When I was around 15 or 16 years old my dad noticed that I was showing some interest in food and cooking. I’m not sure if it was a Christmas or birthday gift but my dad gave me the cookbook that sent me over the top on my culinary journey; James Beard’s “Theory and Practice of Good Cooking”. When I first started cooking I was into roasting birds, roasts and hearty soups. James Beard’s instruction and cavalier opinion on how these fundamental things should be cooked have highly influenced my culinary opinion. I do find his recipes to be a little vague at times but I think his expertise was such that it was difficult to write to most cook’s skill level. I think I write my recipes the way I do today because I want the reader to fully understand why and what I’m asking them to do with my recipes.
James Beard’s Theory & Practice of Good Cooking
James Beard’s American Cookery
Over the last 15 years I have really gotten into grilling and smoking. I have been through many grilling cookbooks. I have found most to be bland, unexciting and geared towards the housewife’s pantry that consisted of curry powder, cream of mushroom soup and dried fried onions.
One day at Sam’s Club I found the The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen. “Wow! This is perfect.” I bought the book and it has brought me great pleasure and influenced my style and recipes. I love the way the author categorizes his recipes and methods. The barbecue bible is just that, a bible. The recipes are for the adventurous and not shy about the heat level on some dishes. I particularly like the Asian recipes with awesome marinades and dipping sauces. Steven Raichlen did very well to maintain authenticity in the recipes; I highly recommend his books.
Planet Barbecue! ISBN 9780761148012. 2010.
Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)
As an early teen I remember watching PBS cooking shows like “The French Chef”, “Yan Can Cook”, Justin Wilson‘s “Louisiana Cooking” and , of course, “The Frugal Gourmet”. These shows were way ahead of the food network with a much more intimate setting. The pioneers for cooking on television. “I gar-on-tee!”.
Frugal Gourmet (1984)
Cooks with Wine (1986)
Cooks American (1987)
Cooks Italian (1993)
The Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Lo Pinto 1958
This is a no nonsense cookbook with not one picture. The recipes are quite simple and authentic though with several variations offered on many recipes.
This book is a must for all home cooks and chefs. If you have a question about food or cooking; you’ll find the answer in this book. This is not a cookbook but a anthropological journey through food and cooking. I would call this the “Chef’s Reference”!