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Dec 10, 2010 06:22 AM

What are your favorite International Cookbooks?

The thread about cookbook buyer's remorse got me thinking

What are your favorite int'l cookbooks? What makes them wonderful?

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  1. We try and buy cookbooks as souvenirs when travelling overseas so all these have something special about them. But one of my favourites is Mark Sohn's "Appalachian Home Cooking" - I find it very enlightening about a foreign culture and food's place in that culture.

    1. The Italian Baker by Carol Field. Not only are their recipes, but methods of mixing dough depending upon manual or machine mixing, and baking. I only bake bread, and I only use a wooden spoon and a glass bowl with a matching cover to prepare the dough.

      1. La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy (Accademia Italaina della Cucina/The Italian Academy of Cuisine). After years of cooking from secondary sources, this wonderful translation from the original Italian is THE source. Most fascinating of all is the comparison from region to region for the same dish, really interesting.

        1. Marcella Hazan: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Extremely simple recipes, delicious results (if you use great ingredients). Marcella emphasizes basic techniques (like how to toss pasta) that other books ignore. The recipes usually don't require many ingredients, and I typically have ingredients on hand to make a lot of them. Anyone can be a great cook with this book.

          Raghavan Iyer: 660 Curries. The recipes in this book reflect the great diversity in regional Indian cooking. There is no focus on the Punjabi dishes that, while great, are staples of cookie cutter Indian restaurants across the country. This isn't the ideal book for people looking to make restaurant-style chicken tikka masala and saag paneer at home. But from this book, I often cook dishes that I've never eaten before, and which are unavailable at any restaurant in LA (and probably the United States). Iyer's writing is very clear and the recipes are usually easy to execute. (The hardest part is learning where to acquire and how to manage/store the numerous ingredients, which can be a source of frustration if you don't cook Indian dishes all the time.) I've learned a great deal about the basics of Indian cooking from this book.

          1. Spanish - The New Spanish Table by von Bremzen. Gosh, every recipe I have tried has been great and I despite a lack of photos, I am drawn to make even more.

            Japanese - The Japanese Kitchen by Kimiko Barber. I have a few Japanese cookbooks but this one is my favourite because it highlights a different Japanese ingredient on each page. It makes the recipes a bit harder to flip through but much easier if you bought one ingredient and are wondering what to do with it.

            Syrian Jewish - Aromas of Aleppo by Poop Dweck - Gorgeous photography with little blurbs about the history. The recipes have been great so far.

            Turkish/Moroccan/Lebanese - Arabesque by Claudia Roden. I also have The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, but I am drawn to Arabesque most often. Likely due to the photography and clearer layout, because most of the recipes are also in TNBMEF.

            5 Replies
            1. re: blinknoodle

              Arabesque is on my list of "If you could only keep 10 cookbooks, what would they be?"

              1. re: blinknoodle

                tell me more about the new spanish table. would i like this if i only eat fish and chicken?

                1. re: sushigirlie

                  I dont know the book but I'd be surprised if any decent Spanish cookbook did not have a significant input on seafood cookery. The country has one of the longest coastlines here in Europe and fish is very popular. I'd also expect a good emphasis on vegetarian dishes, which I'm presuming you may also eat.

                  1. re: sushigirlie

                    I eat mainly vege-centric dishes, plus fish, and I think the cookbook has a lot of variety.

                    1. re: blinknoodle

                      I bought this book. It is AWESOME. To be fair, I haven't cooked from it -- yet. The recipes just look wonderful though and the photos are fantastic.