Written by adam on Feb 20, 2006
Filed Under: Books
When it comes to cookbooks, there are two kinds: the fancy picture cookbook and the practical cookbook. Every now and then some publisher will try to combine the two, and it either comes out completely horrible or really great. I will admit that I have both types of cookbooks at home and I have used both. It seems like the big, hardcover picture books are great for christmas presents, but don't really offer much in the way of real instruction or usable recipes. The author, chef, and publisher try to make them a fancy, holier-than-thou experience for the reader, using fancy ingredients not available at your corner grocery store.
One of my favorite examples of this is Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Kitchen. It's a giant fifty-dollar plus cookbook that is a picture book/instructional combined. It achieves its fancy-factor but fails miserably as an instructional/recipe book. It's extremely difficult to find anything in the book, and its so big that you can't use it in the kitchen while cooking as a referral.
Here are a couple of my favorite cookbooks:
Alton Brown's I'm just Here for the Food. This is a huge book, but it is by far the most useful cooking book I've ever read. Alton, as you may know, excels in cooking instruction. Not only does he provide recipes, he gives you the "WHY" of how things work. Lots of physics, chemistry, and basic cooking know-how.
The Border Cookbook: This is a giant collection of recipes for Tex-Mex and Southwest cuisine. I've cooked dozens of recipes from this book, and they have never let me down. The instructions are always spot on, and most of the ingredients I can obtain from my local store.
So what are some of your favorite cookbooks or books you swear by? Click the comment link to leave me a note.