Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

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Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by Pixie » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:22 am

Recipe readers are always talking about how cookbooks are like novels, and there’s a clue here to how we actually read them. Like a short story, a good recipe can put us in a delightful trance. The Oxford English Dictionary defines fiction as literature “concerned with the narration of imaginary events.” This is what recipes are: stories of pretend meals. Don’t be fooled by the fact that they are written in the imperative tense (pick the basil leaves, peel the onion). Yes, you might do that tomorrow, but right now, you are doing something else. As you read, your head drowsily on the pillow, there is no onion, but you watch yourself peel it in your mind’s eye, tugging off the papery skin and noting with satisfaction that you have not damaged the layers underneath.

I was contemplating the nature of cookbooks while reading William Sitwell’s new book, “A History of Food in 100 Recipes.” It is an agreeably humorous romp through the history of food, divided into a hundred standout moments. It starts with ancient Egyptian bread—a recipe found on a tomb in Luxor—and ends with “Meat Fruit,” a recipe for liver parfait dipped in mandarin jelly and shaped to look like an orange, written by the experimental British chef Heston Blumenthal.

Article continues at link: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-tur ... ng-recipes
This is exactly how I feel about reading cookbooks and recipes! I get as much pleasure from it as if I were reading a novel!!

This guy really hit home for me!!! Anyone else????

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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by Pixie » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:49 pm

:lolh: I guess I am the only cookbook reader! :embarrassed:

:wave:

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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by falvegas » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:45 am

Not really, Pix, but there's a transition one goes through during the learning process, reading endless cookbooks until you master your personal skills [takes time].

Later on the more credible cookbooks in your library become a general 'Reference', because often favorite recipes have become committed to memory, some replaced because you found a better way, ways to improve, incorporate better & healthier ideas. And there are those cookbooks one learns over time to stay away from; no author credibility, no traceability to Testing, too many obvious errors, and so on.

I accumulated just over 200 Cook Books over the years; my son now has about 75% of them. They are so full of notes entered to improve a recipe, enter alternatives and substitutions, to make corrections, and add clarifications.

Today it's difficult because out there we have a marching army of what I refer to as 'Celebrity Chefs' ...they're not really seriously accredited chefs, they are more in the category of great cooks, often merely good cooks, or own their own restaurant or 'Just Happen To Have The Right TV Personality' and can somewhat cook.

But the Cook Book Libraries remain critical to one who loves to eat good food, and loves to cook their own food, especially those books that have Stood-The-Test-Of-Time; NY Times, Julia Child & Simone Beck, Thomas Keller, Paul Bocuse, Culinary Institute, Bon Appetite, Williams Sonoma, Martha Stewart and a dozen others with proven credibility....and there's the Ole Standards which one should always have in their Library; Fanny Farmer, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes & Gardens etc. and there's the modern publications by Food & Wine and other notable food magazines ...and when new to an area, the local 'Community League or Church' will often have credible Historical Recipe Publications to find out what the culinary preferences are in an area.

One must be cautious of the increasing super-modern Food Publications, many saturating the market with what I call 'Creative Swill' , Chefs throwing just about anything together to be different, and because of some sort of notoriety, push it on the market for $, and $ only. There's a lot of crap cookbooks out there, some look very fancy, many very expensive.

For sure, I never use on-line or televised recipes, goes back a long way, I was burned a few times. The Library of Credible Cook Books is the best culinary friend one can have.
Last edited by falvegas on Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by falvegas » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:48 am

Of the 200+ cook books I accumulated over many years, maybe 60 to 70 % of them were a good investment. At least I learned my lessons early on.

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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by ConsrvYank1 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:10 pm

falvegas wrote:Of the 200+ cook books I accumulated over many years, maybe 60 to 70 % of them were a good investment. At least I learned my lessons early on.
Did you ever attend and or graduate from a culinary school?

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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by falvegas » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:08 pm

ConsrvYank1 wrote:
falvegas wrote:Of the 200+ cook books I accumulated over many years, maybe 60 to 70 % of them were a good investment. At least I learned my lessons early on.
Did you ever attend and or graduate from a culinary school?
I didn't, I became a Systems Engineer on Aerospace, Energy, and Defense Programs.
SO, cooking was more than a hobby, it became a daily essential. Considering, if one is going to prepare 700 to 900 meals a year, one should as a minimum become pretty good at it, NO?

A close friend of mine is a Chef [Culinary graduate], and there is no way in hell I could ever hold a candle to him. The functions he performs in the kitchen by auto-reflex, seamlessly, and what's in his memory data base on-demand, I have to stop and think about, often it taking me about twice as long.

There is one benefit when I cook...I enjoy it. After all, if we can't enjoy whatever we do, we shouldn't be doing it.

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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by Pixie » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:27 pm

falvegas wrote:Not really, Pix, but there's a transition one goes through during the learning process, reading endless cookbooks until you master your personal skills [takes time].

Later on the more credible cookbooks in your library become a general 'Reference', because often favorite recipes have become committed to memory, some replaced because you found a better way, ways to improve, incorporate better & healthier ideas. And there are those cookbooks one learns over time to stay away from; no author credibility, no traceability to Testing, too many obvious errors, and so on.

I accumulated just over 200 Cook Books over the years; my son now has about 75% of them. They are so full of notes entered to improve a recipe, enter alternatives and substitutions, to make corrections, and add clarifications.

Today it's difficult because out there we have a marching army of what I refer to as 'Celebrity Chefs' ...they're not really seriously accredited chefs, they are more in the category of great cooks, often merely good cooks, or own their own restaurant or 'Just Happen To Have The Right TV Personality' and can somewhat cook.

But the Cook Book Libraries remain critical to one who loves to eat good food, and loves to cook their own food, especially those books that have Stood-The-Test-Of-Time; NY Times, Julia Child & Simone Beck, Thomas Keller, Paul Bocuse, Culinary Institute, Bon Appetite, Williams Sonoma, Martha Stewart and a dozen others with proven credibility....and there's the Ole Standards which one should always have in their Library; Fanny Farmer, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes & Gardens etc. and there's the modern publications by Food & Wine and other notable food magazines ...and when new to an area, the local 'Community League or Church' will often have credible Historical Recipe Publications to find out what the culinary preferences are in an area.

One must be cautious of the increasing super-modern Food Publications, many saturating the market with what I call 'Creative Swill' , Chefs throwing just about anything together to be different, and because of some sort of notoriety, push it on the market for $, and $ only. There's a lot of crap cookbooks out there, some look very fancy, many very expensive.

For sure, I never use on-line or televised recipes, goes back a long way, I was burned a few times. The Library of Credible Cook Books is the best culinary friend one can have.

:yes: Williams-Sonoma, Martha Stewart, Paul Bocuse, Thomas Keller, Fannie Farmer, Joy of Cooking, Americas Test Kitchen (I can't live without that one!!!!!).

No home should be without Joy of Cooking this is the most essential cookbook for a beginner. If you can only afford one cookbook that should be the one.

Now, for me personally, if I could only keep one of my cookbooks, if for some reason I had to give up every cookbook but one, I would keep Americas Test Kitchen. I have NEVER had one of their recipes go wrong... now, I know you have been the most generous friend in sending me FABULOUS cookbooks that I have said I wanted for whatever holiday but the cookbook that is my "go to" any time I am looking for a fool proof recipe is Americas Test Kitchen. Please don't hate me! :lolh:

Now, I cannot find every recipe in Americas Test Kitchen so believe me when I say I use the cookbooks you have sent me... but, my safety net is Americas Test Kitchen.

I agree 100% that you have to be so careful of the TV cooks... so many of them have HORRIBLE recipes. :noparty: I can't remember which thread but somewhere in this forum I list several whose recipes stink! :embarrassed:


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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by tattulip » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:25 pm

I never found The Pioneer Woman's recipes to be very good.

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Re: Recipe Readers! A Rare Breed!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Post by falvegas » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:21 pm

The NY Times Cookbook - Craig Claiborne
This is my standard cookbook for most Gourmet Meals along with several of Julia Child & Simone Beck’s Baking and Culinary Classics Cook Books. Had these 30 years or more. Few of these recipes have ‘short cuts’, tend to be quite involved [especially Julia Child] but they’ve never faltered, always come out perfect.

These Books along with a small handful of others have stood the test of time, cover almost all of the important classics, and have never faltered in their recipes & procedures.

For more recent trends and concoctions I’ll often buy ‘Food & Wine’ or ‘Gourmet’, 'Bon Appetite', magazines, but one needs to be careful, try to determine the pedigree of a recipe.

For Baking [where I need all the help I can get] I resort to Julia Child and William Sonoma.

Then there’s the Specialty & Regional Cookbooks e.g. I have several from New England, Chesapeake Bay, New Orleans, California, and The Southwest. I have some old James Beard cookbooks [from before he died in 1985] I use for mostly US Heartland Recipes.

All the other books are mostly 'Specialty' like BBQ, Seafood, Louisiana, French, Italian, Spanish/Mexican, Indian, Oriental, Healthy, Breakfast etc..... Many are the 'Mini-Cookbooks' from William Sonoma.

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Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:43 am

tattulip wrote:I never found The Pioneer Woman's recipes to be very good.
I like her a lot but I don't think I have ever made any of her recipes.

I don't like Rachel Ray's recipes. Some of Ina Garten's recipes are good some are not.

Giada deLaur.... whatever has a GREAT chicken stew recipe but that is the only one of her recipes I have ever tried.

Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence and Guy Fieri have exellent recipes although if Bobby Flay doesn't move on from the pomegranate juice soon I am going to have to label him stale.

:lolh:

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Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:46 am

falvegas wrote:The NY Times Cookbook - Craig Claiborne
This is my standard cookbook for most Gourmet Meals along with several of Julia Child & Simone Beck’s Baking and Culinary Classics Cook Books. Had these 30 years or more. Few of these recipes have ‘short cuts’, tend to be quite involved [especially Julia Child] but they’ve never faltered, always come out perfect.

These Books along with a small handful of others have stood the test of time, cover almost all of the important classics, and have never faltered in their recipes & procedures.

For more recent trends and concoctions I’ll often buy ‘Food & Wine’ or ‘Gourmet’, 'Bon Appetite', magazines, but one needs to be careful, try to determine the pedigree of a recipe.

For Baking [where I need all the help I can get] I resort to Julia Child and William Sonoma.

Then there’s the Specialty & Regional Cookbooks e.g. I have several from New England, Chesapeake Bay, New Orleans, California, and The Southwest. I have some old James Beard cookbooks [from before he died in 1985] I use for mostly US Heartland Recipes.

All the other books are mostly 'Specialty' like BBQ, Seafood, Louisiana, French, Italian, Spanish/Mexican, Indian, Oriental, Healthy, Breakfast etc..... Many are the 'Mini-Cookbooks' from William Sonoma.
That is one of the cookbooks you sent me, the Williams-Sonoma Baking cookbook and it is my FAVORITE baking cookbook!!!!

Their recipes are fabulous!!!!

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Post by falvegas » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:58 pm

I shouldn’t have wandered from Pixie’s original Post which centers around Sitwell’s “..Schoolboyish sense of the absurd”,

And understanding that I haven’t read his stuff, I pretty much come from the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to Cook Books – with me it’s more analytical - a never ending search for improved culinary taste and presentation. Not just ‘new dishes’ but the quest to improve the ‘The Standards’ without going whacky.

BUT It seems that at least Sitwell was Honest [and I like that]…..
“he has done something in this book that is highly original and not absurd at all. At the start he gives us a “note on the recipes,” which explains that he does not actually expect us to cook from them. They are not “triple tested,” he confesses.”


There are those who may get their Jollies from this type of writing, I must confess that I likely wouldn’t be one of them….probably I’d be over-reaching to find ‘Humor’.
I mean, after all; we’ve all made Asparagus Hollandaise, but the writing goes:
" As they come from the garden, scrape them and cut them equally; seeth them with water and salt. Take them out, as little sod as you can, it is the better, and set them draining. Then make a sauce with fresh butter, the yolk of an egg, salt, nutmeg, a small drop of vinegar; and when all is well stirred together, and the sauce allayed, serve your spargus."
AND
“Poach the skinned peaches in vanilla-flavoured syrup. When very cold arrange them in a timbale on a bed of vanilla ice cream and coat with raspberry puree.
There are many mysteries here: What is a timbale? And how do you make a vanilla-flavoured syrup? If Escoffer tried to clear them up, the recipe would be easier to use but less intriguing. And part of the pleasure of recipe-reading is the feeling that you are about to discover a great secret.”

I agree, what in hell is a Timbale….could be just a shallow baking dish or an actual recipe like a Custard or Souffle like dish or any creamy mixture baked in a Mold.



At least there appears to be some element of humor to the writings, and maybe a bit of questionable - worth historical presentations but I wouldn't know what to do with it.

But most certainly, interesting

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Post by Pixie » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:59 pm

Well thank you for reading the article. The article and the book are meant to be humorous. The book takes you on a journey through the history of cooking and cookbooks.

It is not a cookbook it is a book on the history of cooking and recipe writing.

I enjoyed it very much and I enjoyed the article on the book as I found both writers intriguing.

The imagery of the book was powerful and funny I thought.

I realize there are few who enjoy reading cookbooks as they do novels. I find reading cookbooks more enjoyable than novels. In particular as I get older. I find most novels today trashy.

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