Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Cookbooks: the Interim Edit

Well that was fascinating!
Who knew that cookbooks were so important to so many of my blog-pals?!  You did?
I thought you would be interested to see the Interim Edit:  these are the survivors of my first attempt at imposing order.  These are the books that for one reason or another I am not ready to lose... some of them are definitely "keepers".
So what have we got here then?
In stack order (not indicative of relative importance):

The Greens Cookbook: this is actually FL's copy, but I don't suppose he remembers!  I see that later editions have pictures, and that can only be an improvement as this edition is rather hard going with tiny print and lots of text.  I don't cook much out of here but it's a book I used to borrow from Brixton library over and over again:  fond memories are attached to this one.  I like reading it!

New Food For Thought: A revelation to me at the time (1994) this was the first British vegy cookbook I came across which used "modern" vegetables (i.e. imported items such as plantains, sweet potatoes, aubergines, baby corn etc) in a light and refreshing style - so there is lots of what you might call "fusion food" in here.  After the first Food For Thought cookbook (coming up soon), with its reliance on root vegetables and heavy bean-based "bakes", this was delightful! 

Sophie Grigson's Country Kitchen:  This is a book I turn to for everyday meal inspiration, especially when we receive a "gift" from the gamekeeper. So not vegetarian (!) but full of lovely photographs of sun-lit plates in rural settings.  And the only cookbook I own which uses the Sweet Cicily from my herb garden!

Moro:  Mine is a first edition hardback, but I think I have linked to the same content.  I paid full price for this when it was published.  Tapas, North African tagines, sumac, pine nuts, chorizo, smoked paprika - it's all here! And the chocolate tart is.... words fail me!  Mmmmm.

The Kitchen Revolution:  A bit of a monster really.  Not a picture in sight.  Lots of prescriptive lists and convoluted instructions.  But I keep coming back to it for solid, hearty carnivorous crowd-pleasers.  I can see it will be on its way out on the next edit, but it is staying for now.

Moro East:  Take the Moro chef and give him an allotment in Hackney and what do you get?  Moro East.  Lots of "back to the land", "grow it yourself and cook it on an outdoor grill" ideas.  I haven't used it much but it fills me with nostalgia for East London (oops!) and the wonderful mix of cultures and cuisines that is absolutely missing from North East Scotland.  Oh lord, I miss the Cypriot corner shop so much!

Falling Cloudberries and Apples for Jam are stunningly beautiful books.  I could live inside them.  The recipes are kind of beside the point... but the white bread recipe is the one I always use.  These are keepers.  (And they were stupidly cheap from The Book People - maybe £3.99 each?)

Muffins Fast and Fantastic:  what it says in the title.  If I need to bake something, it is usually from here, unless I have to make a "big cake" in which case it is from my copied-out recipes for lemon cake or chocolate cake both from here) or gingerbread (from my aunt).

Food For Thought: good old-fashioned vegetarian cooking with beans and nuts.  Lots of casseroles and "bakes", but fabulous for one-pot family meals with interesting sauces.  Leek and Butter Bean Dijonnaise is a staple in my repertoire.  This is my second copy of this book after an unfortunate encounter with the hot hob.... but it was falling apart and needed replacing anyway!

Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home:  mostly vegetarian with a few fish dishes.  The first time I saw fish baked "in a packet", as popularised by Jamie Oliver!  More fragrant, herb-enhanced everyday family cooking drawn from many cultures but without too many hard-to-find ingredients.  This is by far the most frequently-used book in my library!
N.B. Amazon has the title wrong but the cover image is of the right book.
Veganomicon:  Quite a recent addition, and I still have a lot to explore in here.  Some of the recipes are very American and I get frustrated when I can't find the ingredients.  But I already have some go-to favourites in here:  Chick Peas Romesco is a regular, and I love the quinoa with pineapple and peppers and mint and basil and lime... and all the other things that are in there and ought not to work but just do!

Not pictured:  Wharf Street Vegetarian Cookbook  is a pure piece of nostalgia. Leeds in the 1980's.  Lovely illustrations.  I was there.   Nuff said!  Indispensable.

Late Edit:  In response to commenter Karen I have to confess to owning another cookbook which is definitely staying :  Slow Cooking:  Curries and Spicy Dishes.  Well spotted Karen!


Marie said...

I'm a bit of a cookery book hoarder too! I too have Moro East, but I haven't used it as much as I'd love to, due to the difficulty of finding some of the ingredients. When I open it up I always wish I was still in Cyprus, where I would find everything I needed easily and it would taste so earthy and fresh!

Twelfthknit said...

I have four or five Billy Bookcases dedicated to cook books. I will not be parting with them, even the ones I would probably never use...I am a hoarder and I am trying to get rid of the rubbish...but the books are staying :0)

Paola said...

RE Falling Cloudberries and Apples for Jam...I have Tessa Kiros' Portugal cookbook, Piripiri Starfish. I keep it on the coffee table with my coffee table picture books. The photos are beautiful.You're right, the recipes in her books are beside the point.

Cazz said...

Going to have to follow suit and blog my favs too. It's my Mum's birthday this week and I loved the sound of the Morrow recipe book, so I hunted down a second hand hardback. It'll be late, but I think she'll love it. Thanks Roo for sharing your cookbooks.

Gail said...

I didn't get a chance to comment yesterday, but my first thought was, "Ha! Amateur!" I have probably 80 cookbooks at the moment, down significantly from 125+ I had before we moved. When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, cookbooks were my reading of choice!

These days I have most of them in storage, but I keep the ones I use frequently in my kitchen. And the most frequently used of those are the Moosewood cookbooks: Cooks at Home, Lowfat Favorites, New Moosewood, Moosewood Desserts and my newest and most favorite, Simple Suppers.

I also use Anna Thomas' New Vegetarian Epicure quite a bit, and kept her two previous books as well (Vegetarian Epicure 1 & 2).

And thanks for reminding me of Crescent Dragonwagon, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Toronto in Canada,

There is a novel "The Cookbook lover" by Allegra Goodman, that you might enjoy.

Your blog is really a fun read and sewing inspiration. Thanks for writing it.

China Doll 003

Karen said...

Don't throw out your copy of Slow cooking Curry & Spice Dishes - I bought it after you mentioned it in your blog a few months ago and I use it ALL THE TIME! Thanks for the recommendation!

Linda C said...

One of my favorite cookbooks is GOOD THINGS by Jane Grigson, mother of Sophie. It is a real good read, and that seems to be a similarity in the cookbooks I love. Another couple of books I love are HOME COOKING and MORE HOME COOKING by Laurie Colwin. It's funny- I didn't care for her fiction but the cookbooks, that's another case. A lovely person -I wish she was still with us to write more cookbooks.

Roobeedoo said...

Karen - I won't! Oh my goodness, I found it on the windowsill and it is definitely staying! :D

Roobeedoo said...

China Doll 003 - I have that book! I was just thinking I shoudl read it again. I love the characters in it :)

jo90 said...

I tried some e-cookery books on kindle and found them really frustrating. I couldn't flick through them properly, was worried about splattering all over the kindle and then the damn thing kept going to sleep! I say the only thing that needs to go is guilt about having the books. I read my cookery books for fun not just to select a recipe. (By the way Isa Chandra Moskowitz vegan cupcakes take over the world is great).

Scruffybadger said...

I cant believe that I have a pile of veggie cook books, and none of those you have above! In fact it is prob only the spicy slow cook book that we share...I've lots of Cranks veggie books with their Fast Food being my absolute fave, but my first veggie cookbook - Sarah Brown....
Like the idea of fast muffins, will add that to my book list :-)

shivani said...

I eat a mostly veggie diet (some fish, but I can't eat anything that I could potentially cuddle!), so I'm defintely going to check out some of these titles. I must admit to having a growing collection of cookbooks, some of which I don't think I've ever cooked anything from but I keep for decorative/dust-gathering purposes (Sophie Dahl, I'm looking at you!). Thanks for the Moosewood tip - I'm off to investigate further!