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Dec 2, 2010 08:42 AM

Food books that changed your life...

There are 3 food books that changed my life.

• Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential/A Cook's Tour (technically two books, but they came as a single edition)
• Mastering the Art of French Cooking
• The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman

Anthony Bourdain's book got me interested in food in general. Mastering the Art of French cooking helped me expand my cooking abilities exponentially. The Making of a Chef encouraged me to enroll in cooking school.

What food books (cookbooks or otherwise) made an impact on you? Are there any that inspired you, made you a better cook, or changed your life? Are there any that you just found to be extremely interesting?

I'd love to hear!

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  1. One of the many but one of the best: Blue Trout and Black Truffles by Joseph Wechsberg, on food in the glory days of Vienna

    1. The Silver Palate Cookbook.

      Everything about that book influenced me.

      1. Michael Pollan's Omnivores Dilemma, mind opening about the current food production world. Diet for a Small Planet, a classic awakening to our interconnection with others. Rombauer's Joy of Cooking, an indipsensible cooking companion. Laurels Kitchen, slow down and enjoy more plant food. Victory Garden Cookbook, falling apart from use.

        1. I grew up in a kosher home and my mom & Grandma were Holocaust survivors. As new immigrants, we ate an awful lot of heavy, heavy Hungarian Jewish influenced food. Great, terrific food but very heavy! My mother's first "American" cookbook was the Betty Crocker and she considered this very terrific and we "morphed" a lot of ingredients to fit into our kosher cooking regime. In college I bought myself my first Joy of Cooking. This was my first cookbook dealing with "regular, American" food. I adored watching Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and others of French influence on TV. Their cookbooks came next. I branched out from there to Italian, Spanish and Mexican cooking. I still have my first Joy from the 1970's. The recipe for how to skin and cook a squirrel brought much laughter in our house. I can't repeat the comments from Mom & Grandma, but they were definitely inflammatory.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Diane in Bexley

            The Caesar salad recipe in that older edition of Joy is terrific - much better than the one in the new edition.

          2. All John Thornes stuff, his exhaustive examination of very basic ingredients, beans, potatoes, etc. was revelatory.

            Love Bourdain. If Hunter Thompson wrote about food, it would sound just like Bourdain.

            6 Replies
            1. re: laststandchili

              Oh, laststand, I like the way you think. John Thorne wrote a food journal that sent me the best recipe I've ever gotten.

              1. re: mamachef

                I used to check the website daily for his snack and breakfast entries. Loved it.

                What was the recipe?

                1. re: laststandchili

                  Sort of a weird pumpkin gratin, but not creamed. And I subbed in squash for the pumpkin. It was basically chunks of squash roasted with a parmesan crust that got crispy and blazing-hot in a shallow casserole.

                2. re: mamachef

                  John used to have a cafe in Ellsworth!

                3. re: laststandchili

                  You nailed it! I wish Hunter and Tony had gotten together - can you imagine the book that would have come out of that? Fear and Loathing While Running With Scissors Through Fire or something along those lines.
                  I miss Hunter!