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What is the most essential cookbook for your favorite cuisine/s? Who is, say, the Marcella Hazan of Korea? Who's the Diana Kennedy of Lebanon?

I am a cookbook addict and am trying to focus on buying the classic, authoritative, most-loved, most comprehensive books on particular cuisines.

I would guess there is probably a general consensus about Hazan and Kennedy for Italian and Mexican, for example, and probably Jaffrey for Indian (or Sahni?). But I'm wondering what the equivalents are for other cuisines.

What about, say, eastern Mediterranean, north African, west African, eastern European, Brazilian, Bahian, Peruvian, Korean, Portuguese, Japanese, Provencal... And lesser-known categories--Bulgaria? Cambodia?

Help me channel my addiction in a sane and productive way--thank you!

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  1. I love this post! Hopefully I'll be able to uncover some hidden treasures of world cuisines, as well. Here are a couple that come to mind, please feel free to add....

    Morrocan, Eastern Mediterranean: Paula Wolfert, "Couscous and other Good Food from Morocco", "The cooking of the Eastern Meditteranean"
    Middle Eastern: Claudia Roden, "The New Book of Middle Eastern Food"
    Thai: David Thompson, "Thai Food"
    Japanese: Shizuo Tsuji, "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art"
    Chinese: Barbara Tropp, "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking"

    What about Central American? I need a good one to add to my collection.

    1. Cambodian - Longteine de Monteiro, "The Elephant Walk Cookbook" (my favorite, at least).
      Chinese - Irene Kuo, "The Key to Chinese Cooking"
      EXCELLENT thread idea.

      1. thanks allegra and buttertart! these all look amazing!

        1. Nepal - Jyoti Pathak "Taste of Nepal"

          Sichuan - Fuchsia Dunlop "Land of Plenty"

          Georgia - Darra Goldstein "The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia"

          And more faves from Mr. Jonathan Gold:
          http://www.laweekly.com/2006-11-02/ea...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Joe MacBu

            Hunan - Fuchsia Dunlop "Revolutionary Chinese Cooking" - love this book to bits, even more than the Sichuan one since more unusual, but both are great accomplishments.

          2. How To Cook Without A Book by Pam Anderson, food writer (not the one from Bay Watch). I mainly use it for suggestions because I wear an apron while experimenting in the kitchen that bears the statement, "I don't need a recipe...I'm Italian." In reality I'm IBM, Italian By Marriage.