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What's the best cookbook for learning a cuisine from the ground up?

I'm looking for a rigorous, systematic approach for learning how to cook a new type of cuisine. I don't really care which one, I just want to learn something new. The ideal cookbook I'm looking for would start by listing any specialized cookware and pantry staples, then lay the groundwork through basic staples, all the way up to advanced banquet-type dishes. As little cute editorializing and fluff as possible. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

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  1. Two classics are Bayless (Authentic Mexican) on Mexican and Hazan (Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking) on Italian. They both orient you to the scope of the cuisine (e.g. its ingredients and techniques) and therefore you learn the cuisine's practical philosophy (what are its ideas and how do you accomplish them).

    1. If you're into Japanese cuisine,try Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh. For Chinese, Fuchsia Dunlop book and for Vietnamese, Mai Pham or Angela Nguyen.

      1. I think Vikram Vij's cookbook offers a very good introduction to Indian cooking. I have his "Relax, Honey" book and there's some great information on Indian spices.


        1 Reply
        1. re: cellophane_star

          Vij's first cookbook is outstanding. So is his restaurant in Vancouver.

        2. For Chinese, Irene Kuo's "The Key to Chinese Cooking" offers more grounding in the basics and a wider range of cuisines.
          Much as I love worship and adore la Dunlop, I would say Kuo was better for this purpose.

          1. you can also checkout the homecooking board

            1. Here's three of my all time favorites. Each is packed full of practical dishes very clearly explained using really basic ingredients. I used to refer to them regularly but I know the dishes I like and know how to make them.

              1. My mom bought this Madhur Jaffrey book when it first came out in the early 70's and used it often. I have that book now, and I see they've reissued it:

                It's great to learn Indian cooking from.

                1. any book by Luke Nguyen or his sister

                  1. If you are still looking, I would highly recommend the old Time-Life food of the world series. You can pick up the entire set on ebay. Great introduction to multiple cuisines. Its a bit light on Asia/Pacific other than China and Japan.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bkeats

                      they r great
                      I subscribed to the series when I was first married and didn't have too many cookbooks.

                      1. re: Bkeats

                        Yep, always looking. Thanks for the recommendation.