This post is a shamelessly stolen idea from Lambs Ears and Honey blog this week because I love doing lists of stuff where I am required to agonisingly choose just a few things from a much larger list, like the one where you have to choose 5 foods you would take with you to a desert island. Posting up a 5-only-cookbook-wish-list is like throwing down the gauntlet!
Just like most avid cooks and many avid eaters I love receiving cookbooks as gifts and for at least the last two years I have received exclusively cookbooks as gifts for Xmas (and many birthdays). I have a fairly good range of what I think of as general cookbooks - those that give a broad range of recipes covering the whole meal of entrees, mains, desserts. I also have a smattering of many of the cuisines I enjoy such as Thai, Vietnamese, Italian (never enough of those for me), Indian, Middle Eastern etc although there are some holes in my library such as Greek.
Because I have a collected a reasonable range of books I am becoming rather more picky about which ones I buy than I may have previously. I also feel that I can start to buy books that are more specific (eg those that focus on one kind of dish such as soups or salads) or don’t have recipes as such but are reference books (like food dictionaries) or are about the history, politics or the science of food, especially as I haven’t taken any formal courses in gastronomy - maybe one day.
It pays to be a bit choosey and sit down with the ones you like the look of (especially if you can sit and have a coffee while you do it) and have a really good flick through. Often, and especially this time of year, they can be more style than substance.
So here are my 5 top choices of food related books I’d like to receive this Xmas (or any time right up until I get them :)):
1) Saraban by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I haven’t picked this book up in person but as soon as I saw the Maloufs were publishing another I knew I needed to own it. Amanda gives a rundown of how lovely it is. Their last book, Turquoise, is a major hit with me. I have cooked nine dishes from that book and each one has sent me to taste heaven. I also love their first book (or at least the first I bought) Moorish (my copy is falling apart). I have all of their others but haven’t yet done them all justice.
2) Plenty by Ottolenghi (I may have mentioned wanting this on my blog recently) which focuses on vegetable recipes. If their first book Ottolenghi is anything to go by the recipes should be amazing combinations of flavours and textures. It comes highly recommended by many food bloggers.
3) Salades by Damien Pignolet. I really need more salad ideas – I don’t give them enough attention. This last winter I have really discovered the winter salad filled with bitter and substantial leaves and shaved vegetables which have drawn me back to the salad as something worth bothering with. I have French, his first book in which I found the recipe for the best chocolate cake ever (Eve’s Chocolate Cake)! Salades is another lovely looking book too with it’s simple and brilliant white cover and red tomato stamped in the centre.
4) Terrors of the Table is “an absorbing account of the struggle to find the necessary ingredients of a healthy diet, and the fads and quackery that have always waylaid the unwary and the foolish when it comes to the matter of food and health.” Sounds like great bedtime reading!
5) Eating Between the Lines. “Rebecca Huntley embarks on an inquisitive tour of the nation’s food courts, supermarkets and suburban kitchens – and uncovers some startling trends. Join her on a thought-provoking trip through the deep-fried, sun-dried, cold-pressed world of Australian eating.” Another book that sounds like an absorbing holiday read!
Oh and I also had my eye on the Italian Food Safari which I received on the weekend as an early Xmas present from my buddy, Belinda (thanks!).