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Which culinary books did you receive for Christmas?

My husband who knows me so well surprised me with the following:

- Harvest to Heat
- Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maitre Fromager
- Avec Eric
- Falling off the Bone
- Oxford Companion to Food
- Forgotten Skills of Cooking
- Spice Lover's Guide to Herbs and Spices
- Illustrated Food and Cooking of Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe
- 500 Places for Food and Wine Lovers

My friend got me:

- Edible Seashore
- Hedgerow

Methinks I will not be bored over the Christmas holidays!

The Oxford Companion to Food is rather large which I LOVE. Bigger than French Laundry and Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck Cookbook. It's funny - when I make Amazon book orders I tell my husband, "Today I ordered 14 lb and 4,983 pages worth of books." All the books look wonderful thus far. Share your recent book acquisitions!

My revised Amazon wishlist has now been whittled down to 134 books.

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  1. What a great haul, cah! I obviously haven't been nearly as good as you have ; )
    (In fact, I've been pretty bad given how many cookbooks I purchased for myself in the last few months.)
    Still, I scored a few:
    --DH got me "Il Viaggio di Vetri."
    --My very generous sister got me "The Southern Foodways Alliance Cookbook" (and a WS gift card so I can buy additional Canal House volumes!)
    --Baby Brother got me a paella set, which had a paella cookbook ("PaellaPaella") in it. He also picked up at Walgreen's as a gag gift a (very poorly/humorously edited) cookbook by a former NO Saints player: he and my sister took turns reading recipes aloud as I cooked. We hooted at such instructional gems as "cook until you like the taste of it" and "this recipe may be not hot enough or too hot for you" and "continue to add until it gets the taste you want." (My brother, however, has asked me to make the "Beer Rice" for him while he's in town.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: nomadchowwoman

      Actually, looks can be deceiving! I normally purchase about 5 culinary books from Amazon per month so I'm pretty bad, too...

      Your books really do sound interesting! Don't you just love gift cards? Man, I am a sucker for them.

      That gag gift book sounds absolutely hilarious! What fun to get things like that, too. Oooooh, a paella set - that is another thing on my wish list. Great paella is truly a marvellous thing.

    2. Because I do a lot of "bale sale-ing" for him and his school, my 10 year old nephew got me--with his own money--a book called Hello Cupcake. It has a ton of great ideas for decorating cupcakes with candies and canned frosting. I guess this is his way of saying that he wants more fun bake sale donations from his Aunt Cookies. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I don't use canned frosting.

      3 Replies
        1. re: iluvcookies

          I received that book as a bridal shower gift. Somewhere in there (I think in the back?) they have recipes for non-boxed cake(s) and non-canned frosting(s). I have either made a vanilla or cream cheese frosting from their recipe, and it got the job done.

          1. re: LaPomme

            Right you are... in the back, past the doctored-cake-mix instructions!
            I have some old Cook's Illustrated issues in which the author, Karen Tack, collaborated on some of the recipes. I'll have to take a look at this book a bit more closely. Thanks :)

        2. Curry Easy - Madhur Jaffrey
          Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes

          So that was the wishlist eliminated plus one extra.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            Have you had the chance to look at Curry Easy in detail yet? It is one on my wishlist.

            1. re: chefathome

              Not yet. And I'm afraid it'll be some weeks - I operate a strict process of reading books in order of receipt (and, yes, I know that's very anal of me).

              If not already on your shelves, I can thoroughly recommend her "Curry Bible" which is a fascinating exploration for how the genre has spread across the globe adapting to local tastes and products as it has. And there's some damn good recipes as well.

              1. re: Harters

                I think that's the one that came out as "Madhur Jaffrey Cooks at Home" this year in the US and it's very good.

                1. re: Harters

                  If that is anal, I am anal x 7. When I receive new books I do not allow myself to read them all the way through the first day. I skim them all, choose a few and start out. Sure, I allow myself to finish one on the second or third day but not the first for some very, very odd reason. They need to be slowly savored.

                  Her "Curry Bible" is on my list as well. As I have neither it looks as though I have much to look forward to!

              1. re: tldmatrix

                I have that book and love it! It really is beautiful.

              2. I think I need to stop asking for cookbooks for Christmas, because every year I get a bunch of new books all at once and don't know where to start, and I end up flipping through them over and over again, trying to decide which one to tackle first, instead of just cooking from them. Anyway, this year I got:

                Mexican Everyday
                5 Ingredient Fix
                The Complete Asian Cookbook
                Daisy: Morning, Noon, and Night
                Around My French Table
                and a subscription to Fine Cooking

                6 Replies
                1. re: glacier206

                  I'm curious about "Ratio". Is it informative? Did you learn something from it? What type of reader is it geared to?

                  1. re: chefathome

                    I'm only at the beginning of it right now, but I'd say very informative. It's geared toward the person who wants to cook without relying on recipes. So, for example, it tells you the ratios of flour:fat:liquid for pie dough, biscuits, etc. And it gives ratios for bones:liquid for making various stocks. It's a handy guide and a good reference book.

                    1. re: glacier206

                      Excellent. Although I rely on recipes for baking I love the freedom and creativity of not adhering to recipes.

                      1. re: glacier206

                        Are these ratios meant to be memorized? Or would you just open that book, look up the formula and freestyle from there?

                        1. re: LaPomme

                          I think part of the helpfulness of the book is recording the ratios for you, so that they're always right there and you don't need to memorize them. Though some of them are pretty easy and basic, so they'd probably become committed to memory automatically after using them a few times.

                    2. re: glacier206

                      How do you like Around My French Table? I have been eyeing that book for a while now

                    3. Holy crud that is a load of great sounding books. We have the Oxford Companion to Food and it is excellent, altho there are some Britishisms that take a little getting used to. For example, you gotta look up "cep" if you want to learn about porcini.

                      My by-comparison-meager intake was The River Cottage Meat Book, which had to be special ordered and so isn't coming until tomorrow.

                      Happy reading and cooking!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                        Oh, you'll enjoy River Cottage Meat although, of course, it's written for those of us on the eastern side of the Atlantic - so, for example, many of the names of meat cuts may be unfamiliar to North Americans. It's the only "how to cook meat" book I need. Great read.

                        You can always assume in any British cookbook that if we don't have an English word for something we'll use the French one , much as Americans seem to use Italian. The cep/porcini or courgette/zucchini things being examples. Although aubergine/eggpalnt are not - how come it's not melanzana?

                        1. re: Harters


                          Very much looking forward to the meat book. Have had my eye on it for a good while now. And IIRC, there's a version here with meat cuts, units of measurement, etc., adapted for a Yankee readership.

                          1. re: Harters

                            Is that the book where Hugh Frearesly Greersly or whatever his name is shows you how to butcher meat along with the recipes?

                            I have made a pledge to myself as follows: I will not buy another cookbook until I have at least TRIED to cook from the ones I have. More specifically, the ones I have that I have never used. That oughta hold me until the end of this century.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              'Tis the one.

                              I've put myself on a similar cookbook diet, altho I allow myself books---especially as gifts---that fill a concrete need. Principles of butchering and cooking meat definitely falls in that category.

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                Joan, I am with you there. I've gone on too much of a cookbook purchasing spree in recent months. I really want to buckle down and cook from only the books I have in 2011, except for COTMs, which I hope I can get from the library.

                                Between Gourmet Today, the Essential New York Times Cookbook, One Big Table, and the Sunset Cookbook, I could try a new recipe every day for more than a decade!


                            2. re: eight_inch_pestle

                              The River Cottage Meat Book is seriously life changing - it is very good and compelling.

                            3. I got the Oxford Companion to American Food, which is quite large and very cool. I also got a couple of cake books, A World of Cake and The United Cakes of America, both look great, and the cake I baked yesterday from United Cakes was great; everyone liked it.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: sarahjay

                                I'm looking forward to A World of Cake, how is it?

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Yes, I would like to know that too. I have it in my basket at thegoodcook.com.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Eyeballing A World of Cake as well...also One Big Table. After that, I'm going to take TDQ's advice, slow way down on the buying, and just cook in 2011 from the books I bought in 2010.

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                          I haven't made anything yet, but it's very pretty, lots of pictures, great information, good clear directions. It's easy to read (no yellow type or anything) I let you know how the recipes are when I've tried a few.

                                          1. re: sarahjay

                                            I'm sorry, sarahjay, are you talking about World of Cake? Dislike the yellow, grey or light green type in cookbooks. Gotta have black.

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              Yeah, World of Cake has black type, so does the other cake book.

                              2. The Sunset Cookbook. Has the feel of Gourmet Today, 1000 recipes, lots of sidebars. Occasional photos. Recipe indices in the back for "Essential Western Recipes," "Weeknight Meals", "Lean and Healthy Recipes", and "Vegan Recipes". It also has a section on Western wines and on baking at high altitudes (not that that's a particular issue of mine...)

                                I just love the very very Western slant to it. They say they went through their archives, but culled recipes that felt outdated, so, the recipes all seem pretty modern. It also appears they made up some recipes that seemed under-represented, such as a couple of muffin recipes.

                                I can't wait to try some of these recipes. I hope they're good. They say they've been thoroughly tested, including by a team of amateur, home cooks, so that's encouraging.

                                Oh, and it comes with a free six-month subscription to the magazine.


                                12 Replies
                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  I gotta get that book, I subscribed to Sunset for years and years after we left Berkeley. Their recipes always work.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    Oh, that's great to know, that the recipes always work!


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Seriously. There is or was a woman named Roxanne Chan who always contributed recipes and got published in their readers' recipes column - hers were always very interesting, wonder if she's mentioned in the book.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        She's not listed in the index, alas. I will be on the lookout for her name.


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Do be, was always impressed by her. Very ingenious.

                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Very very tempted by the Sunset book, please let us know how cooking from it goes. I grew up in California where mom subscribed to Sunset for more than 30 years. I grew up on that magazine's recipes.

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      The only good food I can remember my mother making (well, it's a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one) came from Sunset.

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I don't think I've ever had a bad recipe from Sunset magazine. Maybe not even a so-so recipe.
                                        Please post if you find anything you'd like to share!

                                        1. re: blue room

                                          Will do! I'm so glad it has a "healthy" cooking section so I can use it in the new year!


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            I like that Sunset makes it easy to make those judgments by giving nutritional info for all recipes (not only those they particularly deem healthy).

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              Agreed! It makes it super easy to size the recipes up.

                                              I'm on page 108 and have noticed 2 mentions of Roxanne Chan (Singapore Style Turkey Stew and Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus)

                                              ETA: Grilled Corn and Pepper Bisque pg 446; Polenta and Pine Nut Torte pg 633

                                              Lots of recipes from Rosetta Costantino, author of My Calabria. A couple from Goin; I don't know if they are the same as the ones in Sunday Suppers at Lucques. I wish they were indexed by recipe source/inspiration.


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                I got Costantino's My Calabria this holiday. Great photos and wonderful insights into Calabrian culture and cooking. The reciipes look very interesting, but I haven't had time to try any of them yet. Also got Nancy Harmon Jenkins' The Essential Mediterranean.

                                      2. If Santa slipped up and didn't bring what you wanted, and if you've succumbed to The Good Cook Club, they are having a most books for $11.99 and free shipping sale right now. Many of the books discussed on CH are available. To my financial detriment.

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          I should check to see whether they ship to Canada. I probably spend about $3,000 a year on books from Amazon so it would probably be worth looking into!

                                          1. re: chefathome

                                            There is a Canadian version, I believe.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              I think Breadcrumbs said that the Canadian site was in Chapter 11.

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                I thought there was some kind of issue with it.

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    That someone had posted something iffy about the Canadian GC club. There's information on it if you Google it but didn't get a specifically GC CA website to come up.

                                          2. re: buttertart

                                            After much soul-searching and debate, I bought "Rose's Heavenly Cakes" today from The Good Cook. At $11.99, no shipping, no tax, I convinced myself that I was somehow losing money if I *didn't* buy it.

                                            1. re: LaPomme

                                              That is a great book, worth the full price for the chocolate Valentine heart alone. LOVE!!! that cake.

                                              1. re: LaPomme

                                                Think of the savings you might have thrown away. You had to buy it.

                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  Ah, the enabling. I love it!

                                                  I talked a friend into joining the club. I asked her today how many of the TGC bonus points she has. Her number: 4. Mine: 14. And I've only been a member since October.

                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                PS I ordered Sunday and they came yesterday, storm notwithstanding. I was amazed.

                                              3. Got Alton Brown's second gigantic cookbook, basically a combination of transcripts of the shows in an elementary school textbook. (Remember when textbooks were cool and had pictures and fun facts?)
                                                My stepson picked it out and it's amazing.

                                                1. I received the Essential New York Times Cookbook and Veganomicon. Super excited for both!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: mollyomormon

                                                    It was a pretty darn good year. With the cash gift from MiL, I order from Alibris:
                                                    - Mama Dip's Kitchen
                                                    - Threadgill's: the Cookbook
                                                    - Charleston Receipts
                                                    - Marcella Cucina
                                                    - Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (gave my copy away to my father)
                                                    - Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads
                                                    - Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
                                                    - Brother Juniper's Bread Book: Slow Rise as Method and Metaphor
                                                    - The Bread Bible
                                                    (Hmmm...bread and Italian..did not see that thread when ordering!)

                                                    Mind you, the above came to JUST over $100 before shipping...so not too extravagant.

                                                    From the folks and my Alibris WishList:
                                                    - Commander's Kitchen
                                                    - Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table
                                                    - I'm Just Here for the Food

                                                    Lots to pour over, once the deliveries start! Gotta love Alibris!

                                                    1. re: Monch

                                                      Quite an impressive list there!

                                                      "Gumbo Tales" is a wonderful read--my favorite food book for just reading (alas, no recipes) in a long time.

                                                      1. re: Monch

                                                        Count me as another one who really liked Gumbo Tales. She describes the regional cuisine through such wonderful stories.

                                                    2. I managed to keep it down to two. I asked for, and received as a gift, Young's newest, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge. Then I was visiting my parents and used mom's copy of the LA Times California Cookbook (1981) to make fried baby artichokes. Next day, ran across the same book at the Friends of the Library book warehouse so I snagged it. Love that book!

                                                      1. Three I am really excited about!

                                                        Essential New York Times Cookbook
                                                        Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber
                                                        All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking Molly Stevens

                                                        11 Replies
                                                        1. re: geminigirl

                                                          geminigirl: I don't know if it was mentioned above in this thread (too lazy to look), but Molly Stevens' book was a COTM a while ago. You might have fun looking up the posts to that thread.

                                                          I've been so lazy about making jam ever since a friend started making vast quantities of damson plum jam and giving me some whenever I ask. I actually helped some earlier this year, pitting, etc. She has a tree in her yard. Please also post whenever you use the Ferber book. Thanks.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                            I don't have this book, and I have to say that I was about to get it when I read the posts from when it was a COTM. Not much appealed to me, and it seemed as if many of the recipes for proteins had sweet components. Is that accurate, or have I gotten the wrong impression?

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              I remember thinking the same thing when it was COTM.

                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                I love ABB but don't like sweet with my proteins. That hasn't been my impression of the book at all.

                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                  I skip the sweet with protein recipes, and still feel that "All About Braising" deserves a prominent place on my shelf. I love this book for both the recipes and the techniques. [Nothing you haven't heard from me before, I think.]

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    yes, I need to go back and print out that thread to read more as I go through the book. The dishes I have made so far I really loved, and as smtucker says, I too love the technique and that was a big selling point for me! thanks

                                                                  2. re: oakjoan

                                                                    Hi, thanks for the heads up, that's actually how I first heard about ABB. I made the braised cabbage first, without know ing where it was from, and then tried a lamb dish from my librarby book version and loved it so felt it was worth having on my book shelf considering the appeal of the 2 recipies I had tried. I am looking forward to making more, and love that this will be a great winter book to start on while I paitently wait for spring to arrive to use the Ferber book! I tried this book as well last summer with a few different fruits. The one thing I love is her concept of breaking the process up over a couple of days while the fruit macerates, etc...I also prefer not to use pectin (just my personal reference nothing more) so this book works well for me. Thanks

                                                                  3. re: geminigirl

                                                                    I have "All About Braising" and really like it. It is a very user friendly book. "Mes Confitures" is also on my list - I have so many books on preserves but I LOVE preserves. I make all kinds of jellis, jams, chutneys, etc. frequently. Another I want to get is "Blue Chair Jam Cookbook".

                                                                    1. re: geminigirl

                                                                      Oh, I love Mes Confitures! I'm planning to make the pumpkin jam soon and will post about it. I'd love to know what you end up making from there.

                                                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                        I look forward to that so much! Will let you know when I get the books...

                                                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                          I'd also be interested to hear what you think of the pumpkin jam. There are so many recipies in that book I am excited to try come spring! I will take a look at Blue Chair and see if it's at the library. THanks

                                                                      2. I didn't receive a cookbook for Christmas this year, which is fine because my bookshelves are beginning to buckle with my Good Cook Bookclub purchases of the past few months.

                                                                        I did, however stock other's stockings with cookbooks:

                                                                        "Chewey Gooey Crispy Crunchy" by Alice Medrich for my good friend.
                                                                        "Perfect One Dish Dinners" by Pam Anderson for my mother-in-law.
                                                                        "Farmers' Market Desserts" by Jennie Schacht for my sister-in-law.

                                                                        I would love it if they would actually attempt a few of the recipes, and share them with me if they're good. But the odds of that are kind of low.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: LaPomme

                                                                          I'm hinting to relatives that Pam Anderson's book would be a good birthday present for me!

                                                                        2. My cousin gave me "The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread" by Amy Scherber & Toy Kim Dupree, date 2008. I have not made anything from it but it looks nice, good explanations, what to substitute.

                                                                          Has anyone made anything from this one?

                                                                          1. Due to my recent health problems, my sister was kind enough to purchase the following for me for Christmas:

                                                                            Get the Salt Out
                                                                            Get the Sugar Out
                                                                            Without a Grain of Salt

                                                                            Not nearly as interesting reading as the other 100 or so cookbooks that I have laying around - way too healthy!

                                                                            1. I only received one cookbook this year, due to my compulsive year-long cookbook addiction. Husband bought me The Essential New York Times which has been fun to read through. I have both previous volumes, and am enjoying the original version to the latest one.

                                                                              20 Replies
                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                Yes, Santa also brought me no books since he was confused as to what I had already. I guess I will have to remedy that omission myself. Meanwhile, I can enjoy the ones I got for the DH -- Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge and Thai Street Food.

                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  I bought Thai Street Food in a moment of weakness. OF COURSE I haven't cooked from it yet. I would love to hear of anything you try, assuming you beat me to it, which I am certain you will given my turtle's pace.


                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      Do I "need" this book??? So intriguing.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        Hmmm...I don't know yet. The recipes do look appealing, but the proportion of photos to recipes is very high. And they aren't just food photos. Just a lot of atmosphere type photos, etc. So, it's as much a travelogue as it is a cookbook. And it's a very large book, physically. If the recipes turn out to be great, I can live with it, but you have to have patience for such things.


                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          Maybe I'll have a look at the library. I have the Thai big fat doorstop book but haven't gotten anywhere with it. If I'm going to cook Thai I go with Jennifer Brennan.

                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                            It is HUGE. I don't think that we even have a shelf it can live on!

                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                              I haven't been to a bookstore in ages, must have a look in the city. Not committing to this (yet).

                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                It's a bummer because the spine doesn't show, but I shelve it on its side.


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  So what are the actual dims of this sucka?

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    Not that thick, only about an inch, but it's a little over 13'' tall and almost 11'' wide. He does get an entire recipe on one page, which is nice, but I'd say there are only about 150 recipes in total. (EDIT: 129 recipes per EYB.)


                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                What's stopping you from diving into Thompson's first book? Too many books too little time? Or is there something specific about that book that doesn't draw you in?


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  I have both "Thai Street Food", recent addition to my collection, and "Thai Food", had it for a while now, and cook from it fairly often.

                                                                                                  So far have only made two recipes from "Thai Street Food", KaoSui and Grilled chicken (can't think of the Thai name for the dish), both were WONDERFUL.

                                                                                                  Comparing recipes for dishes that appear in both books (and there are quite few) at least half are substantially different versions. For all that "Thai Street Food" is a humongous book, it was surprisingly easy to cook from...ingredients lists & instructions are all on a single page, with picture opposite, which somehow makes it much easier to use than "Thai food", which requires lots of page flipping and has photos only of some dishes, often a few pages away from the recipe.

                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                    Thanks for this qianning. I had wondered if the dimensions of Thai Street Food were chosen to ensure the recipes appear on one page! I'm delighted to read you've had success with the dishes you've tried thus far. Very encouraging!


                                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    TDQ, re Thai Food, I hate to say it but I found it overly detailed. Also the "scud" chili references got on my nerves! I will look at it again.

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      HA! Funny. What gets on my nerves about TSF is the fact that there's so many non-recipe pages. I'm sorry, call me shallow, but it's just not fun to flip through if your interest is recipes. So many photos. They are lovely photos, for sure, but I have lovely photos of my own, thank you very much. What I don't have and what I need Thompson for (and the book has a $60 price tag for heavens sake!) is recipes.

                                                                                                      Anyway, I hope I'll feel differently when I start cooking from it. But, if you aren't inclined to delve into TF, I'm probably not going to have any better luck with that book. Maybe I should look at Jennifer Brennan's stuff.


                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        She put out what was the first Thai cookbook in general circulation - and her other books are v good too: Cuisines of Asia, One-Dish Meals of Asia, Curries and Bugles (the Raj) - of course I just found one I don't have and now want, on the Pacific Islands.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          These cookbook conversations are so dangerous.


                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            I wonder if there is a recipe for 'long pork' lol!

                                                                                      2. I got:

                                                                                        French Taste - Laura Calder
                                                                                        French Food at Home - Laura Calder
                                                                                        Best Food Writing 2010 (I have all of these!)
                                                                                        "On The Line" - Eric Ripert
                                                                                        Heston Blumenthal biography by Chas Newkey-Burden
                                                                                        One Big Table - Molly O'Neill
                                                                                        Appetite City - William Grimes
                                                                                        Eating History - Andrew Smith
                                                                                        Medium Raw - Tony Bourdain

                                                                                        Also the Doonesbury retrospective, and some novels.

                                                                                        (And a wicked French mandoline, (Bron Coucke) and an espresso machine. I was a very very good girl, evidently.)

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: SherBel

                                                                                          How does one become a very, very good girl? ;) I need to know because I covet those books!

                                                                                          Have you dipped into One Big Table yet? I'm curious if it's worth the money or better checked out of the library.

                                                                                          1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                            Haven't started One Big Table yet, but I've skimmed through Momofuku and it's a wonderful read.

                                                                                            Finished Medium Raw in one day, (loved it), and now I'm reading through the Best Food Writing 2010.

                                                                                            I'm not sure how I became so very, very good:)

                                                                                            1. re: SherBel

                                                                                              Momofuku is fascinating; the one thing I didn't find necessary is how often the "F" word is used. It is still an incredible book with useable recipes. I love books that contain more than recipes!

                                                                                              1. re: SherBel

                                                                                                I loved Medium Raw, too, and read it super fast. Say what you will about Bourdain, but that guy is truly a wordsmith. I could read his writing all day.

                                                                                                Have never heard of the Best Food Writing series. Sounds intriguing!

                                                                                          2. As much as I love cookbooks, I didn't get many for xmas, mostly because those around me think I have too many. I did get a subscription to Cook's Illustrated finally, after lapsing the last few years.
                                                                                            But my favorite culinary tomes are food memoirs. Last year I got Born Round for Christmas and LOVED IT--fav of the year! Also recently read Spoon Fed and a few other less memorable ones (Harlot's Sauce and Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken).
                                                                                            I am always on the lookout for more foodie memoirs. Do you have recommendations? I have, of course, read all Reichl, Bourdain, Powell, etc. but there maybe Classics, even, that I have overlooked. What are your favorites?

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: sophiejj

                                                                                              A few that I own and have enjoyed:

                                                                                              "Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen", George Lange
                                                                                              "Between Bites", James Villas
                                                                                              Anything that Jeffrey Steingarten has ever written, (I love him.)
                                                                                              "A Chef's Tale", Pierre Franey
                                                                                              "The Apprentice" Jaques Pepin
                                                                                              "Domesticity" , Bob Shacochis (where did he go??)
                                                                                              All of MFK Fisher....although I am less charmed by her writing as time goes on. Not sure why.

                                                                                              No one has heard of this little pearl, but one of my favorite books is "The Country Kitchen" by Della Lutes. I own a first edition. Worth seeking out.

                                                                                              This is off the top of my head, I own hundreds of food related books, most of them are not cookbooks per se.

                                                                                              I was not a big fan of "Born Round", but I may warm up to it on the second read.

                                                                                              1. re: SherBel

                                                                                                Loved "Domesticity," one my husband bought me many years ago, too. I think he's not primarily a food writer, which is probably why he's not better known in this context.

                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                  An old one, "Blue Trout and Black Truffles", by Joseph Wechsberg (on the food of old Vienna), a classic, wonderful book. Wechsberg was one of the contributors to Gourmet in the beginning.
                                                                                                  One from the '90s, "Jack's Skillet", along the lines of Domesticity, by Jack Butler, a swell novelist (magnum opus "Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock", on politics in guess where) - another of the "what happened to" brigade.

                                                                                              2. re: sophiejj

                                                                                                One I'm waiting for in 2011: Gabrielle Hamilton's.

                                                                                              3. Avec Eric - Eric Ripert
                                                                                                Fast Food My Way - Jacques Pepin

                                                                                                I'm totally excited!

                                                                                                1. Since my husband got back from his first trip to China the week before Christmas there was an Asian slant to my cookbook gift list:
                                                                                                  Southeast Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden
                                                                                                  The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
                                                                                                  Asian Tapas Small Bites Big Flavors by Christophe Megal and Anton Kilayko
                                                                                                  Chinese Feast & Festivals by S.C. Moey

                                                                                                  I also receive Forgotten Skills of Cooking and from my personal trainer (thinking it is in her enlightened self interest) Flour by Joanne Chang.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                    That Asian Tapas book looks interesting (I have a special weakness for this type of book.)

                                                                                                    And here I thought I was done buying any new cookbooks for a while...

                                                                                                  2. "Oh, she cooks, here's a cookbook!" usually yields me a couple of lame cookbooks and this year was no exception. A Wiliams-Sonoma cooking around the world book that the store won't take back because it wasn't purchased there, and one of those best-recipes-from-this-city's-chefs-but-not-really books. All I wanted was Ratio. But I'll make someone else happy with a regift.

                                                                                                    1. clearly, chefathome was a much much better person than I was this year.

                                                                                                      I got two cookbooks and two books. The cookbooks are:
                                                                                                      River Cottage cookbook ---from my darling closing in fast on 11 year old daughter and
                                                                                                      French cooking at Home from my husband.

                                                                                                      In the plain books catagory, I got vol. 1 of the Mark Twain autobiography and a very intimidating book on Fair Isle Knitting that my oldest son is sure I can handle. . . yargh!

                                                                                                      I asked for the River Cottage mushroom book but everyone was sure I didn't mean it since its all british 'shrooms. I did mean it so I'll just have to save my pennies.

                                                                                                      My husband feels I have way way too many cookbooks but knows I like them and is not Christmas time for giving people things you know they will like? So he buys them anyway. Typically he buys more me than one book but this year we agreed to save pennies and limit the gifts because we are toodling off to Paris in February with all the hungry chowpups and plan to spend all our money there.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: jenn

                                                                                                        If you want another really good mushroom book, Jane Grigson's "The Mushroom Feast" is fantastic.

                                                                                                      2. Fascinating, enticing booklists here. :)

                                                                                                        I received:
                                                                                                        Medium Raw -- Bourdain
                                                                                                        The Deadly Dinner Party: and Other Medical Detective Stories -- J. Edlow

                                                                                                        And a bit of a cheat since I bought myself "Bistro Cooking" around Thanksgiving. :)

                                                                                                        1. I guess I was very good this year, so I received:

                                                                                                          Around My French Table
                                                                                                          Bobby Flay's Throwdown
                                                                                                          Mad Hungry
                                                                                                          and, my favourite, Laduree The Recipes. It in itself is such a beautiful book, faux suede cover, wrapped in tissue in a beautiful typical Laduree box.

                                                                                                          I am soo spoiled.

                                                                                                          1. Santa obviously thinks I have enough cookbooks (not true) because he only brought me boots. I guess I'm on my own.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                The boots were very timely, considering the storm we just had. These boots are made for walking to the bookstore.

                                                                                                            1. Well, I was surprised this morning to receive another (unexpected) Amazon box! Two more books that my husband had ordered were delayed - James Beard's "American Cookery" and "Tastes and Temptations - Food and Art in Renaissance Italy". That brings the total up to 12! And I didn't even think I was THAT good a girl in 2010!

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                The after-Christmas surprises are always the best.

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  Yes, they are! I found a parcel card in the mail and was surprised (and delighted!) all over again!

                                                                                                              2. I got a lovely addition to my collection - my brother surprised me with 'Degustation' by Alan Fabregues. I now have silly ideas of attempting it...

                                                                                                                1. I was very, very lucky this year:

                                                                                                                  il viaggio di vetri
                                                                                                                  heart of the artichoke
                                                                                                                  How I Cook
                                                                                                                  Fish Without A Doubt
                                                                                                                  The Essential New York Times Cookbook
                                                                                                                  Around My French Table
                                                                                                                  Sunday Suppers At Lucques
                                                                                                                  Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook
                                                                                                                  Maida Heatter's Brand New Book of Great Cookies
                                                                                                                  Good to the Grain
                                                                                                                  Chewy, Gooey, Crispy Crunchy

                                                                                                                  Now I need the gift of time to actually read and cook from them!!

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                    You are going to love the Revolutionary Chinese cookbook.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                      and Fish without a Doubt. Just learning his broiler method will change your life. The tartar sauce recipe is also the best I have ever tried.

                                                                                                                    2. Two by James Peterson: his sauce book and his meat book. And the new Harold McGee book, which I just got yesterday and haven't had time to open.