"Must Have" Cookbooks?

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My list: The Whole Beast Nose to Tail Eating, Momofuku Cookbook, The French Laundry Cookbook, Dessert Fourplay, The Joy Of Cooking, Happy In The Kitchen
 
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Surely you're not gonna just let us hang, ChefBoyarG. Why are those particular titles on your must-have list?
 
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Nose To Tail Eating because it's such a simple approach to much neglected foods. I'm not saying I would eat everything he provides a recipe for (I have no interest in eating fish semen), but he does make a strong case for most of those iggly squiggly bits. I enjoy the humorous and light hearted descriptions of the dishes as well.

Momofuku, because it is a little bit of insight into the man known as David Chang and his cuisine.

The French Laundry Cookbook for inspiration and motivation.

Dessert Fourplay for the same reason as the French Laundry Cookbook but well, for dessert reference.

The Joy of Cooking because it seems to contain a recipe for nearly everything in creation. And then 2 or three spins on that particular recipe.
 
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FWIW, essence is a good blend (not as much a fan of the Italian blend). However, I usually add 1 tbsp of garlic salt and increase the cayenne to 1.5 tbsp. I like food with a little more salt and a little more spice.

I don't want to get off topic too much, so I will say that I got a copy of Larousse Gastronomique off of eBay a couple of days ago for cheap. Can't wait to get it in and dive in. Also found my old copy of Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen in a box from when I moved a few months ago. I had forgotten that I had it. Louisiana Kitchen  has to be one of the greatest regional American cookbooks ever. Not that I have a huge amount of experience with regional American cookbooks, but this particular book is an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to Cajun and Creole food. I would suggest everyone check it out if they haven't already.
 
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Anyone interested in Louisiana cuisine should also check out Cajun and Creole Cooking with Miss Edie & The Colonel. Not so much for the recipes, which tend to be samee-same and often boring, but for the extensive historical and cultural background that makes these cuisines what they are, and the approach they take to cookery.

How many cookbooks have you seen, for instance, which recognize that cajun and creole are not the same, and define the differences? This one does.
 
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Does anyone know of a Cook book that teaches basic cooking techniques?

From things like sauteing and which ingredients are used for basic dishes.
 
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So the Joy of Cooking, is it just a recipe book?

I am mostly looking for a book that teaches cooking techniques.
 
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"The Joy of Cooking has always been a very important book. When it was first published, it made a great impression on American cooking. It is, and should continue to be a staple in any good culinary collection because Irma's voice is there with you in the kitchen giving guidance and encouragement and friendly tips and reminders. The why's and how's are carefully explained, and that's what makes Joy a fundamental resource for any American cook!"

-- Julia Child, June 2004
 
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The Bread Bible by Rose Beranbaum

La Cuisine by Raymond Oliver

And Time/Life cookbooks: Cooking of the Viennese Empire and The Cooking of Spain and Portugal as I happen to just like their recipes.
 
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The books I keep going back to are:

Joy of Cooking - for all the reasons stated earlier

Rick Stein's Complete Seafood - recipes are good, instructions are clear and the pictures are very helpful

Vij's at Home by Meeru Dhalwala & Vikram Vij.  They are a married couple who run two restaurants (Vij's & Rangoli) in the Greater Vancouver area .

I got this book last Christmas and have made several recipes from this book and everyone was tasty.  The recipes range from easy (Steamed Marinated Halibut) to a little more advance (Celery Root and Bulgur Wheat Koftas), but none of these recipes should be beyond a home cook.
 
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I must be in the minority, but I use Bittman's How to cook everything a couple time a week. It's losing its cover and covered in every cooking liquid out ther from use. I love it for its practical uses, similar to the Joy of Cooking which I also use.

   I also have Keller French Laundry and Ad Hoc. These are more for inspiration, allthough Ad Hoc is a bit more approachable.

I have the CIA proffessional chef book as a reference tool as well.

But I have to say, I do love my Good Eats, early years and middle years.

My mantra is   "Keller inspires me, But Alton taught me how to cook".
 

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