I’m often asked if there are any cookery books I find myself going back to again and again so I thought it was time I shared my recipe book collection with you. I’ve been on a declutter mission this month and I’ve whittled my bookshelf down to just the ones that I’d whole heartedly recommend and know I’ll still be using in years to come. We’ve all had a poor recipe book, right? There are none here, I’ve sent them packing.
2. Ad Hoc at Home. The author of this cookery book, Thomas Keller, is a food god. His restaurant The French Laundry has set the bar for classic french cuisine but he strays from that in this book, bringing nothing but good hearty home cooking.
3. Food DIY by Tim Hayward talks you through curing meat, smoking just about anything, making your own bread, infusing alcohol… I have a to do list mounting up from this book!
4. I bet there has been a Bero book in your family at some point. Matt’s Nan gave one to me not long after we’d met and I instantly recognised it as something my Nanna and Mum both used. All the staple flour based recipes; scones, bread, pastry…
6. Michel Roux’s Eggs is a must have when we have free range hens. There are so many classic recipes inside, from perfect poaching to serious chef dishes. It was published 8 years ago so you can pick this up for a bargain but I imagine it will still be the definitive reference for a long time.
7. Thai Food by David Thompson. The only Thai recipe book you’ll need.
8. Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals. Do you have one of Mr Oliver’s books at home? It wouldn’t surprise me if most of you do!
My favourite books to read aren’t recipe books though, they’re books about the history of food, how we came to love the combinations that we do and why things work. Tid bits like that are often sprinkled in to cookery books on intro pages but I always want more and that’s what these 3 recommendations offer. Let’s call them food background books.
2. The Language of Food by Dan Jurafsky is hands down the most interesting book I’ve ever read. The amount of research that has gone in to it is phenomenal. Each page is packed with aha moments; like when you finally understand why we ‘toast’ to special occasions or how fish and chips came to be. Maybe one day these things will come up on a pub quiz and my team will win, but if they never do, it’s still really cool to know. The author finally put to bed my pet peeve of 2014 too; the repeated misnaming of macarons (the meringue like french pastries) and macaroons (the coconut things your Nan probably made). The press got it wrong constantly, I spotted it misspelt on packaging in supermarkets more than once and each time, the food lover inside of me died. Read this book, know the difference.
Of course there are still plenty I’d love to get my hands on, I spotted Nigel Slater’s Appetite amongst the recipe books at Tesco recently for £9 and it took some will power to walk away from. I think it is partly down to the awesome cover, but I love his laid back approach to food as well. Maybe that’s one for the wishlist. Do you have any cookery books on yours? I’d also love to know if you have any ‘food background’ books that you’d recommend. Matt bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas so I’m on a reading frenzy!
This post was written for Tesco. It’s always worth checking their cookery book aisle for a bargain if you are in store.