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Cookbook recommendations

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I'm seeking great cookbook recommendations for my husband's birthday gift. He is especially fond of mediterranean cuisine (italian, spanish), also loves classic american and german. a good barbecue book might be nice as well.
The books should have fantastic pictures with recipes that are easy to follow, but really absolutely delicious.
Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance!

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  1. The book is called Barbeque Secrets. It is hands down my favourite cookbook. Everything I have made has been outstanding. It also has a lot of information in between the chapters like how to cook and steak best and why and why he adds cold water to his hamburgers. Also some funny stories. It's actually a good read!


    2 Replies
    1. re: julesincoq

      Two bbq books: Serious Barbecue, by Adam Perry Lang.

      Smoke and Spice by the Jamisons.

      Smoke and Spice is a classic. Serious Barbecue is too new to be a classic - but it will be. Both awesome resources that I use frequently.

    2. How about the original Barefoot Contessa cookbook? Beautiful pictures, it's "American cuisine" and every recipe is a winner:


      P.S. That potato salad on the cover is the best potato salad I've ever had in my life!

      Tell your hubby happy birthday!

      3 Replies
      1. re: momskitchen

        HELP!! I tried to order this book but there are like 10 of them!! Back to Basics, Everyday recipes, Entertaining,Family Style, French.....Which one should I get?? Any?

        1. re: julesincoq

          The original one I linked to is the one I recommend...

          The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.

          1. re: momskitchen

            thaks I found it. I was looking on Amazon.ca (Canadian one) and couldn't find the exact same one so I thought it might just have a different photo in Canada but I did find it. She has so many. Thanks for the suggestions I think it's time to update my collection of books! This will be fun!

      2. I just got (from the library) Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller. I'm going to order 1 for me, 1 for a gift, from Amazon for $31.50 instead of $50 list price. I want to make the fresh pineapple upside down cake (I'm sure it's almost as good with canned pineapple, if necessary.) Also, might tackle the fried chicken (I've had it twice at his restaurant in Yountville, CA (N. Cal wine country.) There's a Pave potato dish, like better than scalloped. He made it on Martha Stewart's show.

        I think it's very approachable for a home cook, nice photos. Be sure to use Diamond Brand kosher salt when he specifies kosher salt.

        1. I like Nightly Specials by Michael Lomonaco. He gave me a copy and while I'm normally skeptical of cookbooks in general, I find myself recommending it often. The recipes are original, thoughtful and easy to prepare, and the photos are great.

          1. Hi, recommend these two.

            - Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond

            - Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon

            9 Replies
            1. re: hobbybaker

              The Ottolenghi Cookbook by Yatam Ottolenghi. It's Mediterranean with a Middle Eastern twist and everything I've cooked has been completely delicious. It was a big hit with the hounds when we did it as Cookbook of the Month. You'll probably have to order it from the UK, though, but it's heavily discounted on Amazon.


                1. re: roxlet

                  Ditto that ditto.
                  The cookbook was a COTM in August 2009, Here's a link to the main topic thread with links to the chapter reports. This COTM was very well received and had many participants.

                  Here's the Jessica's Biscuit (on-line bookstore) link:

                  1. re: Gio

                    You guys make me consider to buy it, too :) Does it have many farbulous photoes? Sounds a great book!

                    1. re: hobbybaker

                      Yep, great photos. A very nice looking book. You will have to get to grips with metric though.

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Thanks. my wish list on Amazon has just grown:)

                  2. re: roxlet

                    tritto that (Ottolenghi)! I'd also ditto Arabesque by Claudia Rodan. It was Cookbook of the Month a while back and you can check out the comments.

                    I'd also suggest Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni if you can find it. It's an amazing book with chapters on all the different regions of Italy. Many wonderful recipes.

                    I also like Mario Batali's Molto Italiano.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      Glad to hear you cite the Ada Boni book. It was the first cookbook that I bought for myself, and I cooked from it extensively. I still consult it when I am looking for something specifically regional

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        Second Mario Batali's Molto Italiano - the pictures are good, technique is simple, and the recipes are great

                2. I just love this book (it was mentioned recently in Sauver's top 100 everything food issue) and Bookcloseouts has quite a few mint copies, in paperback. That helped bring the price down CONSIDERABLY, as this is out of print and highly sought after (just take a gander at the hardback prices for used, if you want to lose your breath!). Great food, gorgeous photos (only in the front, but there's lovely line art throughout) and running commentary in side-bars on Greek history, mythology, culture, etc.


                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Beckyleach

                    Becky, I saw this book at local wholefoods the other day. It looks great. I was determined to buy "Vefa's kitchen" but now I do not know which one:) Do you have Vefa's kitchen, too? In your opinion, which one if you need to choose? I guess Vefa's has less photos but more recipes? I am just resisting my wish list on Amazon will grow again:)

                    1. re: hobbybaker

                      Butting in - I read The Olive and the Caper and bought Vefa's Kitchen - both are very good and the first is more personal and fun to read, but the second has very nice photos and is I understand sort of the Joy of Cooking of Greece (very comprehensive). Depends on if you want a (well-versed and informed) outsider's view or that of a native of the country, it seems to me.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Thanks buttertart. It is very helpful comment! I am interested in both of them, so, my wish list has just grown again:) A white flag! Resisted in vain:)

                        1. re: buttertart

                          I agree. The Olive and the Caper is my FIRST (exclusively) Greek cookbook, if that's any help. Vefa's will probably be my second...

                          1. re: Beckyleach

                            Thanks, Becky! I will buy them in that sequence:)

                    2. BBQ book that jfood likes is Chris Schlesinger Thrill of the Grill. If you want a great fish cookbook, Rick Moonen Fish Without a Doubt

                      1. Two beautiful books on the Eastern Med came to mind: "Saha" and "Turquoise", by Greg and Lucy Malouf. Gorgeous photos, interesting recipes, coffee-table armchair traveller kind of thing. Greg malouf also wrote "Artichoke to Za'atar, Modern Middle Eastern Food" - I haven't been through that one however.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: buttertart

                          Hi, buttertart - you might be one of our gurus of mediterranean/middle Eastern food camp:) What are your five best of best ? How many books do you have in this discipline? Just curious. I am a newbee in the area:)

                          1. re: hobbybaker

                            ;-) I have quite a few - will report!

                          2. re: buttertart

                            Malouf's book "Arabesque" was remaindered in a local bookshop last year so I bought it. What a disappointment. There was little attempt not just at authenticity but at anything even approaching the cuisine of the Eastern Med. It went straight into the charity bag - luckily I had only wasted a couple of pounds

                            1. re: Harters

                              I gave it to my sister-in-law who was quite taken with it (I looked through it and liked it too). Not the most comprehensive but if you're looking for photography as well as recipes it does the trick.