Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cookbook Review...Two Must Haves!

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Ever since I started this blog, I have become a frequent visitor of the local library. When I zero in on a subject, I become obsessed and spend hours on end doing research, which used to mean I went out to the bookstore and bought everything on the subject. Now that I'm on a budget, the library is my best friend. When I started this blog about a month ago, I knew absolutely nothing about blogging so the first thing I did was take out every book on blogging I could find, beginning with Blogging for Dummies. As luck would have it, "blogging" is next to "cooking" and I have been making a dent there too. Last week , I happened to take out Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the Worldand found the book so good, that I decided to add cookbook reviews to the blog. Now, keep in mind I get as excited reading recipes as most people get watching porn but as the owner of over 100 cookbooks, I have to be very selective before I decide to give it a home. If it has at least 3 recipes I can't wait to try, it's a keeper. I started reading this book about an hour ago, on a full stomach, and I must have about 20 pink Post-Its all over the place. Here is what I like about it. Mark Bittman writes a column for the New York Times called The Minimalist. I usually just glance at it since I like to get more involved with my cooking, but this is exactly what I like about this book. It is a no-frills approach to dishes once considered esoteric and too complicated to try in your kitchen. Everything you have ever enjoyed but were afraid to cook is here. In my case Indian food has always been taboo...too different from what I cook to even think of trying in my kitchen. I've spent years looking for a good curry recipe and to date I have only made it once and not very satisfactorily. This book has everything, from Chimichurri to Kung Pao Chicken but most importantly, the recipes are simple, authentic and straightforward. I only have this book for 25 more days but I can guarantee you that if my children are not reading this and thinking Mother's Day, I'm getting a copy in 26 days.

The other book I took a hard look at is Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook. This was recommended to me by my daughter, no less, so I paid attention. It is an excellent book and a must have for any cook, particularly aspiring ones. It covers everything, from frying an egg to making a souffle, all beautifully illustrated and explained. It also covers sophisticated techniques like how to trim a tenderloin and practical ones like how to light a grill, with grilling times. Very, very nicely done. Another must have for all cooks and a great shower or wedding gift.

Now back to House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Streetby William D. Cohan on the fall of Bear Stearns and the reason I'm on a budget and writing a blog. Also, a very good book.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite cookbook is "A Southern Lady Cooks With a Greek Accent" by Sophia Clikas. It is out of print and I own 2 copies. A book you would enjoy is "Hints and Pinches" by Eugene Walter. Although it has recipes, it is not primarily a cookbook. It is an entertaining history of different herbs and spices and other flavorings going back to ancient times. I would really love to get my hands on any cookbook written by Vincent Price.

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