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Dec 26, 2011 05:00 PM

What book about food or cooking would you love to find but haven't?

I regularly torture myself by looking at the Japanese baking magazines in Kinokuniya bookstore in Manhattan - so many gorgeous things, too bad the only Japanese I can sort of make out is the kanji. I would be over the moon to find a book in English on the subject - either on home baking or on patisserie. Somebody please please write one...
How about you? What would you be interested in reading that as far as you know doesn't exist yet?

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  1. The book I want, I think exists somewhere, but I am not able to find it. I want a book that is like Madeleine Kammen's "When French Women Cook," but set in Italy. The Kammen book is partly a memoir, but it is also full of recipes. Each chapter, as I recall, is centered around a different woman, each in her kitchen, each in a different region. The prose is informative about the kitchens and the cooking, and each chapter is evocative of an enviably different time and place. Well, right now I'd like to find this book about Italy, but there are many cuisines and countries that I would love to read about in a similar format.

    11 Replies
    1. re: L.Nightshade

      That would be wonderful for any cuisine, wouldn't it?

      1. re: L.Nightshade

        I need to find Kammen's book then, and I am so with you on wanting that type of book for all different cuisines...

        1. re: L.Nightshade

          carol field already did it: In Nonna's Kitchen

          1. re: FED

            That looks like it might be just what I'm looking for! See, I knew it was out there somewhere, thanks FED!

            If other hounds know of books with this theme from other culinary traditions, please step forward!

          2. re: L.Nightshade

            Alibris has many of them as does ebay.

            1. re: itryalot

              I need names. It's a theme that is not easy to put into search criteria! Thanks in advance if you know books you can share.

              Or maybe you meant to reply to kubasd23 wanting the Kammen book?

                1. re: itryalot

                  Oh no problem! (But I was hoping you'd come back with a list of titles for me!)

            2. re: L.Nightshade

              I wonder if you might enjoy COOKING WITH ITALIAN GRANDMOTHERS, a newish book:


              Or perhaps Pellegrino Artusi:

              1. re: Jay F

                Thanks Jay! I just put Cooking with Italian Grandmothers into my wish list, it looks like it fits my search criteria!
                The Artusi looks interesting too, it's probably in my future. I'm currently reading Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History), looking for something a bit more light-hearted for my next read.

                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  At one point more people owned the Artusi than the Bible. So yeah.

            3. I'd like to find a simple cookbook of maybe no more than a hundred recipes wherein one could find almost everyone recipe of interest to the majority of modern American cooks; but truly remarkable in their technique to make them the best that they can be.

              Where all ingredients readily available; straightforward ingredients; quick prep;

              Maybe I should look again at a 5-ingredient cookbook :-))

              A simple family cookbook - but no sloppy joes recipes.
              I've remarked to DH that if I find one recipe that I will make again from a book that I've purchased, it is worth the price of the book.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Rella

                You just described Jane Hornby's "What to Cook and How to Cook It." It's designed as a beginner's cookbook (beautifully laid out by Phaidon Press, the same company that published the recent Ferran Adria book) with clear photos and instructions.


                1. re: ferret

                  Thanks for your suggestion. This is still not what I am thinking of probably because I'm thinking that even though I'm a part of the "majority of modern American cooks," as I may have foolishy stated above, what is mentioned in this book (under Weekend) is not what I'm thinking about. Perhaps I'm wrong in that I'm not in the majority of American cooks because here are the recipes under "Weekend" I would not ever make again or even care about to make again:

                  "coq au vin, creamy fish pie, roast chicken with lemon and leek stuffing, eggplant parmigana, chicken pot pie, fish stew and roast pork." I know, I know, everyone makes roast pork - but who has the best technique for what cut.

                  One reviewr says

                  "This is a new, delightfully laid-out and easily understandable cookbook which proceeds on the assumption that everyone is new to cooking."

                  That is not me.

                  What I want is "each recipe truly remarkable in their technique to make them the best that they can be." A compiler of recipes -- not a media type person, not a cookbook author who is doing a new best seller taking from this chef or that chef, but a person who can judge what is the best of the simplest and put it into a cookbook. I don't care if it is a boiled egg or mashed potato or a chocolate cake.

                  I like your suggestion, but I'll bet it's not what I'm thinking of.
                  Thanks again.

                  1. re: Rella

                    Don't sell it short (or mistake "simplified" as "simple"). The Ferran Adria Family Book is laid in a similar "cooking for dummies" but that doesn't mean that either book is an oversimplification. I have been cooking for 40 years and consider myself to be well-above average in skills but I appreciate that the books take nothing for granted as far as the reader's skills are concerned.

                    It's money well spent.

              2. I heart this thread and hope it gets more replies. I'm with Rella on the cookbook I want. I've been gifted a couple of Nigel Slater books and in some aspects they come close to what Rella describes, but there's often one or two ingredients that require a special trip, and I haven't had much use out of either book (possibly my own fault).

                Buttertart - I didn't know I wanted your book, but now I do. I would SO buy that book, and hope it has a lot of lavish photographs.

                Hmm. I'd also like a cookbook like what Rella describes, but for Japanese cuisine. For westerners. I'm trying to get into Japanese cooking at home and it would be ncie to have a single cookbook to work from.

                11 Replies
                1. re: montrealeater

                  Have a look at Elizabeth Andoh's first book, maybe?

                  1. re: buttertart

                    By first book, are you referring to American Taste of Japan?

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Thanks, butteretart, I just ordered it. My shelf is woefully short on Japanese cookbooks. This sounds like a good start.

                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          Thanks for the recs. Am i correct in assuming these are Japanese basics, and not westernized versions of Japanese basics? I want the former.

                          1. re: montrealeater

                            You will not be able to get the ingredients necessary to cook authentic Japanese cuisine in Canada, even using online sources. You will have to make many compromises. I prefer cookbooks that acknowledge this fact.

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              Even the basics? And I mean basics...maybe fundamentals would be a better word? We have a Japanese specialty store in this city and so far I've been able to find the things I need there (again, basic stuff - bonito, kombu, miso...).

                              1. re: montrealeater

                                Of course you can get Japanese ingredients in Canada. We ate in a perfectly authentic Japanese restaurant in Toronto in the early 70s and the ingredients were in Chinatown stores then.

                                1. re: montrealeater

                                  My mom is Japanese and was able to make Japanese food in Minot, North Dakota (population 50,000) of all places. She certainly wasn't making sashimi, but she was making home-style Japanese food. If you can find katsuo bushi (bonito), kombu, miso, soy, sesame oil, ginger, and rice wine vinegar, it sounds like you are on your way. I do have At Home with Japanese Cooking too and it is a great start. Elizabeth Andoh does a great job with Japanese cooking. Gambatte kudasai!

                                  1. re: BigSal

                                    They have lovely fish in Montreal too. We're not talking about Rimouski here.

                                    1. re: BigSal

                                      Hey, I'm from Minot! I moved away in '79. Do you still have family there? How have they fared this year????
                                      If you can make Japanese food in Minot, you can make it anywhere!!

                    1. There is one book in English that touches on Japanese baking. It is not as comprehensive as the baking magazines you refer to, but it is a start. The book is called Okashi, Sweet Treats Made with Love, by Keiko Ishida, although I have not made anything from it yet. Milky madelines sound wonderful. Many swiss roll recipes and other desserts with a Japanese twist (green tea tiramisu). That being said, it'd be nice to see more of these kinds of books in our market.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BigSal

                        Oh boy, thank you! Next stop Amazon. It would be wonderful if more such books were published.

                      2. I would like to find a good Swiss cookbook -- a real one.

                        I have one -- the recipes are OK -- but it's written by an Englishwoman and must have been subsidized because it has commercial-sounding pitches for hotels in it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sharuf

                          Another dream - a Swiss baking book. Mr Malgieri, please!