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"off the beaten track" chefs and restaurants cookbooks

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I'm looking for the more hard to get "speciallity" cookbooks that are not always what could have been found easily at the usual mega sites.
Any exceptional and special books that you own or heard about and are "out there", would be great to get info !
Even of course on things that are possible finding at the usual online places but might be very special and not much commonly mentioned and talked about on this forum or in general.
I have many great cookbooks from known chefs, like JGV, Morimoto, Heston, Keller, Achatz and some more.. But i'm sure that there are others not as common great books outside to make the collection much more interesting :-) Maybe there are publications in English or translated to, of great Chinese and Japanese related books ? And i'm also clueless about possible Australian origin published books that might be interesting to check, im sure there are good ones. Thanks for any info..

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  1. I love The Sultans Kitchen cookbook by Ozcan Ozan. He runs a restaurant in Boston and I love his food. The recipes in this book are good and the book itself has micepictures to look at http://www.amazon.com/Sultans-Kitchen...

    1 Reply
    1. re: LisaN

      For some reason, your eBook didn't link. Here's the actual cookbook link:


    2. I really like "Secret Ingredients" from Michael Roberts - it is a little book from a not any longer well-known chef (who was part of the first wave of "California cuisine") and describes a number of recipes with the inclusion of one or two unusual (secret) ingredients which push a well-known dish (chili, gumbo, pasta etc) in an unexpected direction.


      1. I like The Shaker Kitchen, though there are many other Shaker cookbooks, and any of them would probably be a good choice. Shakers are credited with popularizing the use of herbs in American cooking, and they also created the packaged seed industry.

        The Maple Syrup Cookbook, by Ken Haedrich, is a favorite of mine. The recipes run the gamut from breakfast items to savory main courses to salads to desserts.

        1. Thanks a lot for the great suggestions, all books look great, the maple cookbook is even quite cheap around 7gbp at amazon uk currently and i wish i have found much more options at this price range for similar great books..
          Sultans kitchen and secret ingridients look very interesting also, so annoying that with shipping costs to my country the final prices are of course always a pain. And i will check regarding shaker kitchen books, the concept sounds very interesting, thanks graygarious :-)
          So much books and so little time.. I'm also looking currently into Roberta's kitchen, blue eye dragon Taiwan cookbook, Japanese cookery course cookbook by Hashi from the UK, Uchi restaurant cookbook from the US, some Australian titles like Bentley by Brent Savage.. Pretty weird list i admit, what can i do against such an addiction :-) Any thoughts on the mentioned books or close others that might be more fun, will be great..

          6 Replies
          1. re: oferl

            Ah, so you are in the U.K. It would have been helpful to know that from the get-go. Maybe it's on your profile but most folks don't typically check an OP's history before responding.

            In that case, you might have fun looking at the White Trash genre of American cookbooks. There's a degree of overlap with the fundraising cookbooks,civic and church groups self-publish, not to mention the "rubbernecking" car crash viewing when trying to imagine what some of these concoctions look and taste like. But some of these recipes are very popular and tasty. Have you seen the lengthy "dirty" recipes thread?http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5770...

            1. re: greygarious

              Nope, i live in Israel. Not sure that location has relevancy to the question, i pay a lot of shipping fees no matter if i use amazon uk or us. I found amazon uk to be a good resource lately, i find most titles also available there, shipping fees of course a bit better and mainly shipping as you might imagine is faster in most cases.
              I didn't get exactly the point with the trash genre of american cooking or the recepies in the link, if you are serious i will have to pass on whatever mentioned there as i have strong bad feeling towards the use of weird commercial and industrial products, and there seem to be plenty of them there :-)

              1. re: oferl

                Knowing where the OP lives helps narrow down what track is likely to be beaten for him./her. "The Joy of Whale Blubber" would not be esoteric to an Inuit. ;-)

                Yup, the "trash" recipes are just that: often tasty, most often unhealthy and artificial. For most people, not a huge problem if kept to the occasional indulgence rather than daily consumption of lubberwort.

                A peripatetic friend sent me a small Scottish cookbook when she visited there to trace her ancestry. I can't tell you the title since I did not keep it; all it took was a brief skimming to know I'd never make anything from it, even if the ingredients were not esoteric to this area.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Well, i have googled to make sure there is no book relating to joy of whale blubber :-) Good to know there isn't..
                  I get your point, i also don't do anything actually from quite a few books i have, but i make sure that at least they are interesting reading and many times they are also bringing inspiration even at places i didn't pay attention to and just realise that later.. Like "how the hell have i tought about this spices combo" and then i remember reading about it somewhere..
                  Maybe i should look for some of the modern scottish chefs that might released a book, rumours say that there is a very good wave of talents and interesting modern restaurants, thanks for the hint :-)

            2. re: oferl

              Have you thought about getting a tablet, ipad, kindle etc and downloading cookbooks? The expense of the device may be offset by the shipping charges you pay

              1. re: LisaN

                Sure, but 99% of the books i'm always interested at, are in status "let the publisher know" :-) The other "problem" is the eye candy art side factor being in many cases much more appealing then the learning side. All chef and restaurant books are of course a different story when as book vs kindle.
                For sure there are books i might use kindle for, maybe books like wild fermentation mentioned here, some "science" of ice cream books i might be interested at, other with the much more informative side being the important issue..

            3. I have a weak spot for cookbooks put out by farmers markets and focused, as you might expect, on seasonal or local products. Examples:


              1. One of my favorite restaurant chef cookbooks is from a small Cajun restaurant where my mother and grandparents used to take me as a child. I don't even know if the restaurant is still there, but my mother and I both still cook from the cookbook, especially around holidays.

                Patout's Cajun Home Cooking


                1 Reply
                1. re: pagesinthesun

                  That sounds like a really fun book, i wish there were books on small local places my parents used to take us at childhood :-) Very simple places cooking wise but great nostalgic value..
                  I'm always looking for good Cajun cooking books and actually don't have much in that direction, maybe John Besh's nice book, but i'm not sure it is "all the way" and down under Cajun cooking book.

                2. These are some of the more off-the-beaten-path cookbooks I have and like. Most are Asian. (I'm guessing you are already familiar with Irene Kuo, Fuschia Dunlop and Grace Young, but if not, their Chinese cookbooks are the modern classics, as are Madhur Jaffrey's and Julie Sahni's for Indian cooking.):

                  >> Chinese Gastronomy by Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin - a wide-reaching and absolutely brilliant book.

                  >> Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji (not that unknown and you might have this already, but a lot of people I know who are pretty solid Japanese food home cooks don't seem to have heard of it.)

                  >> Any books by Elizabeth Andoh, especially Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen.

                  >> The older books by Vatcharin Bhumichitr, especially Thai Vegetarian Cooking. He's become something of a celebrity chef in the UK, so his newer books are a bit dumbed down.

                  >> Thai Food by Australian chef David Thompson.

                  >> It Rains Fishes: Legends, Traditions, and the Joys of Thai Cooking by Kasma Loha-unchit (almost impossible to find anymore, but maybe you'll have luck)

                  >> Cooking at Home with Pedatha. - An almost unknown vegetarian cookbook that has some of the most authentic Indian recipes I've seen, veg or not.

                  >> The Tassajara Bread Book. A pretty well-known classic, but it was out of print for a long time, so a lot of people don't have it. It's a must have for anyone who plans on baking bread at any point.

                  >> La bonne cuisine de Madame E Saint-Ange by Evelyn Sainte-Ange - a huge, old classic of French cooking that was sort of forgotten for a while, translated to English with great care in 2005 by Chez Panisse chef Paul Aratow, but out of print again already.

                  >> A Taste of Heritage: The New African-American Cuisine by Joe Randall and Toni Tipton-Martin

                  >> Honey from a Weed: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, The Cyclades and Apulia by Patience Gray

                  >> Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ninrn

                    What a list, thank you so much for taking the time to write this :-) Must get Chinese Gastronomy, if i will find a used one that i can ship over, will be fantastic..
                    I have David Thompson's Thai street food, decided it might be more interesting then getting the one you mentioned, but on second thought i think i would have found thai food more appealing.
                    All other books sound very interesting, will do some search for more details and i hope to find used or new sources to order some of them, wild fermentation is on the list for some time, almost forgot about it.. Thanks a lot !

                    1. re: ninrn

                      Second the "nice list" sentiment!

                    2. Paula Wolfert's books are excellent and well regarded, but she's been around long enough that she isn't generally heralded as the hot new thing. She covers pan-Euro-Mediterraenean.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        I love all of Paula Wolfert's cookbooks. The recipes are sometimes simple, sometimes complex, always authentic. I've had all of her books for years and I"m still working on exploring them. Sometimes hard to find all the ingredients, but so worth it.

                        1. re: Bada Bing

                          Will check her books, some copies available from abebooks.. Thanks a lot !

                        2. The Mist Grill. Out of print cookbook for a place in VT. GREAT maple roasted chicken
                          Soul Cafe. From NZ. Unusual in that it has a section dedicated to foreign guest chefs.
                          Rockpool by Neill Perry. Innovative Asian/fusion from Down Under.
                          I hear only good things about Matt moran's books (also Australian).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Westy

                            Thanks a lot, checking them. I think i have seen Matt Moran at an Aussie cooking show or two. Didn't find online info on soul cafe book, the mist grill available as used and will try to catch a copy, Rockpool looks very interesting..

                          2. Here are my two cents:

                            The Art of Fine Baking by Paula Peck
                            Best Summer Weekends by Jane Rodmell (Canadian)
                            The Foods and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas
                            Anything by Anne Willan (French)
                            The Periyali Cookbook by Holly Garrison (Greek)
                            Samayal: The Pleasures of South Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Viji Varadarajan

                            Oferl, if you already have or decide to acquire any of these books, I would love to read about your experiences, thoughts, etc.