I know you’ve been waiting for this so I culled through my favorite books and will share with you first my reference selections. I’ve included my basic reference materials as well as one vegetarian book which serves as a reference for me. Selections are ordered by author and title with comments from moi.
Reference Cooking Books
Author: Beard, James
Note: Out of print. Available on Amazon, including collectibles (just don’t take them all as I give them as wedding gifts!). This is a unique book that really teaches newbies how to cook because it concentrates on techniques rather than individual recipes. Learn to braise and what to braise or saute… and you’re only limited by your imagination and your guests’ palates.
Author: Child, Julia
Title: The Way to Cook
Notes: I prefer the hardcover because it lays flat on the counter. This is a great book for its contents and photos. What can one say about Julia, who came into our kitchens on PBS? Or James Beard, another American icon.
Author: Kafka, Barbara
Title: Roasting-A Simple Art
Publisher: William Morrow and Co.
Notes: When you only cook a whole turkey with stuffing once a year, this book will tell you how to cook it. Many instructions are given for fast roasting and slow-roasting along with temperatures for every done-ness. Ms. Kafka cooks and tests and writes incredibly well and this is a welcome addition to any bride and groom’s gift list.
Author: Kaufelt, Rob
Notes: This is a fun one for me because I’m getting to know some of the UK cheeses as well as French and Greek and Italian. And US and Canadian and Mexican, of course!
Author: McGee, Harold
Notes: A scientist in the kitchen. Now I can answer arcane questions my husband, the physics major, throws at me. What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? My answer is that powder brings its own acid to the party and one needs to add lemon juice or other acid to soda to get the party started and bake your cookies or corn bread.
Author: Rombauer, Irma and Becker
Notes: Years ago a farmer gave my roomate and I a Hubbard Squash. Ms. Irma told us we could use a sledge hammer to cut it. I’m sure husband Jim would use a chain saw. We let it sit on our urban apartment’s counter for six months then tossed it in the trash. But if you have a question on anything, this is the book to have.
Author: Schneider, Elizabeth
Publisher: Harper and Row
Notes: Lately my husband’s been off on vacation and perhaps once a week I let him come grocery shopping with me. I usually lost him all over the place, usually by ice cream or batteries. Now he’s in the produce section looking up the strangest fruit he’s ever seen. Lately it’s been star fruit and Pummelos. But if you find a kumquat or lemon grass Ms. Schneider will tell you where it’s grown, its season, what it’s used for and how to tell if it’s fresh. Then she’ll give you several recipes. Her Lemon Grass Seasoning Paste is a winner for grilled salmon or chicken!
Author: Madison, Deborah
Title: The Savory Way
Category: Vegetarian, Reference
Notes: I was a vegan for a short while and I’m in no way a vegetarian now but this book is fantastic, from white beans to parsley pesto. It’s definitely a buy and a keeper.