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COTM-ers: what cookbooks should I buy on my trip to the States?

So far I have The Essential Cuisines of Mexico and Jean Anderson Cooks on my list. My plan is to order online and get them delivered to the place we're staying in New York, so I can benefit from both the exchange rate and the cheaper postage. Cunning, hey?

I'm trying to remember what books have come up regularly during our nomination sessions but am drawing a bit of a blank.

So what do you reckon. Which American cookbooks do I really need to own?

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  1. Oh my! This is a very exciting choice for you. How many books can you manage in your suitcase? And what holes do you feel you have in your current collection? We know that you are a very capable and good cook with many books, so maybe a few hints as to what you are interested in right now could be helpful.

    14 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      Well I've told Mr GG he can only pack a couple of pairs of underpants and a change of shirt.... ;-)

      The only gaping hole I have, probably, is South American. I don't own a single South American cookbook. But that's not to say there aren't plenty of other books I'd like in my collection. Ha! Oh, and nothing Caribbean either, although there's a book by the wonderfully named Levi Roots that I've got my eye on. I also have nothing by Julia Child - do I really need to add her to my collection, do you think? And what about Mark Bittman, about whom I know next to nothing.

      Autumn is generally a good time for cookery books what with Christmas approaching. Are there any exciting new releases you know about? Unfortunately, the new paperback copy of Essential Cuisines of Mexico isn't out until October, which is annoying.

      1. re: greedygirl

        People will probably cringe when I say this but don't waste your time and money on the Bittman books.... his recipes are readily available on line vis a vis his blog and other sites:

        As for the other gaps on your cookbook shelves I say buy what you are interested in after having read all the plugs for COTM in the past months.
        And.... May I just say that I hope you and your husband have a wonderful time during your travels here.... and I wish I were able to meet you on your journey. Safe travels and safe home.

        1. re: Gio

          Second on the Bittman comment. Not worth the overseas luggage weight.

              1. re: roxlet

                I agree, but want to emphasize that I LOVE Bittman and think his contributions to cooking in the U.S. are hugely important. It's fun to watch his videos. He has a good sense of humor and good sense. His one stumblebum act was to make that stupid doc/cooking show with Gwnthewhenth Paltrow and Mario Batali. Feh!

                I'd suggest

                Anything by Paula Wolfert, but especially The Cooking of Southwest France and Mediterranean Greens and Grains.

                The Deborah Madison cookbooks (Greens' Cookbook, The Savory Way and Fields of Greens - all veg., along with Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone ). Madison was the chef at Green's resto in SF as well as the head chef at Tassajara, the Zen retreat in the Carmel hills.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  Fields of Greens is by Annie Somerville, Madison's successor at Greens and Tassajara. greedygirl already has the Greens Cookbook, she says below.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Ah, good catch, Caitlin. Madison (together with Edward Espe Brown who wrote the Tassajara Cookbooks) wrote "The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant."

                    Annie Somerville --who is still at Greens Restaurant--wrote "Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant" as well as "Everyday Greens."


                    I didn't realize that the San Francisco Zen Center owns (or owned--I'm unclear if it still does) both Greens Restaurant and Green Gulch Farms http://www.greensrestaurant.com/about...

                    On a side note, Edward Espe Brown has a new book, The Complete Tassajara Cookbook: Recipes, Techniques, and Reflections from the Famed Zen Kitchen coming out any day. I don't know if this is supposed to be a compilation of his previous Tassjara Cookbooks or what. http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog...
                    It would be more convenient to have all of the Tassajara books "in one", but I'm unclear if I'm supposed to hang onto my old Tassajara books?


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I don't think Tassajara owns the restaurant, but am not sure about Green Gulch. My sister is a zen buddhist priest (affiliated with the SF Zen Center) and used to be the chef at Tassajara for a while. She used to mention Green Gulch and stay there a lot so I figure it's attached to the SF Zen Center.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        Hmm...sorry if I was unclear...I don't think I said that Tassajara owns the restaurant. I said SF Zen Center owns both Greens Restaurant and Green Gulch Farms. In fact, it says exactly this on the back cover of my hardcover edition of Fields of Greens:

                        "Green Gulch Farms, the organic farm owned by the Zen Center, which also owns Greens Restaurant..."

                        If you look in the link I provided above it says: "SAN FRANCISCO ZEN CENTER : Zen Center was established in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Zen Center supports three residences; Zen Center in San Francisco; Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in the Ventana Wilderness inland from Big Sur; and Green Gulch Farm in Marin County."

                        It also says

                        "ABOUT GREENS RESTAURANT We opened in 1979 under the auspices of the San Francisco Zen Center."

                        In the acknowledgements to Madison's Green's book it says, "Greens would not have existed without the San Francisco Zen Center and the wider community of friends and supporters who encouraged the Zen Center to establish such a restaurant..."

                        So, it seem clear to me that at one point in the past, and I think still today, the San Francisco Zen Center owned Greens, as well as Green Gulch Farms, as well as Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

                        How neat, though, that your sister used to be the chef at Tassajara. Does she bake great bread? :).


          1. re: Gio

            Thanks Gio. Maybe next time we'll make it up Boston way.

          2. re: greedygirl

            Greedygirl, just a suggestion, but you might consider spending some time in a library while you're here, looking through some of the books you're considering so you can decide whether you like them or not. I just checked a bunch of Bittman books out of the library--I found them to be nice overviews, but they didn't really grab me. They didn't seem to have the same personal history and charm a lot of the other COTM's we've cooked from have had.

            Speaking of Bittman, about 10 years ago he created this list of 50 books he'd rather not live without. It might be interesting for you to peruse. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5086...
            Based on this list, I bought

            "The Art of South American Cooking, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi
            (HarperCollins, 1991)", of which Bittman says, "Unfortunately, the only serious book on the subject to date. Fortunately, it's damned good."

            It's a difficult book to find, actually. I have enjoyed reading from it, but haven't cooked from it (yet).


            1. re: greedygirl

              Have Mr. GG only pack very old clothing that he can throw away after wearing - then you'll have an empty suitcase!

              If you have time in NY, try to spend some time at Kitchen Arts & Letters. It is a small but very extensive store specializing in cookbooks...


              There are fascinating regional cookbooks put out by church groups and civic groups. The most well known are put out by the Junior League. These often have wonderful recipes and provide an interesting peek into the traditions/influences of the various areas. Kitchen Arts and Letters usually has a nice selection of this sort of cookbook.

              Have a wonderful visit!

              1. re: greedygirl

                TRY JESSICA'S BISCUIT. COM . You can search by cuisine , author, and geography. Prices lower than Amazon, and free shipping as well.

                JULIA CHILD MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING VOL I &II is an absolute must for any serious home cook.

                NIGELLA'S CHRISTMAS just came out, and it is terrific.

                SILVER PALATE COOKBOOK is an American Classic.

                Any book by MARCELLA HAZAN, LIDIA BASTIANICH,.

                I would recommend Arthur Schwartz's NEW YORK CITY FOODwhich a fabulous gastronomical history of NYC with great recipes.

                For more great American, BAREFOOT CONTESSA BOOKS, by Ina Garten are excellent. The recipes are delicious, and it is user friendly.

                I have many hundreds of cookbooks, but I find I turn to MARCELLIA, JULIA, and PAULA WOLFERT most of the time. I also have cooked through LYDIE MARSHALL'S wonderful French cookbook, CHEZ NOUS, which is now available at Jessica's Buscuitcom on sale

                For a wonderful read, try BITTER ALMONDS, a bittersweet memoir about growing up in a Sicilian Convent that baked specialty Sicilian sweets for income. The author went on to leave the Convent and establish one of the most famous Pastry shops in Sicily. The book is a testament to the survival of the human spirit under harshe conditions.

                Bitter Almonds: Recollections & Recipes from a Sicilian Girlhood (Hardcover)
                ~ Maria Grammatico

            2. I don't even know where to start. As smtucker writes, which U.S. cookbooks do you have, and maybe what are some of your U.K. favorites? I just picked up (another) slew of U.K. cookbooks here in Northern Wisconsin, believe it or not. And if you need another NYC address to send them to for any reason, you can certainly use mine. Oh - and isn't Diana Kennedy from the U.K.? ;-)

              14 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                She is, but not remotely well known here. I think you have adopted her as your own. ;-)

                US cookbooks which I already own:
                Cradle of Flavour
                The Art of Simple Food (Alice Waters)
                Bon Appetit Y'All
                Sunday Suppers at Lucques (love this)
                The Greens Cookbook (Deborah Madison)
                Vietnamese books by Pham and Nguyen

                My favourite UK cookbooks
                Anything by Elizabeth David, Nigel Slater or Nigella Lawson
                Fuchsia Dunlop's oeuvre
                Ottolenghi, obviously (!)

                What books did you find in Wisconsin? I spotted a copy of the New York Times Cookbook from 1966 (first edition) in the same shop I got the E. David ices books from the other day! I was tempted to buy it for curiosity value but resisted....

                1. re: greedygirl

                  Surprisingly, the New York Times Cookbook didn't impress me that much. I'm not sure what that opinion is worth. You might think about the Bon Appetit or Gourmet cookbooks for large, all encompassing books.


                  Are you sure you want to do this? They weigh your luggage these days, you know.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    New York Times cookbook has a great pancake recipe. Only recipe I have ever made from this book. I need to explore some more.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Based on notes above, these might be good:

                      Zuni Cafe cookbook
                      Cook's Illustrated "Best Recipes" or "Soups And Stews"
                      Silver Palate
                      A Rick Bayless Book [mexican]
                      Ratio, Ruhlman
                      Think like a Chef, Tom Collichio
                      if you like to make bread: Bread Maker's Apprentice

                      Great travel tip. Bring your old clothes and underwear, and throw them out along the way, freeing up luggage space for books and hot sauce.

                      1. re: smtucker

                        I vote for the Silver Palate -- they have a 25th anniversary model with color -- I bought myself one and gave away the original. Easy to follow, elegant recipes.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          I would add Molly Stevens, All About Braising. It was the second COTM and I don't think I've ever had a clunker recipe. Pretty much have loved them all. These aren't all winter, comfort food braises, there are quick summer braises as well.

                          I don't remember, but do you have Fish Without a Doubt? That's also a wonderful speciality book.

                          Bittman's books aren't worth the weight. I find the recipes a bit bland as well.

                          Lastly, Zuni Cafe cookbook is one of my favorites. I'm making the chicken with bread salad tonight. Great home cooking using foolproof techniques. If you like Sunday Suppers, you'll love Zuni.

                          1. re: beetlebug

                            Two of my favorite cookbooks! All About Braising and Fish Without A Doubt.
                            Must-haves as far as I'm concerned.

                            1. re: bayoucook

                              I concur. These are two books I use over and over. This is a hard question.

                            2. re: beetlebug

                              Zuni definitely - one of my favorite COTMs. I go back to it over and over again.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                I took Zuni out of the library when it was COTM revisited and didn't use it much. But I agree that it is an obvious gap in my collections.

                          2. re: greedygirl

                            Kitchen Fugue - Sheila Kaye-Smith
                            Success Cookery - Anne Beeton
                            Dictionary of Cuisine - Alexandre Dumas, Edited, Abridged & Translated by Louis Colman
                            Philip Harben's Cookery Encyclopaedia - Philip Harben (who I learned had the first T.V. cooking show anywhere)
                            Curries & Bugles: A Memoir and a Cookbook of the British Raj - Jennifer Brennan
                            The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book - Alice B. Toklas (U.S. 1954 edition, which omits the recipe for marijuana brownies!)
                            Food: A 20th Century Anthology - Clarissa Dickson Wright (a collection of food writing on topics from A to Z - this one includes Toklas's recipe for the brownies.
                            The Spice Handbook - J.W. Parry
                            The Story of Spices/The Spices Described, Volume 1 - John W. Parry
                            With Bold Knife and Fork - M.F.K. Fisher
                            The French Menu Cookbook - Richard Olney

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              I have the Clarissa Dickson Wright book as well and it's great fun to dip into. I must check out the brownie recipe! She is a great British eccentric - she was recently prosecuted for hare coursing (hunting with dogs is now illegal in Britain).

                            2. re: greedygirl

                              The NY Times cookbook has several go-to recipes for us including what I feel is the definitive Green Goddess dressing.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                You're going to hear this a million times: the cookbook sections (upstairs and downstairs) of The Strand bookstore near Union Square in NYC is the best for discounted new and used books.

                                + Zuni Cafe Cookbook, highly influential around here!

                                + "The Gift of Southern Cooking" by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock (if you want one Southern and you should!)

                                + David Lebovitz's "Room For Dessert" - if you see a copy, grab it. It's out of print.

                                + Diana Kennedy's Essentials is widely available used btw. Find tamales to eat while you're here so you get a sense of the flavor profile - finding those is a whole 'nother topic. Rosa Mexicano is an upscale Mexican restaurant just off Union Sq in the opposite direction of the Strand. Have a snack at the bar...have a drink, buy more cookbooks!

                                + David Leite of leitesculinaria.com just released a Portuguese book.

                                + Chez Panisse Veg, or Fruits, or Cafe -- all the Alice Waters! Also not too hard to find used, and much deeper into the Cali food than "Art of Simple"

                                + A Platter of Figs by David Tanis is the next generation of the Chez Panisse progeny, if you 're looking for that. Might be too simple for you, but totally inline with your interests.

                                + how about Italian? Some worship at the altar of Marcella, but I'm a lover of Mario Batali. "Molto Italiano" or the Babbo book if you want more restaurant-y

                                + Get Saucy by Grace Parisi. She works for Food and Wine magazine, and this is a great survery book approaching with sauces and marinades of many kinds from around the world, good Italian red sauces, GREAT Trinidadian jerk chicken recipe. It's a paperback! http://www.ecookbooks.com/p-6338-get-...

                                Beware of overweight charges on your return luggage -- put some of those books in your carry-on! Bring 10 copies of Ottolenghi and we can trade!

                            3. How about some Korean cookbooks? Korean is the new Thai. I am not sure if the Korean wave has hit Europe yet, but with the presence of large Korean populations in LA, Chicago, and New York, you can get a selection of good Korean cookbooks here that might be harder to find in Europe.

                              A friend just purchased this book, "Discovering Korean cuisine: Recipes from the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles".


                              I had a chance to browse through it, and it was pretty authentic and well-written. Very pretty book too.

                              There are also some U.S. published Korean cookbooks that would be impossible to order off Amazon, that you may find in Korea town in NYC or certainly Chicago. There is a series of cookbooks by Jae-ok Chang, a Korean-American immigrant who has written a series called "Vignette of Korean Cooking" (there are 3 cookbooks so far in this series). They are written in Korean and in English side by side. A bit cheesy, but the recipes are very good, with Korean script, phonetic spellings of the Korean names of dishes in English, plus the english translation of the names of the dishes. The great thing is that if you need a korean ingredient, you can take the recipe book into the Korean grocery store and they can read the Korean part, and provide you with what you need! It is very handy. The pictures are very nice too. You have almost no chance of finding these in Europe, but may have a fighting chance here in America. Anyhow, just a thought in case you want to explore more Asian cuisines.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: moh

                                moh, great tips. I have a wonderful Korean store at the bottom of my street, and must find a way to use all these marvelous ingredients on their shelves. Thanks!

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  smtucker, the Vignette of Korean Cooking books, I just realized they are actually published in Korea. The author lives in Cleveland, and she wrote the books to help her Korean-American children to learn how to cook. Children of immigrants are notoriously bad at the mother language, and so having the books in both languages really helps. My mother found her copies in a Korean bookstore in Chicago, and so she bought some for me as well. I suspect the best chance of finding these books would be going into a Korean bookstore in a relatively large Korea-town in a larger city.

                                  I love these cookbooks, because I recognize the dishes, and it is helping me learn more culinary Korean.

                                2. re: moh

                                  I thought Burmese was the new Thai. ;-)

                                  Korean food is a complete mystery to me - I don't think I've ever even tasted Korean food, but there are quite a few restaurants now in London. Definitely one think about. Thanks moh.

                                3. A real traditional cookbook to use:

                                  A mix of a gourmet Caribbean cookbook and a beautiful coffee table book:

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: franjayo

                                    Julia Child's MTAOFC was the first cookbook I ever bought - I was 17 (and that is LONG time ago) and I still use it.

                                    I just replaced my falling-apart Silver Palate. I love that book.

                                    Don't know about South American but can recommend Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock for southern American food.

                                    Love Dorie Greenspan's Baking - large and heavy though.

                                    I found Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz's Caribbean Cookbook here in Bermuda, but haven't been inspired to make anything from it.

                                  2. I’m in total agreement with those who recommended “All About Braising,” “The Zuni Cookbook,” and “Fish Without a Doubt.” I cook from all three over and over again. Also agree with Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours,” but it is, as Athena says, a big, heavy book; you might want to take a look at the COTM threads on the book before committing to it.

                                    I disagree with “Silver Palate” (dated), “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (eventually you might want both volumes as much for reference technique as for recipes; but it’s just not the way most of us cook today; too heavy on the butter and sauces); Junior League books (if you’re interested in that type of thing, better to buy John T. Edge’s “A Gracious Plenty,” which is a compilation of the best of the Junior League books).

                                    I agree, too, that Bittman really isn’t necessary. If you want a great big all-inclusive, I use the big yellow “Gourmet Cookbook” edited by Ruth Reichl, more often and with greater success.

                                    “Think Like a Chef” was, for me, a very interesting read, but I didn’t feel I needed to own it.

                                    You may not feel as though you need more than one Jean Anderson (and “JA Cooks” has been a favorite of mine for decades), but her book on Portguese cooking is excellent, too, as is her new Southern book (which has some duplication with BAY’A, but has lots of wonderful history and anecdotes that make it unique. And her recipes never fail.

                                    Available in paperback, for very little money, are books by Richard Olney (“Simple French Food” and “The French Menu Cookbook” and Michael Field (“Michael Field’s Cooking School.”). All classics; all outstanding.

                                    In addition to Kitchen Arts and Letters, I hope you’re planning on checking out The Strand Bookstore at 12th & Broadway. You never know what you might find. And although prices aren’t as good as they once were, it’s still a phenomenal place to browse. Don’t miss the section downstairs where they have usually new (sometimes not-yet-officially-published) reviewers’ copies at half off.

                                    28 Replies
                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      The big yellow Gourmet cookbook is great. That's my "I don't know what I want for dinner but here is X ingredient" cookbook. Everything, except for one dish, has been winners. There are also informative sections (like cuts of meat on the animal) that are useful, if you need that info.

                                      I wasn't thrilled with Silver Palate cookbook either. I prefer Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook over Dorie Greenspan's Baking book. When Dorie was COTM, my library copy didn't come in so I cooked along side with Martha Stewart instead.

                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                        I have that big yellow Gourmet cookbook and have never cooked from it, but love it and keep meaning to. Mine came with a CD-Rom. I've never tried to use the CD, but I wonder if that's an option for GG (do they sell the CD by itself?) if she's trying to keep the weight down.

                                        GG, I'm sad that Alice Waters Art of Simple Food is the Alice Waters book you ended up with. Unless you love it, if I were you, I'd bring that along and see if you can't sell it back and instead pick up Chez Panisse or even Chez Panisse vegetables. I prefer Chez Panisse vegetables over Madison's VCFE. The latter is more encyclopedic, for sure, but if you've got Greens and CP Vegetables, you don't need much more.

                                        I notice you don't have a Penelope Casas book. Do you have Spanish cuisine covered?


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          I agree about that Alice Waters book. I'm planning on taking mine down to The Strand when I get back to NY. If I recall correctly, GG has a number of Spanish books - Moro maybe is the name?

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            I have two of the Moro books, and I picked up Penelope Casas' Tapas book for £3 in a charity shop the other day.

                                      2. re: JoanN

                                        I'm with JoanN re: Silver Palate. I have a copy of it lying around someplace (probably somewhat grungy and pawed) that I'd be happy to send along to you if you feel that you'd really love it. For me, its Sooooo early 80s - lots of raspberry over chicken and stuff like that.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          The Silver Palate books are some of the only ones I've ever purged from my collection and never regretted having done so. A good snapshot of an era but not appealing to me any more. Have the Bittman books, very seldom use them, not crazy about them either. Looked at the new Gourmet book and it did not appeal.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            buttertart, when you say, "the new Gourmet book" do you mean the big yellow one? I see Ruth Reichl has one coming out called "Gourmet Today" that seems (on the surface) to be similar in concept to the yellow one, except that it's green. I wonder if it's a whole new batch of recipes...


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              The big yellow one which was recommended here.

                                            2. re: buttertart

                                              I totally agree (though many wouldn't) with your judgement of the Silver Palate Cookbooks. I have lived happily without them after a moving-related clearout. There are some cookbook authors that rise above an era and become timeless, and others that are just mired in it. When I read SP recipes, I can feel the weight of those 80's shoulder pads!

                                            3. re: LulusMom

                                              Yay LulusMom for coming out and saying what I've been feeling for a long time (although I did like that mayo with soya) about Silver Palate and anything else by those two. If I never hear the words Chicken Marbella again I'll die happy.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                That was my post on the General Chowhounding topics board. Chicken Marbella! Yuck!! I'm with you 100% on that one.

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  Ohhh, now I'm starting to feel sad for the Silver Palate fans...and for myself. I saw that this book was COTM awhile back, so when I saw it (and "New Basics") used, for $4 I picked up a copy. Natch, it' one of those books I haven't gotten around to cooking from, though there was a pumpkin creme brulee recipe that I wanted to try last Thanksgiving, but put off for some reason. With Sheila Lukins passing away last week, I was even thinking about dusting these books off and having a go.

                                                  Should I just ditch them? I have fond memories of the 80's. Can I get the big hair and blue eye shadow back?


                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Don't despair, TDQ - the eighties are back! This winter we will all be rocking shoulder pads, apparently. I have my electric blue minidress already... Not sure about the chicken marbella though.

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      I do use my The New Basics occasionally - and that's where I found the gravlax recipe that I've used for years.

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        Woohoo! Alright, I feel better about my bargain purchase now, thank you!


                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          The recipe for asparagus parmesan souffle in The Silver Palate is a very good one -- a rose among the thorns -- and the one reason I haven't chucked the book!

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            As long as we're listing the small handful of recipes we naysayers do like from the Silver Palate books, I'll add "Herb Wrapped Filet of Beef" from the "Good Times" book. Still a crowd pleaser, and about the only way I like filet.

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              Thank you roxlet. Now I have a reason to keep each book, along with that pumpkin creme brulee that I still intend to check out. I should probably check the COTM threads from when Silver Palate was COTM many moons ago... Maybe there are some other gems in there.


                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                I like the pesto, gravalax, potato salad, and hummus recipes. The appetizer section is fun. I have actually never made anything with fruit from the book. Nor have I made anything with chicken. Guess it is a nostalgia thing for me.

                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                  I'll put in a plug for the chicken dijonaisse recipe (not sure about the spelling!)

                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          You can buy a wig for the occasional "big hair" opportunity. Don't do the blue eye shadow thing. You wanna look like a rock star with a big, strong, NFL player boyfriend who beats her up?

                                                          I still get good press every November with the sausage- corn bread turkey dressing from one of the Silver Palate books. The book automatically opens to that page. I love cookbooks with the cheap bindings that allow the pages to fall out if you actually use the book more than once.

                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                    Richard Olney is a good call, thanks. And will definitely be checking out The Strand - thanks for the tip. I think it's in Greenwich Village, isn't it, which will be handy for us.

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      Not really Greenwich Village, but not too far. Actually, only two blocks from the Union Square Greenmarket. If you have that scheduled, the Strand would be a perfect add-on.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        And, it's also near The Stand - where I love the toasted marshmallow milkshake.

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          Toasted marshmallow milkshake???? Really????? Such a thing exists????? You have just made my night MMRuth!!!!! I am so going to have one of those when we go to NYC at the end of September!!!!! Cookbook shopping and toasted marshmallow milkshake? No wonder NYC is one of the greatest cities in the world!!!!

                                                          I'm in heaven... milkshake here I come....

                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                          THE STRAND BOOKS STORE is in the heart of Greenwich Village.

                                                          It is located at the corner of West 12th Street and Broadway.

                                                          Monday-Saturday 9:30 AM-10:30 PM
                                                          Rare Book Room Closes Daily at 6:20 PM
                                                          Sunday 11:00 AM-10:30 PM

                                                          Take the N R Q W 4 5 6 or L train to Union Square. Walk two blocks South to 12th street.

                                                          828 Broadway
                                                          (at 12th St.)
                                                          New York, NY. 10003-4805

                                                          212-473-2591 fax

                                                        3. re: greedygirl

                                                          The Strand is a goldmine. Actually I haven't been there in a couple of years, but I've found loads of wonderful books (many used and reduced in price) there. I found Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni there. What a gem!

                                                          Whenever I'm in NY, I spend hours there. It's on Broadway, almost to SoHo....it's actually the reason I discovered Union Square Greenmarket...walked a couple of blocks up Broadway and there it was.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                            Glad you found the Strand - it's a once-a-month or more weekend stop for us. The main selection is excellent and there are other often newer cookbooks for half price in the basement. Some books also show up as paperbacks in the oversized pb bins. The Union Sq Greenmarket is in full late summer blossom right now, a balm to my Bowl-missing heart.

                                                      2. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (1400 recipes)
                                                        The Shaker Kitchen or another of the many Shaker cookbooks. This unique, creative
                                                        religious sect were the first American cooks to make wide use of herbs and spices,
                                                        (as well as starting the industry of making and selling dried seed packets). The
                                                        dishes are hearty and take inspiration from various nationalities in additino to the
                                                        indigenous ingredients from New England through Kentucky and Ohio, like honey and
                                                        The Great American Meatloaf Contest Cookbook - because other than apple pie, there's
                                                        nothing more all-American
                                                        Cookwise - by Shirley O. Corriher, or one of McGee's food science books
                                                        The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion (or the whole grain version)
                                                        A is for Apple, Apple Kitchen Cookbook, or another apple-specific cookbook, because
                                                        American growers have created hundreds of apple varieties and this type of book is
                                                        as much about history as recipes.

                                                        1. If you're interested in baking, the brand-new Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Ruth Levy Beranbaum is the best book published on the topic in a very long time. For a general (sweet) baking book, Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours" has a wide range of very good recipes. Marion Cunningham's "Fannie Farmer Baking Book" is even more encyclopedic and has bread / cracker as well as sweet recipes, but no photos (it would be lighter to carry than the others by far). For bread baking, my two favorites are "Beard on Bread" by James Beard and "Crust and Crumb" by Peter Reinhart. Several of these have metric conversions and ingredient weights noted - and you could always pick up a set of dry measuring cups and spoons as another memento of the trip. If Julia Child appeals, the original "French Chef Cookbook" from the TV series is a small paperback packed full of JC's personality and I find myself using it as much if not more than the bigger books. If you are interested in Italian cooking, my favorite (also available in paperback) is Marcella Hazan's "From Marcella's Kitchen" - every single thing I've made from it has been brilliant (I think of it as the Ottolenghi of Italian cookbooks, not encyclopedic but a terrific selection). As far as bookstores go, Kitchen Arts and Letters is definitely something to see (sort of Books for Cooks on steroids, with a big selection of out-of-print and books of historical interest added) and the Barnes and Noble on 5th Avenue at 18th St has the largest range of current cookbooks of real interest I've found in the city. The Strand is also a good place for 50% off reveiwer's copies and out-of-print books of course (I found a couple of the books I bought at Books for Cooks at the height of the pound against the dollar at the Strand for much less). You might also consider posting books home (having dragged acquisitions all over the place on trips ourselves I know exactly what a drag it can be) - the Post Office has flat-rate heavy-duty boxes and packing tape etc at reasonable cost.

                                                          20 Replies
                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            "Books for Cooks on steroids" - lol. I already have a couple of books by Marcella Hazan - the classic "Essentials" and Marcella Cucina, which may be what we call "From Marcella's Kitchen". I haven't cooked from it much - must have another look.

                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                              I thought of my favorite US cookbook - Ronald Johnson's "The American Table" - an excellent sampling of very American recipes. He was a poet and it shows. All of his books are treasures.

                                                            2. re: buttertart

                                                              I also recommend "The Cake Bible" by Rose (not Ruth!) Levy Beranbaum. It has tons of tips and explanations.

                                                              As well, "Cocolat" by Alice Medrich.

                                                              For South American, there was a book called "Nuevo Latin" that I saw many years ago that looked interesting.

                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                Oops sorry! I of course meant Rose!!! Mea maxima culpa...Pure Dessert by Medrich is also great, less restricted in scope than Cocolat (which I also love, lived in Berkeley near her shop when it opened).

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Cocolat has a recipe for a brandied prune/apricot cake that I use every year for a charity bake sale at Christmas. It lends itself to lots of variations such as rum and raisin, Kahlua and chocolate, etc.

                                                                  I also have Medrich's "Bittersweet" and "Chocolate Holidays", but have not seen "Pure Dessert". I have way too many books on chocolate.

                                                                  I worked in Berkeley for a month while Medrich had her shop, but did not know about it at the time.

                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                    Medrich's books incl Pure Dessert are discussed at length on the Home Cooking board because they were dessert COTM a while back. Pure Dessert has a lot of recipes using less usual flavors like sesame, chestnut (incl the chestnut meringues I mentioned in an exchange with you I believe) and so forth, as well as new iterations of chocolate. It's well worthwhile having. (A friend worked for her in her shop back when and said she was a total b***h - whose boss isn't when one is 22 - so I had been resistant to her books until I started using her Queen of Sheba cake in The Baker's Dozen Cookbook - another great baking book.)

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Indeed, Pure Dessert isn't chocolate-focused, per se. Its subtitle is "true flavors, inspiring ingredients, and simple recipes," and has chapters based on milk; grains, nuts, and seeds; fruit; chocolate; honey and sugar; herbs and spices; and wine, beer, and spirits. So far, everything I've made from it has been great.

                                                                      Here's the DCOTM thread with lots of discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/514833

                                                                      P.S. buttertart: I also had many delectable things from the original Cocolat shop in North Berkeley way back when.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        I was in the middle of my Weight Watchers Core thing when Pure Dessert was DCOTM and, instead, cooked from the co-DCOTM Medrich's Art of Chocolate and Low-fat Baking (or some such, I can't even really remember the title of it, isn't that shameful?) but I have since come to regret not diving into Pure Dessert when the water was warm. The more I hear about the recipes in that book, the more interested I become. And, yes, few of the recipes are chocolate-focused.


                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          TDQ, I'm really liking Pure Dessert and I didn't dive in when the water was warm, so I say, come join me in the pool, it's not too late!

                                                                          Also, I have two perennial favorites from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts, the butterless lemon curd (nice, punchy lemon flavor) and the fallen chocolate soufflé cake (no one will ever guess it came from a cookbook with "low fat" in the title, it is intensely chocoaty). Oh yeah, the bittersweet chocolate mousse - egg whites + chocolate + sugar, great flavor. Very similar to this one, which I have made a few times: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            Well, I just might do that! Let me get ahold of a copy of that book. I remember that lemon curd from Art of LF Desserts (I tried it on your recommendation) and thought it was very nice. I'll have to investigate those other two recipes, too.


                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          To Caitlin McGrath above: Ah, Caitlin, North Berkeley in the late 70's-early 80's. What a place to live. You could even get into the Café at Chez Panisse without a reservation.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Do you need a reservation now? I used to get in in the mid-90's without a reservation.

                                                                        3. re: buttertart

                                                                          Isn't her Queen of Sheba cake great? I have made it literally dozens of times, a couple of times adding raspberry puree (no seeds) to the batter. The last time I made it I used Felchlin chocolate instead of Callebaut, and was surprised that it even looked different (less cracking) right out of the oven, One problem I do have with it is that it is always "waisted", i.e. there is an indentation in the side, all around, but I think that it's normal as I saw the same thing in one of the pictures in "Bittersweet".

                                                                          I'm looking forward to trying the variations she has in "Bittersweet".

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            She is the queen of the QofS cake. The lowfat one in Bittersweet is very good. Try it with some sour cherries folded in before the egg whites. (Am now going to order the lowfat one, unless the library has it).

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              I can't help but wonder - what good is a low-fat dessert?

                                                                              Yesterday in a store I saw cocoa from Barry Callebaut that was identified as "High-Fat", i.e. the way it should be !!!

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                I feel the same way, but as usual bending to the recommendations here (the lemon curd and the soufflé cake), I ordered her Holidays and Low-Fat from ABEBooks. Any excuse...Just waiting for them now. ( The redoubtable Nick Malgieri's Perfect Light Dessrts is by far my least favorite of his.)

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  You should get Pierre Hermé's book "Chocolate Desserts". So far I have made only the savarin (and it turned out great). I plan to tackle the chocolate puff pastry once the cold weather rolls around .

                                                                                  He uses only Valrhona chocolate, and specifies the type to use for each recipe, but I don't intend to do that as I find Valrhona hideously expensive - I use Felchlin.

                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                    I have the Hermé Desserts (various types/flavors incl chocolate) and have made precisely 1 thing out of it - the prunes in Sauternes. I'll have another look at the Chocolate book. The photos in the Dessert book are very fetching indeed. (I use a variety of chocolates, primarily Callebaut - cheap from Trader Joe's here. I once worked for a company thet imported top-quality couverture from France and was regularly GIVEN the 4 kg slabs. Those were the days...the chocolate was the best thing about the job though).

                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                      Those non-taxable benefits are the best! While working for the phone company I had free DSL service for many years.

                                                                                      I used to use Callebaut until I discovered Felchlin, which I prefer, but it is more expensive.

                                                                2. John Thorne has what I consider to be some really classic American cookbooks, all of which I am sure are available at Kitchen Arts and Letters for your perusal. Nate Waxman, the owner, has truly encyclopedic knowledge of cookbooks, so you might want to lean on him a bit for suggestions too. You'll pay top dollar there, though, which I usually don't feel it's worth it for new, commercial or very popular books.

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    I finally bought one of his books from there a couple of weeks ago. Kitchen Arts & Letters is about three blocks away from me and I'm hoping to take GG there on her visit. Good point about new/commercial books. What I really want to do is get a peek into the basement there!

                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                      Me too! That basement must be awesome! We just got $200 in gift certificates to the store from a friend of ours who stayed with us in between apartments. I'm desperate to get there, but I'm only home for 2 weeks before heading back to Cairo and maynot make it there this time. MMRuth, did you see anything out of the ordinary or unusual there this time?

                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        I'm sure I'll be in this week and will take a look around -but I'm usually focusing on the British sections these days and the out of print books. They had a lot of interesting Middle Eastern books on display before they went on vacation ... I bought a translation of a very old Iraqi cookbook for an Iraqi friend.

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                          My collection of British cookbooks is very thin (as in traditinal cooking) so maybe that is an idea. I have mixed feelings about Middle Eastern food though since I am heading back to Cairo for a year in a couple of weeks and will probably have my fill of that food while I am there. However, I have been searching for a recipe for fatir, an Egyptian pancake/pizza affair, unsuccessfully for the past 3 years. That would be an interesting to check for in the Middle Eastern section.

                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            To all British food fanciers: If you don't have any of Jane Grigson's works you need to get some if not all of her books. I have them all - and love them - the Vegetable and Fruit books and the Mushroom Feast are particular favorites, as is Good Things (a great introduction to her work). The only two I have but haven't used as much are the Charcuterie and Fish books and that only because I don't do a lot of cooking in those lines. Yet. (British Food and European Cookery are also very special.) She combines the cooking knowledge of Elizabeth David with an erudite but intimate and lovable style. She is and will forever be my Cooking Goddess.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              I will definitely have a look at Jane Grigson. I have one Nigella Lawson (How To Be A Domestic Goddess) and would like to have another, more general of her books. Also, I don't have any Jamie Oliver, but I'm not quite sure if I like him or not. But Jane Grigson I will definitely look at. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                Her book on English Food is fantastic.

                                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                                              I just went by today and forgot the name of the recipe you were interested in - will look next time!

                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                Thanks, MMRuth. It's called fatir, but who knows what the correct spelling is in English. I have found other, similarly named breads in other middle eastern books, but none has been what I am after. It looks like a pretty straightfoward dough, but then it is rolled and layered back on itself. It is not thinly layered like a filo dough, but thicker, and with more tooth, and as I said, can be either sweet or savory. I am determined to learn how to make it since it is the single unique and delicious Egyptian food that I have found there. Most of what I find in Egypt is more generically Middle Eastern.

                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                  Here is a photo. This one has honey on it

                                                                        2. re: roxlet

                                                                          That's my beef with the place too. Pretty much anything "normal" out of print or of more distant publication date is available through ABE Books.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            But really, it's hard for me to go in there and not buy something. Despite the prices, the choices are very alluring!

                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                              It's an affliction, one I also suffer from. Happily!

                                                                        3. This is turning into a really fabulous collection of titles that I plan to refer to anytime I have an extra $30 for a cookbook purchase.

                                                                          1. How could I have forgotten? “Paul Prudhomme’s Louisianna Kitchen.” (I haven’t been home for a while so have been scanning my bookshelves virtually; it’s harder that way.) Don’t know how difficult it might be for you to find some of the ingredients, but his Seafood Gumbo with Andouille Sausage is one of my most oft-requested recipes. A lot of the recipes are pretty high fat and many people object to his books for that reason. But it’s quintessential Cajun and I think belongs in any collection of North American cookbooks.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              That's a great idea - I loved a lot of the food I had in New Orleans.

                                                                              I've found really cheap copies of Zuni, the Prudhomme and Jean Anderson Cooks off Amazon marketplace, so I think I'm going to order those along with the Kennedy and Richard Olney. And I will definitely see if anything takes my fancy at Strand Books.

                                                                              Thanks to all for your advice and help.

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                I would chime in for almost any "Junior League" cookbook.

                                                                                The "River Road" series springs to mind as does "Talk About Good".

                                                                                On the Cajun/Creole note, see if you can find Chef John Folse's "Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine". It's a fantastic "tome". It's our coffe table book and could easily be used FOR a coffee table...it's that big.

                                                                                Happy shopping!

                                                                            2. I've been thinking about this for a couple of days and after staring at my cookbook shelves I've decided that the books I'd like to bring back to the UK if I couldn't buy them there are:
                                                                              The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon (Korea is included BTW).... 15 Asian countries are covered!
                                                                              The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden
                                                                              Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.

                                                                              Each of these cookbooks not only have wonderful recipes to delight, but the first two offer an in depth history and insight of what is most special about the food presented. I have many cookbooks but these are the cookbooks that inspire me.

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                I got that Solomon book a while ago secondhand and love it as well. Claudia Roden is originally Egyptian but lives in London, I think, so her books are readily available here. I have Arabesque, and her Italian book, which is excellent.

                                                                                I will look out for Julia and Jacques as I don't have any Julia Child at all. Thanks for your thoughts, Gio.

                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                  The Julia and Jacques book is a treasure, it and her "The Way to Cook" are the most immediately useful of her big books.

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    You have had a lot of good recommendations.

                                                                                    I think highly of THE WAY TO COOK - for example, the gravlax, tarte tatin and beef burguignon recipes are great.

                                                                                    Count me as one who is lukewarm on the Solomon book. I think it is stronger and more interesting in the areas where she has family background and experience (Burma, Sri Lanka) and weaker in others, like Indonesia, Thailand. She tends toward being a recipe simplifier. I much prefer the deeper, single country books and books which really perfect the best recipes. I have been trying to get enthusiastic about cooking from this book, have it for bathroom reading now (maybe too much info) but there is not a single recipe that jumps out at me to try. Any suggestions?

                                                                                    for a serious cook, with a lot of cookbooks in the kitchen I dont think Bittman's tome adds much. the old Joy is actually more useful as an all purpose solid reference and the recipes in the many other books are superior and more interesting . Bittman is another simplifier, but that being said, my daughter does use his book (I gave it to her)

                                                                                    For american recipes, nothing beats the old James Beard American Cookery or the books of Edna Lewis or Bill Neal for authentic country southern cooking.
                                                                                    For traditional or high quality american dessert baking, Maida Heatter or real middle america, the 50s reprint Betty Crocker Baking Book offfers unexcelled American style cake recipes. There is also a Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook that looks very good, tho I havent cooked out of it yet.

                                                                                    The Rick Bayless mexican cookbooks are fine US products which I am inclined to cook out of more than Diana Kennedy tho I bow to her erudition.

                                                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                      I too love THE WAY TO COOK. I believe that this was the first time that I saw -- and used successfully -- the pie crust food processor method, which I still recommend to people learning how to make pie crust. And I agree with the tarte tatin citation. It is absolutely the best that I have ever made. When my husband makes duck confit, he uses all the leftover bits to make the recipe for a sauce for duck, which is delicious with the seared duck breast left over from confit-making. It is an extremely useful book.

                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                  Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home is one of my favorites too! My copy is falling apart.
                                                                                  The creme brule page is literally covered in caked on custard!

                                                                                  1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                    Isn't it a wonderful book? And the photos are so ... is tender the right word? Lovingly presented.

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      I love the sidebars where each one weighs in on a recipe. have you seen the series that was on PBS with them together? I loved it. I love the chicken pie recipe, mussel soup, creme brule from that book. and jacqus pot roast changed the way I think about that dish, gone are the awful memories of grey meat from my childhood!

                                                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                        i think the dvd set is available. those shows were packed with info -- and fun to watch -- for the food and the interaction!

                                                                                        1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                          I Did watch each and every show...and reruns that's why I just had to buy the book. Jacques is The Master of technique and adaptation and Julia was The Queen of Doing Things Her Own Way while still keeping pretty close to the French. There were certain things she wouldn't bend on, though. I miss seeing them together....

                                                                                          There's a lovely gratin in the book that I love and make repeatedly.

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            i love when she has jacques dressed as caesar to make caesar salad.

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              These shows have been airing recently on the CREATE channel here in Boston. I had not seen the original series, but owned the book, and have found watching the two of them interact to be very sweet. Also fun to see them demonstrate recipes that I have been making for years.

                                                                                    2. If you would like a glimpse of an American past that is more rural, check out used book stores for the Farm Journal series. They were published by a periodical that targeted farmers and are invaluable in understanding a way of life that is largely gone.

                                                                                      But they are having a surprising revival according to a friend that runs a second hand book store in Maine. They are also superb sources of canning, preserving and some original baking recipes for things like Chess Pie.

                                                                                      I have everything that FJ ever published and they are my 'go to' source for everything from making your own apple syrup to freezing zucchini. Reading them is like visiting an elderly and very knowledgable grandmother who lived all her days on the farm.

                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: LJS

                                                                                        Don't they have a "go to" pie book?

                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                          Yes their pie (and cake) books are extremely good.

                                                                                        2. re: LJS

                                                                                          I love these books and have a pie book and a canning and freezing book.
                                                                                          the recipes are great for standard /high quality american recipes from my midwestern background. makes me feel at (my mothers and grandmothers) home.

                                                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                            I have the feeling from your posts on the topic that our cookbook libraries (and cooking interests) are almost exactly the same.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              Not really answering your point, but...

                                                                                              I have been frequently driving to Ohio from NY recently and every drive I try to hit restaurants with traditional cooking. The standard for pies, cakes, side dishes everything across Pennsylvania say (a stronghold in the past) just seems to be steadily dropping. On the last trip we went to one place where all the sides were just sickeningly sweet, to another where all the pies were topped with cool whip instead of meringue (we did not sample) and where the "gravy" was cornstarch-thickened shiny broth goop. At least in this place the chicken and filling itself was very good. and the pepper cabbage had a good dose of vinegar and pepper. Its good to get home to Mom for a good piece of pie, good homemade bread and a pile of bread and butter pickles,but well that cant be forever. I hope that I will have more chance to cook from all my books in years to come because I fear that is the only way I will be able to taste this cooking in future.

                                                                                              I think that once you are aware that food can be prepared to a high standard and that it s something to take seriously, as was the case with my parents and that we are in a culinary tradition, then the search for fine flavor and its roots in tradition tend to inform the approach to other cuisines as well. You want to experience the best of a cuisine and understand something about where it comes from whether its thai, italian, indian, southern or whatever. and are willing to look for the best recipes/seek out the best restaurants, make the extra effort to obtain authenticity and good taste.

                                                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                This is definitely off topic, but I could not agree more. I was raised in a smallish city in prime agricultural land by a mother who was a good cook and fantastic baker, and a father who was a very good cook and an excellent food sourcer (hunted, haunted farmstands, rural butcher shops and cheese factories, knew farmers, etc. - I remember sausages full of black pepper and garlic from a small butcher and cream from a friend's Jersey cow from my teeenage years as if I were eating them now). This background instilled an interest in food that has driven my experience of life ever since and made me open to all kinds of new cuisines, cultures, and so forth, which I have been fortunate to explore during time spent in the Bay Area, Taipei, Shanghai, Paris, and NYC among other places. For me, cookbooks are another door to exploring these things. I love them at home and also search them out wherever I go.

                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  buttertart and jen kalb: when I read your posts/conversation above, I find myself nodding along! I, too, have had the privilege of living in many different places. By living, I mean working and acquiring enough of the language to buy and prepare the food that the folks around me were consuming. It inevitably led to cross-cultural friendships to ask advice on how the lady in line how to prepare lamb in white wine (southern Italy), or veal with dumplings (Bad Salzuflen Germany) or scruncheons (Newfoundland) or Yorkshire pudding "under" the roast (Norwich, England) or pickled walnuts (Blairmore, Scotland) or Buttermilk pie (Louisville, KY) or mussels (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia).

                                                                                                  I came from a house where, while my Mum was famously disinterested in food, my Dad was passionate about it. And, luckily, I had an aunt that was a great cook and a great teacher.

                                                                                                  Whether we are talking Farm Journal or Zuni or Jean Anderson or Nigella or the wickedly funny and under-rated Liz Hodgeman or James Beard or Julia or some of the French or Italian cookbook authors, I love it when you can read them as you would a novel and hear and smell and taste where the recipes came from...like the conversations in the line for the butchers.

                                                                                                  1. re: LJS

                                                                                                    That's part of the fun of BAY'A and Screen Doors. It's funny no one mentioned these books on this thread. They seem to fit.

                                                                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                      greedygirl has BAY'A...http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6504...

                                                                                                      I have to say, I've been enjoying this sub-conversation about FJ and beyond, though I haven't had much to add to it as everyone else leaves me in the dust. But, keep going!


                                                                                        3. i highly recommend the cotton country collection, from the junior league of monroe, louisiana: http://www.amazon.com/Cotton-Country-...

                                                                                          also, river road recipes, from the junior league of baton rouge, louisiana: http://www.amazon.com/River-Road-Reci...

                                                                                          chef paul prudhomme's louisiana kitchen: http://www.amazon.com/Chef-Paul-Prudh...

                                                                                          any number of southern living cookbooks -- true american food! http://www.amazon.com/Best-Southern-L...

                                                                                          this looks awesome and i've been craving it: charleston grill at charleston place, french influenced low country cuisine: http://books.google.com/books?id=_aWj...

                                                                                          also, last but definitely not least: a true classic: charleston receipts http://www.jlcharleston.org/?nd=full&...

                                                                                          here are some other great southern cookbook ideas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5224...

                                                                                          i always have enjoyed the silver palate cookbook, and molly o'neill's http://www.amazon.com/New-York-Cookbo... new york cookbook is simply wonderful -- to cook and read from. highly recommended:

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. You've gotten so many good recs already, but I'll chime in with a few of my favorites:

                                                                                            Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison -- I use it for vegetable ideas all the time

                                                                                            Vegetables Every Day, Jack Bishop -- even more vegetable ideas (my vegetable garden rules my life sometimes)

                                                                                            Bistro Cuisine, Patricia Wells -- I have several favorites out of this book

                                                                                            I do still like the Silver Palate cookbooks myself. There are many dishes beyond raspberry chicken.

                                                                                            I'm also fond of the Vegetarian Epicure books (1&2) by Anna Thomas, from the '70s and frequently found used.

                                                                                            If you want a slice of Americana, keep an eye out for this in used bookstores: Betty Crocker Cookbook. Great for traditional American dishes like Snickerdoodle cookies, etc. Be careful that it's an older edition, with the white/turquoise/pink/yellow cover, not the red & white cover when they started using lots of canned foods. Link to picture: http://www.joeparadox.com/images/bett...

                                                                                            1. one buys cookbooks for several reasons. first, of course, is to get recipes and techniques. other times, one is looking for an attitude or approach. and then sometimes one buys a book to get a better appreciation of the culture from which the recipes or attitudes might have risen.

                                                                                              i suggest that a traveler in the us might wish to buy james beard's american cookery. it has a lot of good food history as well as some oddball american specialty foods. a different approach to cookbook buying--but one worth considering.

                                                                                              1. in light of silverhawk's reminder, i thought of jean anderson's fabulous journey through modern american culinary history: http://www.amazon.com/American-Centur... in her "american century cookbook."

                                                                                                i can't recall if it's mentioned upthread, but it must be on your list, greedygirl.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  That is a terrific book by a terrific writer.

                                                                                                2. GG

                                                                                                  I buy cookbooks that are souvenirs of where I visit. Obviously a much easier task if I'm visiting a country that speaks English (or, at least, has sufficient English speaking tourists to make a publication in our language worthwhile). For America, I try to buy ones that are representative of the cuisine of the states we stay in.

                                                                                                  Personally, I'm not interested in general cookbooks nor American interpretations of European nations' cuisine but I understand you might be shopping because of COTM.


                                                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                    You should really get the American Century book by Jean Anderson when you're next over here - it's a food history as well as a recipe collection, and her writing style is very engaging. I would compare it to Grigson's English book in quality. Her southern book is also a winner - and wider in scope than the COTMs this month. (PS as a Canadian expat in the US the American Century title gives me some pause, but as Pierre Trudeau famously said, the US is indeed the elephant in the room!)

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      Buttertart, I hope you monitor the Quebec board as well - Montreal is a great food city.

                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                        Thanks for the tip. Spent time in Laval at the house of a friend I met through govt-sponsored summertime "interprovincial visits" when I was a kid. Honeymooned in Montreal (the restaurant planning done by perusing "Where to Eat in Canada"). Went to Montreal and Quebec City at least once a month when on forced exile (husb's 1st teaching job) in Potsdam, NY. Love the city but haven't been back for quite a few years, will check the board and put myself in temptation's way!

                                                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        I have "Jean Anderson Cooks" and I Love It! Currently it's my go-to book when I can't make up my mind what to cook with ingredients at hand. Very well thought out presentation of the recipes both in US and Metric measurements. That ought to be a plus....


                                                                                                          1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                            DAVE!!! of course it was the last century. have you seen the book? it's lovely to read.

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              The 20th century was "the American century" in terms of influence and effect on the rest of the world. The jury hasn't even warmed up yet on the 21st (my money is on China, barring man-made nuclear or ecological disaster).

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                I don't know. Around the middle of the last century we had a whole lotta stuff made from red soup cans. And then there was Dream Whip. TeeHee

                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    Is there a recipe for three layers of Jello, one with walnuts, one with mini-marshmallows, and one with fruit salad (drained), and topped with Cool Whip?

                                                                                                                    Aw, never mind. I ordered it. And I also ordered Our Founding Foods: Classic Recipes by Jane Tennant by misteak...mistake...miztake. 0630 is way too early for my mind to operate.

                                                                                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                      yaya, good man! i knew you'd come through. if jean anderson doesn't make you happy, then take two aspirin and post on chowhound in the morning.

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        Love her. Remember when her articles were often in "ladies' magazines"? What a joy it was to see a new one.

                                                                                                                  2. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                    Absolutely. And the US influence on the world in the 20th century in general (my comment was more along geopolitical than culinary lines, but I'd rather let that drop) and food in particular can be said to be problematic in many ways (KFC on Guanqianjie in Suzhou, anyone?).

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      I was thinking geo-politically, also. Best to not go there.

                                                                                                                      We probably have done a lot in the culinary area, but we're just too self conscious about it, so we poke fun at ourselves and our Big Macs and Kentucky fried.

                                                                                                                    2. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                      now just hold on one minute. some *very fine* casseroles have been made with those red & white cans of mushroom and tomato soups! even andy warhol knew that. he was a real fan!

                                                                                                                      and in the spirit of american mid-century thriftiness, here is a way to make that can of soup go even further: http://www.curbly.com/DIY-Maven/posts...

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        Too cute. Although anything wrappable in that would have to be from the "good things come in small packages division", no? (I'm at least 5% canned soup in composition myself - mother's unnamed ground beef with a tiny bit of onion and can of cream of mushroom soup and "Spanish rice" rice, ground beef, and can of tomato soup were staples at home.)

                                                                                                            2. White Trash Cooking by Ernest M. Mickler is priceless - a hoot and very authentic Americana.
                                                                                                              The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash - a personal favorite. A-Z vegetables Tips on growing, selecting at the market and cooking a large variety of local produce plus recipes
                                                                                                              I bought this in the 80's and still use it on a regular basis.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. So gg, was wondering, what didja get? Spill the beans!

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  Mr GG put his foot down, so not as much as I would have liked. ;-)

                                                                                                                  For pennies from Amazon I pre-ordered:

                                                                                                                  Simple French Food by Richard Olney (which I'm finding disappointing)
                                                                                                                  Jean Anderson Cooks
                                                                                                                  In My Louisiana Kitchen by Paul Prudhomme
                                                                                                                  Essentials of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy

                                                                                                                  From Strand Books
                                                                                                                  A Platter of Figs by David Tanis
                                                                                                                  Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer - love this

                                                                                                                  MMRuth kindly got me a copy of Sahni, and for fun I bought a copy of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook at a library sale in Beaufort, SC for a couple of dollars!

                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                    I love Crescent City Cooking too - need to suggest it for a COTM soon - we did Southern recently so I'll probably wait a while. But isn't it great? My copy is showing wear already.

                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                      I have only made a couple of salads from there so far, but there's loads of stuff I want to try.

                                                                                                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                      You did well then, good choices. I don't care for the Olney either. I know of the Susan Spicer but haven't looked into it, will do so. The Strand is quite something, isn't it?