Given the opportunity to show off about my cookbook collection,I will talk about them with the same zeal usually reserved for Evangelists. I just want to spread the word about these Good Books. Anyone who expresses even the slightest interest will be given a full tour of the shelves, and probably a book or two pressed into their hands so we can talk recipes at a later date. Picking favourites was difficult process, but here are some can't-live-without gems.
Fruit Book- Jane Grigson
The title doesn't give much away, and neither does it's appearance. It's not a glossy coffee table book, it's basic paperback filled with a huge amount of recipes, written in such a way it makes me want to cook everything as soon as I pick it up.
How To Eat- Nigella Lawson
Say what you like about her on-screen persona, but you can't fault Nigella's writing especially in How To Eat, her first and best book. I've cooked from this a lot, and it's all been wonderful.
The Book of Jewish Food- Claudia Roden
I love any book by Claudia Roden, but this the best. She covers in depth the food and traditions from both the Ashkenazi and Sepherdic worlds, including stories from her own life. Quite possibly my all-time favourite.
Cooking in 10 Minutes-Edouard de Pomaine
I like this more for his prose-it's very, very French. He begins:
"First of all, let me tell you that this is a beautiful book. I can say that because this is its first page. I just sat down to write it, and I feel happy, the way I feel whenever I start a new project. My pen is full of ink, and there's a stack of paper in front of me. I love this book because I'm writing it for you. It's nice to imagine that I'll be able to let my pen go and you'll understand everything it writes down..."
How can you resist that? Any eighteen year olds heading off to university should shun those awful patronising student cookbooks and take a copy of this instead.
Honey from a Weed- Patience Gray
A beautiful, slightly chaotic book, covering food from Greece, Italy and Spain. Pure escapism.
The Classic Food of Northern Italy- Anna Del Conte
This book demonstrates just how regional Italian cooking is- covering just part of the country, its still a pretty thorough read. Not that I'm complaining, Anna Del Conte's writing is wonderful, as well as being the final word in Italian cookery for me.
Meat Book- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
I'm glad I'm not so much a food snob as to dismiss all celebrity cooks- I wouldn't want to be without Hugh's meat encyclopedia. Lovely recipes, and good in-depth writing on cooking techniques. I like refering to this for meat cooking times, and advice if I have bought an obscure cut I want to try out my own recipe for.