Well, I’ve been considering a blog entry in the, "get to know you by way of a list" vain. Until I knocked the sizeable stack of cookbooks off my desk I just wasn’t sure what kind of list. What is your favorite cookbook is an eventual question when any cook gets interrogated by his non-cooking peers, so I’ll give up the information easily. Now consider, these are only the books within 3 feet of my here on the computer, and I’ll list them from furthest away, to closest.
Tetsuya, by Tetsuya Wakuda
Chinese Cooking, by Ken Hom
Simple to Spectacular, by Jean-George
Think Like a Chef, by Tom Colicchio
Rockenwagner, by Hans Rachenwagner
Famie’s Adventures in Cooking, by Keith Famie
Heartland, The Best of Midwestern Kitchens, by Marcia Adams
Adkins for Life, by Dr. Adkins
Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, by Elizabeth Schneider
Culinary Artistry, by Dornenburg and Page
Charcuterie, by Ruhlman and Polcyn
Art Culinaire periodical
Wow, that is quite an impressive list I didn’t even realize, in fact I forgot I even owned some of those titles.
I don’t think that how many, or which cookbooks you own is very important, rather how you use the cookbooks that you do have. For me, cookbooks work in two ways, as basic reference for things that we should know, but haven’t committed to memory, but most importantly we know where to find such information. For instance, how many eggs in a custard, how much gelatine in a liquid, how much butter per egg for hollandaise. The second way to use a cookbook is for inspiration. Imitation is not inspiration. I often find a picture, or a description of how an ingredient tastes, or it’s origin to be very inspirational when thinking creatively about food. Even the most mundane food get’s re-invented by an old cookbook, an old recipe or an explanation about a certain foods role in history