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Desert island cookbooks

steveandsarah, Jan-7-05 06:44:49:
OK, so you're stranded on a desert island; which five cookbooks would you want to have with you?

(Oh, um, this desert island happens to have a fully equipped kitchen.  And there's a gourmet grocery store, run by monkeys, so you can buy whatever ingredients you need.)

Mine (this is Steve) would be:
- The Joy of Cooking (the new version; no jello molds for me)
- Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan
- Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons
- Appetite, by Nigel Slater (food porn!)
- Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni
perrin, Jan-10-05 23:33:54:
I'll bite...

- "The New Best Recipe" from Cook's Illustrated.  It's the first place I look.
- "The Quick Recipe", also from Cook's.  This might be pointless on an island with plenty of time for slow bolognese recipes though.
- "All Around the World" by Sheila Lukins.  I fell for this one years ago.  It has zero authenticity, but is full of good recipes that avoid standard American fare.
- "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman.
- "The Silver Palate" by Lukins and Rosso.  Cooking from this one brings back memories of trying to learn how to make things when I was on my own for this first time.

But I would also want my folder of random printouts, magazine clippings, and hand-written note cards, because that's where a lot of my best ones reside.
caglepc, Jan-14-05 19:34:50:
New Joy of Cooking
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison)
Invitation to Indian Cooking (Madhur Jaffrey)
Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
River Cafe Cookbook
laura, Jan-17-05 00:43:56:
I'm with Perrin on "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman and "The Silver Palate" by Lukins and Rosso (for sort of the same reason on this last one)

I'd add "Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts"
Diane Kennedy's "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico"
and the "Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook" by Alice Waters
sarahjane, Jan-22-05 13:08:57:
I'm not sure I can add much new, but it's interesting there's so much overlap.

Mine, in order are:

1. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan (in fact, I think I could be happy with just this one).
2. Joy of Cooking, 1975 edition.
3. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
4. The Best Recipe
5. The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden (good recipes and good reading)
willandleah, Feb-2-05 15:29:13:
Wow, a general store run by monkeys?? Sign me up!

Okay, what would I need?

1. Appetite by Nigel Slater, if only to gaze at the food porn longingly
2. How to Eat by Nigella Lawson, because how else would I make the best soup on the island?
3. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, since it's so comprehensive and good, although I might need some monkey sous-chefs to tackle some of the recipes
4. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, since it really is so satisfying on every level
5. I have difficulty with the most "basic" cookbook; I used to love Fannie Farmer, but I feel that Marion Cunningham ruined it when she revised it in the 80s; I've never been a "Joy" fan; and Mark Bittman and I are still getting to know each other.  So I'd have to say either a Fannie Farmer published before 1950, just like my mum's, or How to Cook Everything.  Maybe The New Basics by Lukins and Rosso.
steveandsarah, Feb-7-05 16:29:49:
I (this is Sarah) decided to tackle this issue more literally (my excuse: I've just been teaching _Robinson Crusoe_ and am hopelessly caught up in the televsion show, _Lost_, so I've actually been thinking about surviving on desert islands recently which naturally involves much consideration of what I will be eating...).

My first instinct was that I would would gain comfort and sustenance from some of the grandes dames of Anglo-American food writing--Elizabeth David, M.F.K. Fisher, Jane Grigson--but, especially given I don't actually own books by any of these eminent ladies, this seemed a bit precious given my plight.  Restricting myself to books I actually own, then, I must concur, first of all, with Leah's choice (and I feel sure it is Leah's choice, not Will's, despite Nigella's undoubted gourmand's-crumpet status) of Nigella's _How To Eat_.  I have to say I really don't cook all that much from this book, but I probably read it more than any other cookbook I own.  It is companionable reading, which I think would be what I would crave.  On more practical note, I think Fergus Henderson's _The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating_ would come in handy.  In fact, the only way I'll attempt the majority of recipes in this book will be if I am stranded on a desert island, and desparate enough to consider a recipe like "Warm Pig's Head."  Food for the soul would be Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's _The Physiology of Taste, Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy_ trans. M.F.K. Fisher, which I could finally get round to reading; it would also bring back fond memories of our wedding ceremony.  For more nostalgia, I'd turn to _Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course_, which I don't actually own, but I can picture each dog-eared, stained volume from my Mum's kitchen so vividly, that I feel it counts.  Finally, and most honestly, it would be, yes, _Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking_ by Marcella Hazan, the book to which we find ourselves turning most often week in, week out (in the last couple of weeks alone we've made bolognese meat sauce; chicken fricassee with porcini mushrooms, white wine and tomatoes; olive oil cake; and polenta shortcake with raisins, dried figs, and pine nuts: all delicious). I'm beginning to look forward to being stranded... 
willandleah, Feb-12-05 02:05:30:
Mmmmm.  Gourmand crumpet... 

If we are including companionable food writing, I would want to lug along some Robert Parker, just so I could read about "leathery" wines with overtones of pepper.



susanandrowell, Feb-25-05 02:52:25:
I guess there is a lot of overlap:

1. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
2. The new Joy of Cooking3. The Gourmet Cookbook
4. Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop (assuming the monkeys stock good parmesan and olive oil)
5. Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham (you've got to make her gingersnaps, I'll post this recipe when I get a chance).


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