My 10 Favorite Cookbooks

IMG_2269In 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.IMG_2272Neil 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. IMG_2271My 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.IMG_2273Ruth 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.IMG_2278Hot 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.IMG_2274Ah 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.IMG_2270David 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.IMG_2279Chanterelle 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.  IMG_2275I 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. IMG_2277

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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One Response to My 10 Favorite Cookbooks

  1. Pingback: Curried Caramel Popcorn | Urbanfoodguy

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