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Nov 23, 2008 11:29 AM

Only one new cookbook a year

So it's time for me to buy my one new cook book while I am in NY for my semi-annual visit and it is between The Zuni Cookbook and The Art of Simple Cooking. Which one should I buy knowing I live in Mexico and eat mostly fish, chicken and vegetables?? I love Alice Waters Vegetable book but have been told the Zuni book is very useful. I don't cook very complicated meals any more but am always looking for inspiration. Recommendations greatly appreciated.

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  1. Given your restrictions, I think all in all you'd be happier with the Alice Waters book--which, by the way, is called "The Art of Simple Food," not Simple Cooking.

    Although I adore the Rodgers book and, frankly, was rather underwhelmed by the Waters, I think the latter would be less frustrating and probably more inspirational for you. The Rodgers book would certainly have more ingredients that might be difficult for you to find. And the recipes, although excellent, aren't exactly for everyday cooking. Waters, on the other hand, is more about technique than recipes. She tells you how an ingredient is best cooked, offers a couple of variations, and encourages you to do your own thing.

    ETA: Each of these books has been a Cookbook of the Month. In fact, “The Art of Simple Food” is the current COTM. You might be interested in looking through the various threads to get a sense of some of the recipes and what people thought of them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JoanN

      madwrk: Why don't you go to the Strand bookstore on lower Broadway and maybe you can get both used for about what you'd pay for one new?

      I guess I agree with JoanN if you can only get one, but the Waters' book is a bit too simple and basic to be of much use to me. I'm an experienced, but not pro, cook. I've found several recipes and techniques which were interesting and good, but it's just too uninspiring IMO.

      Rodgers may use some ingredients you won't be able to find in Mexico, depending of course on where you live, but there are many recipes that don't call for exotic stuff and are very good.

      In any case, you will be able to look at each of the books and get a sense of what they offer. Good luck.

    2. And no trip to New York is complete without a trip to Kitchen Arts and Letters

      1. They're totally different, and if I could only get one a year, and was limited to these two, then I would eventually want the OTHER one, whichever that was.

        I don't cook very complicated meals any more but am always looking for inspiration-sounds like the Waters book is a good candidate.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jaykayen

          Waters it will be, thank you., I can't carry two books back in my luggage - and I will definitely try to get to Kitchen Arts and Letters. Thanks so much everyone.

          1. re: madwrk

            Do go to Kitchen Arts & Letters - in my neighborhood. But, I will be a naysayer. I have Alice Waters book, and have been doing a little (a very little) cooking from it this month, and, really, am not inspired. So, I would say, if you are not in need of a basic cookbook, which is pretty much what hers is (though without certain very basic instructions), I would go with Zuni, and I say that never having seen that book. However, the threads about it inspire me, and I look forward to buying it and cooking from it in the upcoming months. I

            1. re: MMRuth

              I agree with MMRuth - The Art of Simple Food is a bit meh, really. I can't speak for the Zuni book, though, which I've never seen.

        2. I own both and given your parameters I would say the Waters book.

          Personally I like Zuni more but AOSC seems more appropriate for you right now.

          Happy cooking :-)