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Best BC cookbooks

I will be traveling to Vancouver next week. I love to collect cookbooks on my travels - classic or avant garde - just something to refer to for inspirAtion for years to come. Any suggestions?

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    1. Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian and Vij's: at Home are my two favourite cookbooks from BC. Both are very approachable and the recipes work with some minor adjustments. If you prefer glossy coffee table cookbooks, have a look at Blue Water Cafe's Seafood Cookbook.

      3 Replies
        1. re: fmed

          I second that. Vij's cookbooks have some truly memorable recipes that you'll want to make more than once. I've also enjoyed all of the cookbooks from Bishop's, particularly Simply Bishop's and Cooking at My House. Rob Feenie's Lumiere cookbook appears to be influenced by French Laundry, but nevertheless does contain some excellent recipes (the panna cotta is always a hit).

          Not specifically from BC, but still Canadian is Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen which is chock a block with great desserts, particularly the delicious almond-apricot pound cake which serves 25.

          You'll find these at Barbara Jo's (great recommendation, LotusRapper), were you can also pick up BJ's lovely Tin Fish Gourmet. While you're in the neighborhood, take a look next door at Les Amis du Fromage and Patisserie Lebeau, and if you're up for it stroll east two blocks for a coffee at Bica.

          Enjoy your trip!

        2. This book on my shelf by Chef Alain Raye (owner/founder of La Regalade in West Vancouver) gets more reads and uses from me than many of my other cookbooks:


          1 Reply
          1. re: LotusRapper

            +1 for Chef Alain Raye, La Regalade is one of my favourite restaurant in Vancouver.

            La Regalade Restaurant
            2232 Marine Dr, West Vancouver, BC V7V1K4, CA

          2. Thanks everyone for the fantastic suggestions! I can't wait to check out Barbara Jo's! My kind of place...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Llincoln

              No love for the Re-Bar cookbook? The food may not be gourmet, but there are some great recipes in there (lime-pumpkin seed cookies, for example).

              1. re: anewton

                Total love for the Re-bar!

                Also Hollyhock and Moosewood!

            2. 16 years old now, but I'm still using Karen Barnaby's "Pacific Passions Cookbook".

              6 Replies
              1. re: yaneidi

                Wonder if anyone still has James Barber (RIP)'s original Urban Peasant cookbook ?? :-D

                I was at a used bookstore in Hood River, Oregon a month ago and came across a treasure trove of old cookbooks by Julia Child, Graham Kerr (Galloping Gourmet) and Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet) ...... the staple of Saturday afternoon cooking shows on KCTS/9 in the '70s and '80s !

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  I have James Barber's Ginger Tea Makes Friends, the paperback version that came out in 1977 (hard cover came out in 1971). My brother gave it to me for Christmas back in the day as I started to make my way in the world. My first cookbook.

                  1. re: Anne M

                    I have a hardcover copy of "Ginger Tea Makes Friends" that I picked up at the West Broadway Salvation Army store a couple of years ago! I like the recipe for Eight Hour Chicken!

                  2. re: LotusRapper

                    Still have them still love them! Urban Peasant was my first love for cooking shows!

                  3. re: yaneidi

                    I thoroughly agree with you yaneidi regarding Karen Barnaby's "Pacific Passions Cookbook" and also her "Screemingly Good Food" that I use regularly. Her recipe for "Chicken Steamed with Ginger and Sherry" is super! I have made this healthy and tasty chicken recipe at least two
                    a dozen times....there is nothing more satisfying than "steamed chicken and rice".

                    1. re: bevo

                      I'm still using that one too, bevo. It's great stuff!

                  4. Kate Aitken's Canadian Cook Book..circa 1945 (HC)...or The New Kate Aitken Cook Book circa 1953 (PB).

                    If you can find these at a used book store, I think they are the iconic Candadian Cook Books. I rarely use any other in my kitchen...from apples to bacon, biscuits, berries, jams, jelly, canning,lobster, lake trout, oyster stew, partridge, venison..it's all there!

                    I love these books.

                    1. Take a look at Whitewater Cooks too. Great salads and hearty outdoorsy fare.

                      1. Simply Bishop's by John Bishop and someone else.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: liverwurstontoast

                          Too late for the OP but another nice one is John Bishop's Fresh, which has some lovely anecdotes, great pix and of course tasty recipes. It explains what his 14-year plus relationship with a couple of organic farmers did to his outlook on cooking and his restaurant. Very locavore.

                          Vij's Elegant and Inspired is another Vancouver cookbook I enjoy. I have had a few problems with proportions (eg) way too much sauce in the odd recipe but it is also a fun read.

                          And for everyday, it's hard to beat Six O'Clock Solutions and More Six O'Clock Solutions, which are compilations of recipes from the Vancouver Sun test kitchen. Check out page 47 of the latter for the best spaghetti sauce evah! I consider myself in poor shape if I don't have a bunch of this sauce frozen ready for those days I don't feel like cooking but still want to eat well.

                        2. I would Say Chef Anthony Sedlak book The Main: Recipes is a great cookbook

                          1. A heads up to those who don't have a copy, but Book Warehouse on Broadway at Ash has a bunch of copies of Vancouver Cooks 2 for $12. It's a couple of years old now, so a few chefs and restaurants have moved on, but there are some great recipes in there.

                            1. I would definitely second the recommendation for Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian .

                              There's also a great book about the local islands called "An Edible Journey:
                              Exploring the Islands' Fine Foods, Farms and Vineyards" by Elizabeth Levinson. It's part travelogue part cookbook, because she goes around to food producers all over Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and writes about them, interviews them and features their recipes. It's a great intro into the food culture of the area and a way to learn about local products and how to use them.

                              Vij's Restaurant
                              1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: ambiguoustraveller

                                  Nice one, atraveller! I got that book for the MIL a few years ago, very well done.

                                2. i realize this thread started a few months ago but it is interesting to read what everyone has to say ... i like several old genuine BC cookbooks
                                  1. Cooking with Mona (Woodwards - need i say more?)
                                  2. Nuts About Chocolate (Susan Mendelson - remember?)
                                  3. Diane Clement at the Tomato: Recipes and Tales from the Tomato Fresh Food Cafe (when it was on Cambie St - i like the recipe for black bean and corn and rice salad with cilantro)
                                  4. Gov't of Canada - Summerland Research Station recipe books circa 1960 - cherry olives, for one.