Books for home cook

Discussion in 'Cookbook Reviews' started by shovi, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. shovi

    shovi

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    home cook
    Hi all,
    I'm sorry if this subject has been talked about before, I looked at up and didn't find an answer.
    I want to buy a book or two about cooking, not necessary recipes but something which will teach me and will be fun to read. Since I love science I was recommended to buy The Food Lab, but I also heard about The Flavor Bible and The Professional Chef.
    Is there suggestion from the above, or other book, for what book to buy?
    Thank You
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    The professional chef is not what would recommend. For science, try On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. This is more about ingredients and techniques and the science behind what happens with those things. No recipes to speak of.

    Shirley Coriher wrote Cookwise and Bakewise. These two books are more specific to recipes and the science that makes them work.
     
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  3. scott livesey

    scott livesey

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    At home cook
    I would recommend an early edition of "Joy of Cooking" where they go into the why's as well as the how's. the earlier editions also include such essentials as how to prepare a squirrel or possum for supper.
     
  4. brulo

    brulo

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    Home Cook
    Can I hijack this post for a moment to ask for advice?

    I want a couple of books similar to what the OP requested but that also also easy to carry around.

    I have the McGee and the Food Lab, both are really cool but are massive in size, those are books to read at home.

    I would like some books to carry around and read here and there, maybe some with stories from kitchens, advice from professionals, history and whatnot.

    What do you think?
     
  5. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Cook At Home
    Are you looking for recipes? Concepts? New ideas? History? Pro terminology?

    In a portable book (not counting Kindle and such) you'll get two of these at best.
     
  6. brulo

    brulo

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    Home Cook
    I'm an amateur cook about to start cooking school, love to try techniques, recipes, learn random facts.

    Maybe I could use some reading about the industry, stories from the kitchen, I'm pretty sure some renown chefs would had written some cool books on that matter.

    Or maybe something about techniques and good explanations...

    Basically, if you read a cool book related to gastronomy and can be carried around in a backpack, feel free to recommend it!
     
  7. The Nosey Chef

    The Nosey Chef

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    Home cooks
    This is an endlessly open question, and much depends on where you are in your cooking journey, and what styles of food you like to cook. I can only describe the way I went about it.

    I got a love of cooking about 20 years ago when my wife and I moved into the first house we had with a usable kitchen. I wanted to preserve my own family's tradition of Sunday dinner (which in England is a roast), and the only way that this was going to happen was if I cooked it.

    So, given that Sunday dinner was the primary target, I got a copy of a book that focused on British classics. It happened to be Gary Rhodes' New British Classics. Fast forward, and I decided to try vegetarian Italian stuff (my wife was a vegetarian at the time), and got Ursula Ferrigno's Truly Italian. In both these cases, I was not buying a book with a hodgepodge of all sorts in it, I was focusing on one cuisine, and learning a few recipes from it. Ferrigno's book was the first one I cooked from front to back, and I learned a lot of basic skills like risotto, building soups, getting pasta right etc. For French, I looked to Raymond Blanc as a Frenchman cooking in England with access to British ingredients.

    Fast forward again, and I wanted to really learn stuff and develop my own dishes. For that, I use a core library of Larousse Gastronomique for general recipes, French food and authenticity, I use Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire for ideas (cooking from that takes some effort), Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique for techniques and basics, Anna del Conte's Gastronomy of Italy for Italian, and finally I cook a bit of stuff from the Roast Chicken and Other Stories series by the well-regarded British chef Simon Hopkinson (those books are written according to ingredient and season).

    Of those books, the Simon Hopkinson ones were actually a good bedtime read because that and his Week In Week Out are actually columns from the UK's Independent newspaper. The Roast Chicken books are the books I would 'carry around' as they are small paperbacks and a great read.

    Finally, there is the Internet. I uses this to work out how to do specific things. The most reliable sites for me are BBC Good Food (for ease) and Serious Eats (for furiously researched amazing stuff). Chef Steps is good for working out Sous Vide timings. Ian Haste's Haste's Kitchen and Simon Quilter's Food Busker YouTube channels are also inspiring places to get ideas. But the Internet changes all the time, so these things come and go.