Over the past week or so a few “Essential Cookbook” themed blog posts have caught my eye. Cookbooks, I wondered…do people still use those?
Admittedly, I have a few them laying around here and there – themed for the most part. Tapas, pizza, vegan “on the cheap,” etc. – And just like you, I rarely use them.
Comedian Pete Holmes jokingly thanks phone companies for leaving “portions of the Internet to throw away” on his doorstep. And before yesterday, I would undoubtably lump most cookbooks in there with them.
Then a book from Emma’s post: How to Cook Everything got me thinking, “now that cookbook could prove itself useful…”
But Anjali’s selection actually got me to the bookstore.
I paid $38 because I had a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble, but you, well you could get it for a keen $23.10. Darn you.
What I like:
- It is incredibly comprehensive, cover to cover. I hesitate to say it has “everything,” but you’ll be hard-pressed to find something it doesn’t.
- No pictures. No professionally lit, wax sprayed apple cobbler photos to give you unreasonably high expectations for yourself. Ingredients and directions. Fin. *There are occasional diagrams to help with technique
- With a three-tone color scheme and no-frills labels, headings and fonts, it reads more like a encyclopedia than your average (these days anway) cookbook.
What I can’t wait to try:
- Pinto Bean Tart w/ Millet Crust
- Mushroom Ketchup
- Saffron Olive Oil Cookies
- Tofu Wontons
- Veggie Burgers
And I mean burgers. Midsummer Veggie, Spicy Autumn Veggie, Tofu, Asian Style, and Fast Nut – just to name a few. Speaking of nuts, the book even includes a “Nut and Seed Lexicon.” Yes, a lexicon.
And I mean comprehensive. The author, Mark Bittman, covers every which way to prepare legumes, sauces, purées, and grains. Vegetables? He walks you through steamed, fried, sautéed, roasted, and even braised preparation styles. Be brave, try tofu – poached, baked, pan fried, or grilled.
I’ve been reading my new book like it’s a novel – a real page-turner if you will (There’s a Hunger Games pun in here somewhere…).