3 New Cookbooks to Enjoy
I've been gifted three new cookbooks and I'm so excited. Is there anything more satisfying than receiving a new book? As much as I love going to the library and checking out books, owning them is a singularly different experience. And cookbooks at that. Their weightiness (cookbooks are almost always hardback only), the imagery (which seems to be getting more and more artful and lustworthy, and of course the excitement of endless possibilities of meals therein.
Excellent food photography is really important to me in a cookbook. I'm not a super close reader of recipes, I like to play around a lot with my ingredients and take most recipes as a suggestion rather than a command, so photos help me to have a clear idea of the direction I'm headed when I start out on a cooking endeavor.
I also need to like the author, chef, personality behind the cookbook. We live more and more in a personality driven world, and now when I pick up a cookbook I like to know the person who wrote it. I've been getting to know Melissa Clark for years through her recipe contributions to the New York Times. Often the recipes I liked most were her's or Mark Bittman's. Melissa started doing videos to accompany her recipes and I got to know her even more through those. She has a really fun, funny, almost saucy approach to cooking and explaining why she does things. Sometimes I just watch the video and go straight to cooking without even reading the recipe because the videos are fantastic for technique.
Gwyneth Paltrow has been a non-cooking personality for a long time before she had a cookbook. I really like her approach to cooking, its very relaxed, and this latest book is really about having good ingredients and putting them together. Plus, she has some beautiful photos and it really creates an ambiance around the food. Food is not in isolation, its part of a lifestyle, and in this way we are participating in a type of lifestyle when we use this cookbook. I like having a context for the recipes, it makes opening up the book even more of a joy.
Finally, Elisabeth Prueitt, pastry chef and co-owner of Tartine. I don't know a lot about her, but I have a sense of the book as being a deeply personal story. I didn't get the first Tartine book because I am realistic about the fact that I am much more a cook than a baker. Baking is too precise, you can't wing it as much, and you can't play around as much with ingredients. It was nice to see that Elisabeth Prueitt has this book out to share the non-pastry chef recipes. Plus the local connection (Tartine is in the Mission) makes for a nice way in to the book.
Here are the three books in no particular Order:
It's All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow - really looking forward to simple delicious recipes and opening this cookbook for inspiration. I like the idea of finding new ways to combine the wholesome quality food I buy at the Farmer's Market. This will keep me out of healthy food recipe rut.
Dinner by Melissa Clark - I could literally open to any page in this book and be ready to cook. Melissa has a lot of Asian influenced recipes, which I love, and a really clean approach to cooking. I'm super excited for this one.
Tartine All Day by Elisabeth Prueitt - This is also about combining really good farmer's market ingredients in an approachable by sophisticated way.