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Thread: Cooks Books! good and bad

  1. #1
    At Work herriwullie's Avatar
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    Default Cooks Books! good and bad


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    Who do you rate as a writer as well as a Cook... Let's have your books that are good for an inspirational dip into, or the classic dog eared books that have been with you for ages.


    Thumbs Up
    Sophie Grigson- anything
    Nigel Slater- real fast food, the Kitchen Diaries
    a real old copy of Mrs Beeton (don't want any mention of refrigeration or microwaves )
    Elizabeth David (especially her Bread book)
    The Women's Institute book of Pies and Puddings- awesome Brit food, fantastic for pastry and trad recipes
    Farmhouse Fare- a great book that is a collection of recipes from Farmer's Weekly over the decades. Good thrifty sound cooking.

    Neutral
    Delia- good form and results, but a bit like being verbally abused by a dominatrix (apparently) Orders! not guidance
    Nigella- She would be thumbs down for expense and lah-di-dah frou-frouness but her margarita ice cream saves her from damnation

    Thumbs Down
    James Martin- TV Chef, I'm sorry fella, but some limp recipes, and a few photos of you looking uncomfortable in wellies holding piglets isn't going to break you into the Jamie Oliver market.

  2. #2
    Should Get Out More go_slow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Big surprise for me was jamie olivers book, jamie at home. I really really didnt like the bloke, but some of the recipes he did on the programme and the ones in the book are really good. I'm still not overly impressed by him but I will be buying the next jamie at home book.

    Floyd - his books are always good, his one on india - in my mind - is second only to Mahadur Jaffery in terms of authentisity, and an interesting read also. I'm slowly building up the complete collection.

    My 1973 copy of the joy of cooking, has all the basic recipes in it you could ever want including loads of good info about food - the meat cuts etc. Cost me a £1 and its been a great source of recipes over time.

    Gotta second the The Women's Institute books, got a good collection of them, cheap to buy, good recipes, brilliant no mess no frills easy to cook good food.

    Thumbs down to woldgang puck, overly complicated recipes, some hard to find ingredients, a book done more to impress people with how good he is rather then to be used - a coffee table book if you will.

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    Should Get Out More Spliffyaid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Camila Punjabi for indian recipes
    Last edited by Spliffyaid; 28-06-08 at 20:19.

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    Should Get Out More go_slow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Spliffyaid View Post
    Camila Punjab for indian recipes
    Good a place as any to post this.

    Punjabi Chhole (Chickpeas) « A Mad Tea Party

    Some brilliant recipes on that blog.

  5. #5
    Should Get Out More moth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad



    Elizabeth Luard - authenticish French traditional recipes

    Michel Roux - A certain je ne sais quoi. Flair, passion. Or summat

    Keith Floyd - how can you not love the old pisshead?

    David Thompson - Proper Thai cookery




    Rick Stein - victim of his own hype

    Just about every other celebrity chef

  6. #6
    Should Get Out More Editor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    On the kitchen shelves:

    Mastering the Art Of French Cooking-Bertholt, Beck & Child.

    IMO just about the last word on it.

    2x Nigel Slater

    Madhur

    David's French Provincial

    Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian

    Thane Prince Quick Cook

    Sainsbury's Cooks Companion by Jocelyn Dimbleby-IMO the 'best' single volume reference to everyday stuff.

    Pick from the Shelves under the Stairs (cookbooks only)

    Jamie's stuff-can't really train under the River Cafe lot & fuck it up. Reads well & what I've tried works.

    Assorted Delia. Can't really have the Good Housekeeping write your original recipes & fuck it up. Occassionally referred to, but not much.

    Raymond Blanc & Sophie's Meat & Veg (crumbs-how severe does our little elphin look back then?!)

    Ken Hom's Hot Wok

    Ainsley (there's a twat in my kitchen) BBQ book. IMO as good as if not better than Floyd's. See below though.

    A few Australian Women's Weeklies-mexican & BBQ are the most thumbed.

    Sugar Club & Bill Granger's Sydney Food.

    My favest from there: Memories with Food at Gipsy House-Felicity & Roald Dahl. Mainly because I adore Roald Dahl-& it's lovely & whimsical.


    Worst Cook Books.

    Dunno-most books have something of worth in them. Can't say that I've ever cooked much out of the Mossiman one's I have. Don't know why that might be. Moth-convince me otherwise. I think a lot of those supermarket recipe cards are a touch dodgy & some of the recipes in Waitrose Food Illustrated read through as untested.

    Less than sure about the fatman's daughter too, but that could just be prejudice of some kind centered around peristent rumours that her recipes don't work.

    Feck-I think I chucked my Floyd on India during a move. Still makes me chuckle though-hand scribbled illus of a meatball followed by one of 'this is a bullet'!!

    NB No fish books (except Stein somewhere). Recc me one please. Ah, I'm sure I've a copy of Susan Hicks Fish Couse somewhere.

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    At Work yambabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Dunno about the supermarket cards but I have a set of cards that I bought by mail order in the early 80s, one of these partwork things where you get another set each month on approval and pay for them if you like them. Fills 3 fat ringbinders and has been invaluable throughout my cooking life.

    Also have a ringbinder full of various ripped-out-of-magazines recipes that have taken my fancy from about 1985-present.

    Have a version of Jamie O's first book that was doing the rounds as a freebie on the net a few years ago, use that a fair bit.

    An ex-library-book of veggie recipes by a woman called Janet Hunt, some good ideas in there.

    Also the Good Housekeeping Book of Chocolate is well-used! I've a couple of other Good Housekeepings that I use occasionally too, their Chinese isn't actually too bad!

    Don't really have any bad ones, if I don't like them or don't use them I tend to give them away. Never got on with Delia, or Nigella, and wouldn't gibve either of them shelf-room again.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Jamies Italy is one I use on a regular basis, as well as his first couple of books...

    Got a few of antonia Carluccios books, but usually only 2 or 3 decent recipes per book ( his bread & desert ones are great), and Contaldo's first book is good..

    Looked at that Chinese made simple (on telly last night) but seemed to be an inordinate amount of ingredients for quite simple dishes...

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    Should Get Out More Reburner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    If i could only have one of my, many, cookbooks it would be this.


    As a writer I really like Ken Hom and Nigel Slater as well. My best recent purchase had been Locatelli's book. Lots of stuff about growing up in Italy which is a good read

  10. #10
    At Work TooFamousRob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    More as an entertaining read than a pure cooks book:


  11. #11
    At Work herriwullie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Who was looking for a FISHY book- Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's (and Nick Fisher's) book on fish and cooking is excellent, very good ideas to get your head around. I've been Gurnard-ing because of those two guys, a lovely bit of fish.


    Carluccio's Mushroom book is great, great recipes and actually a fantastic identification guide. If you're armed with that and Roger Phillips fungi identification guide (pub by Collins I think) then you're well on the way....



    (Almost forgot about Madhur Jaffrey, she's great. So's Ken Hom)

    I was picking over a 1970's Reader's Digest 'country cooking' type book recently which was very good. Was a bit drinken so I didn't get the details.

  12. #12
    Should Get Out More Editor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Quote Originally Posted by herriwullie View Post
    Who was looking for a FISHY book
    Me-thank you!!

    Was that the letterbox format RD book?

  13. #13
    At Work herriwullie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    Me-thank you!!

    Was that the letterbox format RD book?
    I 'think' it was this one.... on eBay the the moment


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    Should Get Out More Mr Rooty Tooty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    Quick after work curries" Pat Chapman.

    When it comes to satisfying BIR style curry (ie about as authentic as a Bombay Bad Boy) this fella knows his stuff. Usually I have to fuck around with recipes to make them taste nice, but every one I've made out of this book has been cracking right off the bat. Does use odd stuff like pesto, mint jelly, horseradish and dijon. The Pathia is great

    I've eaten some shit curries in my time. There was a company round my way selling "authentic" curry kits that comprised a handful of the exact same four spices whichever recipe you bought (pre-dessicated and left out in the sun for months beforehand, apparently) with a packet of red salt. In the interests of avoiding such simulcra I bought this, since it doesn't even purport to be faithful. It's my favourite book.

    "Kitchen Heaven" Gordon Ramsay

    Usually books will dumb down recipes, healthify them or fail to be sufficiently explicit in their instruction in order to appeal to the broad swathes of lazy readers who are invariably trying to watch their weight. And this usually that means I have to fuck about with the recipes to make them good (by adding butter). This book is pretty helpful and the recipes within are joyfully unhealthy, by and large. Ramsay also appears to have the pallate of a meths fuelled 40 a dayer, which equates to entire bottles of Worcester sauce flying in and tomato sauce with everything. This I like.

    I really liked "The Wiseguy Cookbook" by Henry Hill.

    Now, I have to qualify this. It's more useful for it's tips than it's recipes. The ones I've made have been average, but I suspect I know why.

    I think that it's the shit quality of the core ingredients that I source that has the effect of debasing the recipes, since they seem delightfully provincial. For instance, I can't get San Marzano or La Valle varieties from fucking Asda, Morrisons et al and when you're making a sauce with a tomato base that's pretty much the defining factor.

    Soon as I can get nearer a Waitrose, Marks or a decent deli I'll retry. Stuck in Stinckley though I've no chance. Oh, and the guy writing the book is Henry Hill. You think Floyd is an engaging narrator? Who the fuck has he ever whacked?

    I also have "Classic Conran" which is fucking ace

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    Should Get Out More Mr Rooty Tooty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cooks Books! good and bad

    David Thompson - ordered

    Cheers Moth!

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