In looking over this list (which I had no intention of being 10 but has happenstance would have it….) I realize most of these cookbooks were given to me. Fannie Farmer was first introduced to me when I lived with my friend Martha in Toronto. I fell in love with the simple always successful recipes and the encyclopedic range of it and to this very day use it as a both a reference and for its excellent basic recipes. The well warn copy above was given to me by Neil’s parents as a birthday gift about a year after we had been living together. The Joy of Chocolate was given to me by my friend Roberta when I still lived in Toronto – it brought me much pleasure then and still does. The Lenzer Torte is a classic recipe that has been part of my repertoire forever and never ceases to impress with it’s nutty chocolate cake and sour cherry combo. Add a little mit schlag and people think you have been cooking all day when in reality this is a very quick and easy to make cake.Neil gave him Yehunda Meni’s classic Indian vegetarian cookbook Lord Krishna’s Cuisine as a way of dealing with keeping kosher – I decided to be vegetarian. For a decade I cooked from this book weekly – it’s an amazing book filled not only with great authentic recipes and lore, but a tremendous education in Indian culture and history. My friend James who I used to work with at A Different Light bookstore and who was briefly a roommate of ours gave me this cookbook as an anniversary present to Neil and I – needless to say it really was a present to me – and it was an excellent one – filled with no fail tasty recipes this was the first cookbook fo this dynamic duo before they went on to TV fame. A classy collection that I stil use and consider a must own.Ruth and Rose the queens of simple Italian food (that cost a fortune at their restaurants) but none the less taught me how to make risotto and focaccia and so much more. I now own three of their books.Hot Sour Salty Sweet came out to much fanfare – a beautiful coffe table book that also had amazing recipes. I was hooked – which didn’t take much as it was at this time I was traveling to SE Asia a good deal and this made it possible for me to make at home all the meals I had been eating in Thailand, Lao PDR and Cambodia. It also introduced to many other people who had never been to those countries the joys of their cuisines. Even if you never cooked from this book (which would be criminal) it is endlessly beautiful with spectacular photographs of exotic far away lands.Ah Alice this became my new Fannie Farmer and as you can tell from the look of it I use it nearly daily. If you only own one cook book – this is it.David Tanis now works for the Times and has two excellent cookbooks out – he was the chef at Chez Panisse for many years (he was doing 6 months on and 6 months in Paris – good life eh?) I like how he sets up his books as dinner parties and how simple and delicious his recipes are.Chanterelle epitomize fancy high end dinning in New York for well over a decade. Pastry chef Kate Zukerman in her wonderful book The Sweet Life gives you the very accessible recipe for you to recreate some of that glamour right in your very own kitchen. I love this last book and have already written tons about it – all I can say is that I can’t wait to buy Ottolenghi’s book Plenty (all vegetarian recipes) next.
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