Tuesday, October 24, 2006


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
Larousse Gastronomique
Charlie Trotters
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


Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg said...

"Culinary Artistry, by Dornenburg and Page
Charcuterie, by Ruhlman and Polcyn
Art Culinaire periodical"

Hi Michael,

We're delighted that our book CULINARY ARTISTRY earned a spot in your "Top 3" closest books!

We hope our new book (out this month!) WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers (Little, Brown; Oct. '06) will, too!

Best wishes,
Karen & Andrew

Michael Walsh said...

It was quite a long time ago that I first read “Dining Out” an eye opening aspect of the restaurant business for me since I was just a youngster then. A little time passed, and I realized this book called, “Becoming a Chef” was also written by Dornenburg and Page, and I had enjoyed Dining Out so much I read that one too. I’ve been using “Culinary Artistry” as a source of reference and inspiration over the past 3 years more than any other book. It has become indispensable to me especially when creating seasonally minded menus, or thinking about that one elusive flavor that makes a dish successful. I continue to recommend Culinary Artistry to my co-workers, they have to go buy it though, I cant take a chance lending out my copy. I can’t wait to check out the new book, it’s on my short list of new culinary books I’d like to have.