books for cooks

finally i’ve gotten around to making a list of the cookbooks i most often frequent (see list in next column, ‘food for thought’). i’ve been meaning to do it since the lovely lucinda listed her fave cookbooks here a while ago.

the edmonds cookery book which is my most thumbed thru, crumbed, floured, splattered and dog-eared will win no awards for layout, design or photography, but it wins hands down for practicality and function. it has little useful tips printed at the bottom of every page like ‘avoid overmixing muffins and gems as this produces peaked rather than rounded tops and a tunnelled rather than even texture’ (oh, so THAT’S why they always tell you not to mix muffins too much), and has conversion tables and guides to oven temps and settings for cooking various types and cuts of meat, grains, cakes pastries etc etc. i don’t think there is anything left out of this book! it encompasses breads, cakes, biscuits, sponges, icings, pastries, meats, fish, chicken, breakfasts, salads, sauces and dressings, party foods, puddings, and even jams and jellies. i particularly love its kitschy ‘international dishes’ section, which has such stereotypical gems like beef stroganoff for russia, bouef bourguignon and coq au vin for france, chicken chow mein for china, pizza for italy (one of the best dough recipes i’ve found), and yes, fondue for switzerland : )

the other thing i love is how my mum has made notations on some of the recipes she used to cook for us when i was little (tellingly, all in the ‘puddings’ section : ) ): fruit crumble – ‘yummy!’; fruit sponge – ‘declicious!’; rice pudding – ‘delicious!; steamed sponge pudding and upside down pudding – ‘yummy!’.

the things i cook from this book mainly tend to be cakes and other sweeties, but i often use it for reference to check out temps and guides and basic recipes and methods. the book itself is well-known for it baking sections because it began its long life as an addendum to edmonds baking powder: ‘sure to rise’. some of my fave recipes from this book:

– butter cake
– lemon sour cream cake
– rich christmas cake (this is a great recipe, much better than nigella’s! )
– sultana cake
– light-as-air sponge
– fruit sponge

in otehr news, i can’t wait to get my hands on ‘mes confitures’. hurry up amazon! the jam cupbaord is depleting at an extraordinary rate and must be replenished!

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7 thoughts on “books for cooks

  1. oooh, thank you!
    I’ve been thinking for sometime that I need Nigella (or do I just need to *be* her?)
    I saw Nigel Slater’s book in the book shop the other day, but put it back thinking ‘I really don’t need another book about cooking.’ Might have to rethink that now!
    I’m a fan of Jill’s, too. I have New Food (what a great wedding present that was!) but have not got Old, Simple or Very Simple.
    I’ve never done Bill, but should consider it. My sister in-law is a fabulous cook (she makes everything look so easy and taste so great) and loves him to bits.
    Your mother’s pre-loved book sounds like a treasure. How wonderful if one day you are able to pass it on to the next generation, should Max or Lola are that way inclined in the future 🙂

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