Stocking the Foodie Bookshelf

Epicurious caught my eye with one of the oldest headline tricks in the book today. The old “top items list” stratagem. This time it was Top 20 Essential Wine Books.

I don’t even care particularly about wine and I felt compelled to look. Sure, it might be my love of all things bibliocentric but it’s partially because I love Top Ten Lists, Top 20 Lists, “Best of” shows etc. Imagine my glee when I saw that they had put this post together as a sequel or response to one from last week (while I was still on tidbit hiatus) called The 20 Essential Cookbooks. Now, I know our own Fabulous Foodie has strong feelings on the top cookbooks, the must haves etc. So I was thrilled to see this and look forward to what Fab has to say.

  • American Cookery (1996), James Beard
  • Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico (2007), Rick Bayless
  • Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (2004)
  • Classic Indian Cooking (1980), Julie Sahni
  • Complete Techniques (2001), Jacques Pepin and Leon Pererr
  • Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (1995), Marcella Hazan
  • How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food (2006), Mark Bittman
  • The Joy of Cooking (2006), Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
  • The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook (2003)
  • Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts (1999), Maida Heatter
  • Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook (1999), Martha Stewart
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One (2001), Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
  • The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Techniques and Recipes (1996) Barbara Tropp
  • The New Food Lover’s Companion (2007), Sharon Tyler Herbst
  • The Oxford Companion to Wine (2007), Jancis Robinson
  • Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood (2004), Rick Stein
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook (2007), Sheila Lukins and Julie Rosso
  • The Thrill of the Grill: Techniques, Recipes, and Down-Home Barbecue (2002), Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
  • Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (2007), Deborah Madison
  • The Way to Cook (1993), Julia Child

My own view: I was SHOCKED to see Nigella’s How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food not among the list (it’s frankly one of the best BOOKS over all in my opinion much less cookbook) but equally shocked to see the 2006 edition of Joy of Cooking. Not that the 2006 Joy is a hideous edition (that would the 1997 edition) but it’s certainly no 1975 edition, widely considered to be the best. I will say with complete prejudice however that the index for the 2006 edition is the best index of any edition produced to date. What? I said with complete prejudice. Can I help it if a project lands on my desk?

What books do you think belong on the foodie shelf? Cookbooks or otherwise.

4 thoughts on “Stocking the Foodie Bookshelf

  1. Am I the only mutant who loathed the 1970s version of Joy of Cooking? Too mired in the past to use newer foods and too self-consciously health-conscious to stand by older recipes, it was a muddle all around.

    Mind you, my favorite version is from the 50s, for a very simple reason – that’s what Mother cooked from, so using it is literally cooking the way Mother used to.

  2. I love my mom’s edition as well – the cover has long since disppeared but it is a lovely light blue color and the bright red marker ribbon still intact.

    I just recall how HIDEOUS the 97 edition was and how everyone flocked back to the 70s version

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