Sunday, April 17, 2011

In praise of cookbooks

Now playing on the iPod - "Orchestral Suite #1 in C" - Bach

I love books and I love cooking, so it's probably no surprise that I love cookbooks. I've got two full shelves of them, and most of them have seen tour of duty in my kitchen.

They come in a variety of styles. Some have no photography, just line illustrations. Some cover a variety of cuisines. Others are partial to a region (France, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Mexico). Quite a few are from places I've been, from Lake Tahoe to Disney World. One is a self-published compilation of family recipes that I helped put together about 10 years ago, which I still refer to often. And there's a Betty Crocker cookbook so old that there's no mention of balsamic vinegar, which I drag out whenever I need to remember how long to bake a potato or want to make sugar cookies.

I've recently begun singing the praises of Cook's Illustrated's Best International Recipes cookbook. So far everything I've made from this book has turned out wonderfully. I've made tabbouleh, couscous with raisins and almonds, Swedish meatballs, and tonight, drunken beans (which paired up well with tequila lime chicken). Cook's Illustrated's cookbooks are lacking in "food porn" photography, but who needs that when you've got such good (and easy!) recipes. Yum. Their Cover and Bake cookbook also is the source for some of the best mac and cheese ever.

Go on, buy a cookbook today and make yourself something tasty. Or buy a cookbook for me and I'll make you something tasty.

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