Posted by: edibleplanet | December 16, 2009

Recipe books

At last count the number of recipe books that fight for a place on the shelf in the kitchen is thirty. Then there are some down in the drawer that occasionally get used and two folders of recipes printed out from the internet or scribbled on bits of paper that are regularly used too. I found out just how often I use our eclectic recipe book collection the last time we shifted house when a very helpful friend packed them up for me a week before we moved saying something like “I doubt you’ll need these in the next week.” It was actually great as it made me realise I use these books all the time and that week was quite hard!
Sure not every book every week and I go through phases but there are only a few lurkers on the shelf that don’t get pulled down regularly. It is hard to say which is my favourite as I use them all at different times for different things. We have Mexican, Italian, African, Middle Eastern, Alison Holst’s bread book, and a smattering of celebrity chefs like Rick Stein.
A book that is too big to fit on the shelf is the Culinary Institute of America’s cook book. It has to sit under the coffee table. Being designed for helping learner chefs, its recipes are all for restaurant amounts but it is such a great book to refer to when doing anything basic as there are always good tips that just make that pan fried fish extra tasty. We also have Ian Hemphills Spice Notes and Glynn Christian’s Real Flavours – two fabulous reference books for checking out ingredients and how best to use them. Glynn Christian deserves more press here than he gets I reckon. An amazing New Zealander who has done so much in the UK and is so enthusiastic about food.
It seems everyone has a different attitude to recipe books. Some prefer not to use them at all but I like them, even if sometimes it is just get inspiration to make something else.

– Fiona


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