Repost from: July 29/2016
Books have always held sway over me. They have had a magic that is different than the internet for me in terms of finding information. Maybe its my age.
Regardless, I thought I might share with you some of my favorite food and beverage books. The ones I am about to discuss are all pictured above between my spicy sauerkraut bookends. Don’t worry no sauerkraut was wasted in the making of this picture – one was given to a generous friend and the other is waiting for me in the fridge.
Let’s work from left to right.
Cooking By Hand by Paul Bertolli
This book is poetry and love of food from a former chef at Chez Panisse. His chapter on tomatoes is worth the price of the book. The Tomato Tart with Raisin Syrup has to be tried to understand the beauty of his insight in to food.
The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dorenburgf
Whenever I am stumped on which direction to go with a recipe, this is the book I often turn to. Describing the ingredients in so many ways I find the attempts at finding a common language to describe food admirable and in depth. There are also some menu suggestions and recipes from some pretty great chefs.
Herbs & Spices:The Cook’s Reference by Jill Norman
Such a beautiful collection of photos and resources on so many cooking ingredients! Well organized and easily used with some tasty and interesting recipes in the back. It’s my main resource on herbs and spices – although I do have at least a half dozen others that are decent.
Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant and Kate Leahy
This book came into my collection years after I had started pickling and preserving but the ideas, techniques and measurements made it a must have. The black walnut and maple butter is on my hit list for a must make preserve this year. This book also introduced to aigre-doux, a sweet and sour style of preserve.
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz
If you are into fermenting and want to dive deeper – get this book! He has an earlier book called Wild Fermentation that is also great, but not nearly as in depth. Sandor is considered the head honcho when it comes to fermentation across North America. A look inside this book will show you why.
Speed Brewing by Mary Izett
This book has only been in my collection for about three weeks but already has me buzzing with praise and a need to brew once the summer heat starts to disappear. It’s not just beer either – cider, mead, kombucha, soda and more!! There is a recipe for a strawberry peppercorn short mead on my list that I’m excited to make for my girlfriend who doesn’t like beer (okay. also for me.) I was worried it was gonna be gimmicky but it got a thumbs up from Garrett Oliver – the author or the Oxford Companion to Beer and the owner of Brooklyn Brewery so that was enough for me.
Take It With You Guides – Indian, Asian and Latin & Caribbean Grocery Store Demystified
Okay so this is three separate books but they are all super valuable in discovering new foods. I once showed the Asian Grocery edition to a chef that had in depth knowledge on the topic – you know the type that has traveled lots and seems to have answers to all a young cooks questions, and he asked to borrow it! After that the other two seemed no brainers. Recipes, brand suggestions and some history and culture lessons thrown in too!
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner
I used to work weekends on an organic farm and traveled by bus. One day I had a couple of hours to kill and went for a beer and through the beer and brewer discovered this book. It has been eye opening to me regarding the potential ingredients for beer. This book also makes it clear that beer we drink now is quite different than what we used to drink. It also changed my perspectives on why people have consumed alcohol in the past – also for often different reasons than today. If you are feeling adventurous and make the chicken ale – please send me your tasting notes.
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
Another wealth of information in a fun and tasty format. Insight into some of your favorite tipples that you might not have known and inspiration to explore some you don’t. Almost as fun as a bedside book as a recipe book and since cocktails have enjoyed a renaissance, this book should be your guide.
Edible Wild Plants by Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman
Foraging is something to benefit many cooks and this book would be a boon to any forager. Divided into seasons with a handy legend on the side of each listing and some pretty solid photos this book makes me want to go outside and find something in the woods for dinner.
Any books you think are a must have in a cooks library? Let me know!