Chasing the perfect cook book

Joined Jul 24, 2001
Since we have this discussion with suggestions regarding careers and since most of us owe hundreds of cooking books I wonder...

After reading and using so many cook books what do you really miss?
Do you think that there is something that none, until now, has accomplished in his/her book?
Joined Jul 31, 2000

Chasing the perfect cookbook? I don't think one exists.

That's why so many of us spend so much money on these binded wonders we call cookbooks.

Maybe I would like to see some of the finest writters team with some of the worlds finest (not most famous)chefs to compile a tomb of the worlds ethnic cuisines and there cultures.

Somehow to be developed with a common thread that's holds the whole thing together without being to eratic.
I would like to see each chapter prefaced with a story from the chef and a bio from the writer on his/her experience in writing.

If need be because of sheer volume perhaps it could be a stagered release of books over a period of time. But not one on lets say Asia and the next on Europe and the next on the Americas, but a cross section in each volume.

I find when reading many cookbooks I get board if they are just recipe based publications, there has to be (for me anyway) a sense of history and culture to help me become more intune with what I am reading and then hopefully cook and share.

Not sure if this makes sense,but that's my thought.
Joined Dec 4, 2001
A chef friend was once asked for the recipe for something he had put together for lunch. Of course there was no recipe - he had just made it up at the time. He said, There are no new recipes any more. There are just variations on a theme.
I think what he was really saying is that existing recipes are used to springboard to another idea and thus the face of food continues to change.
That being so, cookbooks by those talented (not necessarily famous) chefs are really just a snapshot of what is new at that moment in time. Ergo, there will always be a market (need?) for new cookbooks.
And long may it remain so. :bounce: :bounce:

Joined Apr 19, 2001
Do you think also, that techniques/dishes that were once almost considered 'mistakes' are now something yummy? IE, picture a platter of gloriously roasted, charred veggies - if my mom had put something like that on the table in the early '50's, my dad would have taken us all to the new McDonald's down the road!

Or the technique for using, high, high heat to sear or roast; as a kid learning to cook with Grandma in the 50's, I don't think she ever had her oven above 350!
Joined May 18, 2001
It seems though that a lot of our so-called new techniques are really old techniques being rediscovered. I'm currently translating parts of a 95-year-old French cookbook and much of it comes across as being very modern and current — even though the author probably had no refrigerator, cooked on a coal-burning stove, and used ingredients that today would be considered inferior.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Interesting, Bouland - hmmmm, the coal stove probably means he charred a few things along the way, too! I've cooked on a coal stove (during my hippie-dippie commune days!), and it's no easy feat!
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