Tuesday, October 14, 2008

General Thoughts on Cookbooks

I love to read cookbooks and have quite a collection. In future entries I will discuss many of them, but here I want to stress the importance of good editing. Many cookbooks with a famous provenance, particularly those purportedly written by famous chefs, have appetizing recipes that don't work (or at least not for me). Others, by unexpected authors, are fantastic, and the recipes almost always produce great results. I always try to make a point of looking carefully at some of the more basic recipes (like coq au vin, apple tart and basic vinaigrette in the case of French cooking) before buying a cookbook and seeing whether the techniques, ingredients and tools required are reasonably available and simplified (but not too much) for home use. I find that technical illustrations and good pictures of the final product are very helpful. Careful pre-screening is by no means foolproof, but should avoid the worst mistakes. When I have failed to do it, as when I discovered an alluring title on line, I have often been disappointed.

Bobby Jay

1 comment:

Ordinary Servant said...

I'm interested in hearing more about these delightful surprises. I know that I've certainly enjoyed listening to you speak about cooking, recipes and food, so I'm very excited to be able to read more on the topic in your blog! I'm really glad you are doing this.