My good friend Rami recently posted on his great blog Hummus Boy about his recent clear out of little used or outdated cookbooks. This set me thinking about my own collection....and I warned him that I would shamelessly steal his great idea for my own blog, so here I am! I recommend reading his post first, though, if you haven't already...
I've been collecting cookbooks for years and years. And unlike Rami, I am incapable of thinning out the vast numbers, however sorely it needs doing. I keep them all. From the 1980's decadence (and, lets be honest, ridiculousness) of Antony Worrall-Thompson's Menage a Trois cookbook (yes, it's a signed copy....yes, I ate there...yes, I left hungry, although not poor as my first boss was paying!) to the 1970's splendour of Graham Kerr's Galloping Gourmet...I've never cooked a thing from it, & keep it purely for sentimental reasons as this wonderfully entertaining man was one of my first crushes (blush)....
I have great classics: Robert Carrier, Elizabeth David, Patience Gray, Florence White, Marguerite Costa, Delia (of course).
I have ancient books handed down from my great-great grandfather,Robert, my great-grandfather, Walter & my dear grandad, Keith - all of whom were bakers. These include 'All about Gateaux', German patisserie manuals like 'Praktische Konditorei-Kunst' (Practical Cake & Confectionery Art) printed in 1913 (still useful today for decorating inspiration!) and my treasured copy of 'The Complete Confectioner or The Whole Art of Confectionary, Made Easy with Receipts for liqueures (sic) home-made wines &c' printed in London in 1808.
These jewels sit alongside frankly ridiculous volumes such as Food & Friends by the late, great actress Beryl Reid (?) & the 'No Cook Cook Book' complete with fab 1960's line drawings of useless women opening tins (badly!)
So, you see - my tastes are wide-ranging, eclectic & perhaps not discerning enough in some cases. But keep them I must.
What books do I actually use? Well, setting aside those I've mentioned in this blog already, and obvious ones like early Nigella, Ursula Ferrigno, Susan Branch, Peter Gordon, Madhur Jaffrey, Claudia Roden (well, they're obvious to ME anyway!!) I've picked some other favourites in use a lot of the time:
I'd love to know your particular favourite (s) too....such an interesting subject, I think!
have a great weekend xo
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