Last year when I started writing my blog again after my baby was born I added a page to which I was going to write what books I was reading and add a review of those particular books. However as I look rather embarrassingly at the list, I am sad at the fact there are only 4 books listed on it! How pathetic when I have hundreds and hundreds of books!! Especially because on average I probably go through about 5 a month (whether it’s just flicking through them or sitting down and properly reading them). So I have made a firm resolution to myself that I will try harder to add more books to my list!! I can’t promise full reviews but sometimes it’s nice just to see the variety of cookbooks people have. As I use them I’ll try and write something just to give a little more insight with some trusty feedback!
If I’m being honest cookbooks really are an obsession of mine (which is what makes it even more frustrating that I haven’t got more books on my “What I’m Reading” page!). I would happily spend hours in a bookshop scouring over the cookbooks (which I have been known to do on many occasions, especially one of my favourite shops – Books for Cooks in Notting Hill). Whenever someone is stuck for ideas for Birthday or Christmas presents I always eagerly suggest vouchers so that I can buy myself some new books. Yes, despite owning hundreds it is always cookbooks that I want to buy and I am always just as excited to receive them as I was with the first few. (My 'wish list' currently has about 15 books in it!)
This Christmas I received three new books as presents – Ricardo: Meals for Every Occasion by Ricardo Larrivee; Vij’s at Home by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij (both books by Canadian authors/chefs) and How I Cook by Skye Gyngell (UK author and chef). On top of that since my New Year’s resolution is to buy at least one book a month I treated myself and got off to a good start by ordering a few more books that came out last year that I still had to get – Entertaining at Home by Rachel Allen, Jamie Does.... by Jamie Oliver, Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson and Tender Volume II, A Cook's Guide To The Fruit Garden by Nigel Slater.
Suddenly just like that I have added an extra 7 books to my already extensive cookbook collection (or library as it should really be called!). As I was waiting (pretty much by the front door) for my books to arrive I started to think about what I would consider some of my favourite cookbooks. Nearing an impossibility since I love so many of them I was thinking about what makes me love a cookbook.... is it the delicious sounding recipes that have me leaping into the kitchen, or the glossy perfect photographs that accompany them....or is it little stories and anecdotes that make the book? Probably for me it’s primarily the recipes followed very closely by the photographs. I know a lot of people just like text books but I can’t help but love reading a recipe word for word and gazing appreciatively with mouth drooling and tummy rumbling at the beautiful pictures. Also from a different standpoint I think having photographs really helps you understand the recipe as you can see what’s it’s meant to look like, even if your version doesn’t quite work out like that! A definitely helpful tool in the kitchen, especially for beginners.
So what I would like to know is, what are your favourite cookbooks? I would love to hear and if you have time let me know why you love that book (or books) so much? Is it one particular recipe that you like or several that you use? Is it a new book or a book that has been handed down to you and has been in the family for years? And while we’re here, are there any cookbooks that you have bought or been given and just hated? Maybe the recipes just didn’t appeal or you tried some and they were a disaster? Please let me know, I would love to hear!
(For a list of what's on my bookshelf this month, check out my 'What I'm Reading' page)