use and whips up perfect espresso and cappuccinos in no time! I am sipping one now! :) I also got a huge number of cookbooks this year (im a junkie) and I was wondering if anyone else got some great cookbooks- I thought it would be fun to list what you got and then ppl. can reply with insights on those books (successes or not so successful recipes) and their own lists or whish lists! :)

Here is my list which is crazy this year because all my family (we have a big one) decided to get me just what I wanted! :)

The Italian Country Table (Lynne Rossetto Kasper)
Bistro Cooking (Patricia Wells)
Trattoria (Patricia Wells)
Small Bites (Jennifer Joyce)
Seductions of Rice (Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid)
Cook with Jamie (Jamie Oliver)
Louisiana Real & Rustic (Emeril Lagasse)
The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook The new Classics
Martha Stewarts baking handbook
The cooking of SouthWest France (Paula Wolfert)
The Zuni Cafe (Judy Rodgers)
King Arthur Flour bakers companion
King Arthur flour cookie companion
Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey (Efisio Farris)
Savory Baking from the Med (Anissa Helou)
The ultimate Soup Bible (Anne Sheasby)
and for my most treasured..... A passed down who knows how old copy of Joy of Cooking from my mother in law- I already have a new copy but this one with its tattered pages, marked recipes, notes etc. is so special-

Okay everyone lets hear what you all like and dislike about these books and a list of your own! Happy reading! :)

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  1. Well, the Zuni cookbook, in addition to the infamous chicken (which is fantastic) also has my go to recipe for gougeres. And bistro cooking has my go to recipe for fish soup with rouille.

    I got 2 copies of Nigella Express which I'm quite excited about for when I go back to work in February. Even better, one was returned to Sur LA Table and now I have a gift card!

    Also got the Lady and Sons, which I'm less excited about. And a tastebook from my aunt, who's a fabulous cook.

    1. I bought myself a number of cookbooks in December, so I was my own Santa. Don't know if you've seen my posts about Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey:


      Enjoy - looks like you'll have a busy year of cooking (or reading, at least!).

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth

        Thanks! I love your pictures! I cant wait to try those recipes- I already had them bookmarked with post its! Amuse Bouche I dont have Nigella's books but I do have the Lady and Sons- The corn casarole is really great! Very easy and nothing fancy but always requested by everyone every year- Also very good Mac and Cheese (sour cream really puts it over the top).
        Im really looking forward to finally trying the famous zuni chicken!

      2. I received a copy of The Cafe Brenda cookbook (by a local restaurant owner.) I gave myself Pure Desserts, Desserts by the Yard and the Sweet Life. (Any suggestions for these appreciated. I have received a few from the list.)

        3 Replies
        1. re: karykat

          karykat, how is that Cafe Brenda cookbook? I wanted to flip through it last time I was at Spoonriver (they had a stack right near the entry way) but I felt a little weird doing so... I've been looking for more recipes for cooking with whole grains, does she have a lot in there?


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Dairy Queen (and fellow Minnesotan) -- The Cafe Brenda book has lots and lots of fish recipes. Many different croquette recipes (which I think reflects her restaurant menu, doesn't it?) Many cakes, pies and tarts. Many of those use whole wheat flour and sweetners other than refined sugar like maple syrup and honey. One I have in mind is the concord grape pie -- will have to wait quite a while for that one. The parts that look most interesting to me are the soups. I'm looking at mint-split pea and the parsnip apple. Many other good options. Also has a good bread section (yeasted and quick) and also a good section on vegetable entrees.

          2. re: karykat

            I've tried a few recipes from "The Sweet Life." The Meyer Lemon Curd Tart is the best ever. Made it last year and could barely wait for Meyer lemon season to make it again. (Her Sweet Tart Crust is a bit of a bear. I've never managed to get it into the tart shell in one piece. But I just sort of patch it up with extra pieces of dough and even it all out with my fingertips and it's well worth it. Everyone asks about it. It's like eating sweet lemons on top of a sugar cookie.) The Spice Apple and Sour Cream Cake is not to be missed and the Almond Honey Caramel Chews are addictive.


          3. Pork and Sons! It is fabulous! And My Bombay Kitchen, also wonderful.

            11 Replies
            1. re: zataar

              I have My Bombay Kitchen coming to me any day now, I am so excited.
              Also, Pure Dessert by A. Medrich, which I am really excited about too. I always seem to get at least three or four absolute winners from any one Medrich cookbook.
              Have you cooked from N.Kings book yet? I am looking forward to just reading it like a novel..

              1. re: rabaja

                I made the sesame cake from the Medrich book and I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve it. It sounds weird - ingredients include toasted black sesame seeds and a big glop of toasted sesame oil (the kind I usually use in Chinese recipes and bbq marinades). Fabulous. If the rest of the book is a good as this cake, I'm getting it soon.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  Hi oakjoan! That sounds intriguing. If the recipe isn't too long to paraphrase, could you post it? Hmmm...or maybe I should just buy the book. Hey, it's a New Year, and I only promised not to buy any new cookbooks last year ; )

                  Seriously, for you CH cookbook addicts, what do you do? I filled my last bookcase, and just have no more room. And when I realized Epicurious.com actually doesn't include every recipe from Gourmet and Bon Appetit, I'm keeping all those again too (along with every issue of Saveur and Food and Wine). Even though we just bought a new house (YAY with a real kitchen!!!) - BTW in Arizona so if any CHs are from Phoenix, I'd love to hear from you! - at 300 cookbooks, I know I have a 'problem'. Tips on organizing?

                  1. re: Rubee

                    It intrigued me as well, Rubee, and I found this online:


                    1. re: JoanN

                      Thanks so much! If I had buttermilk, I would be making that today. Looking forward to trying the recipe!

                    2. re: Rubee

                      The recipe I used comes from a blog and uses the black sesame seeds. I think this is important because of the neat look they give to the cake. If you search using the most popular search engine, the first thing that comes up when you search "medrich black sesame cake" is the one I used.

                      IMPORTANT. Don't overcook it. Take it out right when you can make yourself believe there's no goop sticking to the tester.

                      1. re: Rubee

                        As a cookbook addict, here's what I do. (Don't necessarily recommend it, but it's what I do.) I rent a small storage unit, and put most of my cookbooks in it. They are categorized by type (baking, food history, ethnic, etc.)

                        I have a small book shelf in my living room. One shelf is allocated for cookbooks. There are a couple all purpose books (Bittman, New Way to Cook) and other books go in and out of rotation from storage. Baking books predominate.

                        This keeps things at home manageable. I can find things when I want them. Obvious downside: cost.

                        I think also that I am trying not to buy so many new books and am just making better use of what I have. Partly possible because I feel like I can get at what I want when I want it. And also more things are available on line.

                        1. re: karykat

                          KaryKat, you're my sole mate! I also rent a storage unit, but I keep my other stuff in it (like furniture), so that there's more room for books in my house. Sure, it costs money, but it's worth it for my sanity.

                          Even so, after putting bookcases on my stairway landing and in all the halls, I've run out room for more books (unless I line my guest room with bookcases and turn it into a library). Thank heavens for online recipe resources!


                          1. re: karykat

                            Thanks very much for that tip! Good idea on keeping some books out and rotating them, an idea I'm going to implement.

                        2. re: oakjoan

                          I made this today, and agree -- fabulous!

                        3. re: rabaja

                          I've used My Bombay Kitchen several times. There is a wonderful chicken with apricots recipe that we really enjoyed. Any rice or biryanis are good as are salad type dishes. It's a delightful book, fun to read, fun to cook with. This may be one of those "cook from start to finish" books.

                      2. I got Rocco DiSpirito's Real Life Recipes, I think it is because my mom thinks he's as cute as I do. It's good, some simple straight-forward entrees. Nothing too fancy. Deli Roast Beef features prominently in the Beef section, interesting.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: foodandscience

                          My wife and I had GREAT success using a his deli roast beef soup. I had real doubts, but dang...better than I think it had any right to be. He gets treashed a lot for his personality, but the fact is: He can cook.

                        2. Wow. Nice! We're buying a house, so low-key this year and no new cookbooks. I just want to say (1) I'm jealous! and (2), I'd love to hear more on why you picked the books you did, for future reference.

                          I do have, and love, Zuni. I had it for a while, but never really appreciated it until Carblover's report on the Zuni chicken, and then because it was the CH Cookbook of the Month, I really got to delve into it. In case you missed it, here's a great list of reports on favorite recipes:

                          January 2007 - Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe Cookbook

                          PS. Two I've had on the list for a while because of Chowhounds: MMRuth, the Sardinian book has been on my list ever since your post on the spaghettti and bottarga dish. And LOP because of Beetlebug's report on Land of Plenty from Fuchsia Dunlop:


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Rubee

                            Land of Plenty is another one I want. Made one recipe from it, too, and was impressed.

                          2. I'm most envious, actually, about your passed down Joy of Cooking book. :) But, I've been thinking about maybe working towards building my library of these "essential" according to the the James Beard foundation, cookbooks.


                            But, my real "cookbook" resolution this year is twofold:

                            1) Actually use the cookbooks I have (I have SO many).
                            2) Keep a recipe log. I find I'll cook a recipe once and forget where it came from and not be able to find it again when I want to. As suggested in this thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/471431

                            I also have this weird habit of purchasing cookbooks because they remind me of a certain place or time or restaurant I love, even if I never cook from them because they're way too complicated... Those I'll never get rid of but, I'm thinking of getting rid of the cookbooks I decide I don't like once I actually try cooking from them this year. That will make room for new cookbooks.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Rubee and Dairy Queen- Thank you for the replys! The links to Zuni from book of the month is great! I cant wait to start trying those recipes! I will keep posting as I work my way through the books- Some I picked (Zuni, Martha Stewart, Seductions of Rice, he Italian Country Table) because I just think they are so beautiful and full of wonderful information and stories and food! Other were chosen by family members and I will post their goods and bads as I get to use them! I also like to buy books that remind me of places- hey some ladies have shoes, some have bags and I have cookbooks! :)

                              1. re: gastronomy

                                What if you have shoes AND cookbooks? I have a storage area filled with cookbooks that are pretty organized by type. May be the only things I have that are organized. I bring them in and out of rotation. I have reduced how many new ones I buy, but this fall I fell for some of the new dessert books. So they will be fun to experiment with.

                            2. This year, I was a lucky girl. After seeing countless recommendations on this board, I asked for - and received - Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone". I'm not a vegetarian, but I do love my vegetables. And most of my other cookbooks are weak on meatless main dishes.

                              This book looks great! I've already flagged a dozen recipes that I must try right away. The Stir-fried Brown Rice with Brocolli Rabe looks especially wonderful. So does the Prune Tart in Almond Custard.



                              P.S. I've got "Trattoria" and I love it. It contains my favorite recipe for Panzanella (though I don't follow it exactly, of course). And there's a yummy-looking apple cake that I've been meaning to make someday.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                She also has a wonderful cake in Trattoria- I think it's called orange and lemon cake, but I'm too lazy to go look. ;+)

                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                  I have Madison's book and haven't used it much lately...can you post reviews of any recipes you love??

                                2. zoinks! that's quite a list! you'll have quite a bit of companion reading to do online, exp all the Zuni threads here. Even the most simple stuff (kale soup) is brilliant in that book.

                                  santa and I have a more austere arrangement, but
                                  Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma from Babbo is now at my house
                                  I see JoanN has already started the thread about that book : )
                                  I want to make those pretzely things with chili flakes and oregano - I'm glad the book has some savories.

                                  I also got a really nice salt/pepper grinder . . .
                                  Happy New Year to you all!

                                  1. Pikawicca gave me Mod Mex which is excellent. I was also given The Metropolitan Life Cookbook, pub. 1922. There is a recipe in it for toast that I find a hoot. "Cut stale bread into 1/2" slices. Put slices in wire toaster. Lock toaster and hold under or over the heat....."

                                    1. Candy gave me "Pure Dessert," from which I've baked the very delicious Nibby Bittersweet Brownies. My husband gave me "A Baker's Odyssey." The dough for Fatigmans, a Norwegian pastry, is resting overnight in the fridge. I'm eager to explore both of these books.

                                      1. Among my favorite gifts this year was "Classic Indian Cooking" by Julie Sahni, which I've begun reading cover-to-cover... it's an incredible tutorial on Indian culture/cooking across the regions.

                                        I talked some friends into doing an Indian potluck on Sunday, and I tried the Herb-and-Onion Laced Yellow Split Peas (awesome- will eat over and over again!), the Cucumber and Yogurt Raita (very good, not excellent, but will likely try again), the Buttered Smothered Cabbage (excellent- spicy and flavorful, but the directions left it still a bit too crispy for my taste).

                                        I served it all up with some basmati rice and store-bought naan- great meal! Can't wait for whatever's next!

                                        1. I received two cookbooks this year.

                                          The first is Julia Child's Mastering French Cooking Volume One (Is that right?). I'm very excited and have been gobbeling it up.

                                          The second is The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook The New Classics. I made the Chicken Liver Pate out of it, and it was a disaster. The recipe just did not make sense. Clearly directions were left out and the ingredient list was wrong. In the end, it tasted awesome, but that's because I just did what I figured I needed to do.

                                          I also got a bunch of cooking tools that I'm excited about: a V-Slicer, a food mill, an oven thermometer, a sifter and kitchen shears.

                                          1. I got Julia Child DVDs!!! I was so delighted (thanks to my sister!) I'll be watching them as I ride the new exercycle (I guess that things balance out).

                                            I did buy What to Drink with What You Eat as a present for myself.

                                            1. Strangely enough, though i'm not Vegetarian, i seem to amass these great vegetarian cookbooks. I guess i tend to entertain a diverse group of people and always go out of my way to accomodate all eaters...

                                              i got 3 superb Vegetarian cookbooks this christmas, and i have no doubt they will serve as lovely fundemental books for a while..

                                              Mediterranean Harvest

                                              Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

                                              and The Veganomicon

                                              1. I became a vegetarian almost two months ago, and my husband got me a vegan cookbook called Viva La Vegan. I haven't made any of the recipes yet, but they sound great.

                                                1. Wow! I thought I got a lot of books this year!
                                                  I would love to hear what you think of the Soup Bible. I consider soup one of the most important food groups :-)
                                                  Like you I also recieved a treasured book, my Mother-In-law's Mastering The Art of French Cooking, which I surprising didn't have already. It was given to me with a card attached that read 'I've learned a lot from both of you". Which was very sweet and quite the exaggeration!
                                                  The other "real" cookbooks were Alice Waters - The Art Art of Simple Food
                                                  and a signed first edition of James Beard's - Delights and Prejudices which I find quite interesting so far.
                                                  Then I also received
                                                  Julia and Julia - Julie Powell
                                                  The Sake Handbook - along with a lovely glass sake set
                                                  and Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires, which is the only one of her 3 I have not read yet.
                                                  Those paired with the 3 or so books on Urban education should keep me busy until about April!

                                                  Oooh, and I also recieved a Wusthoff knife that I may very well be in love with :-)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: SweetPea914

                                                    Boy you got some good ones too! :) I love the soup bible so far- I have not actually cooked from it yet but I read it cover to cover and have tons of soups taggged to start trying asap! I will post as soon as I start...
                                                    I loved "Julia and Julia" and all Ruth Reichl's books (garlic and saphire is a great read!).
                                                    Happy reading, cooking and who can forget eating! :)