Appreciate :: The COOKBOOK – before the internet kills them.


You know… earlier today I did a post about some recipes that I wanted to try out this week. It was based on the FFTY produce delivery that I get every week, but something funny happened. As I was thinking of things to cook up, I didn’t even bother to go on to the shelf just outside of my kitchen full of books, but rather I just jumped online and started googling the ingredients I have and keyword searching pinterest. Then, I went into the kitchen to see if I had some vegetable broth or something and my Sriracha cookbook happened to catch my eye.

I stopped, and started to thumb through it. Its a damn good cookbook. Then I went one book over and happened to see a Colicchio book that my brother got me for Christmas one year, and again, as I thumbed through it, I thought to myself how good of a book it was.

I began to think about it to try and see when the last time I actually used one of the recipes out of these books and I honestly couldn’t remember. Like, I know I’ve used these books before and I’m made some pretty slammin’ dishes, but I think as time has gone on we’ve gotten lazier and lazier and just looked online for all of our recipes. There also is an issue, in my mind at least, the way that cookbooks are written, or at least how the recipes are written. I think I have a solution for that and I’ve reached out to some people that I know and hopefully there will be something happening with it soon. Its not going to revolutionize cookbooks or anything like that, BUT, I think it will definitely get dudes – as well as people who don’t think they can cook – cooking more.

Personally, I don’t necessarily use cookbooks as line for line directions on how to cook, but more like a Larry David script to improv off of. I get the basics down, like my proteins and vegetables that go in it, and then I just freestyle on a lot of the seasonings to work for my palate.

But anyways, here is my deck of cookbooks. They are all really good and I think I’m going to start giving them all a workout a little bit more. I’ve tried several recipes from each one of the books, other than the TREME book, but that just showed up last week. No more of this going on line for recipes. All of these books are available in the IME Amazon store, fyi.

The “All New” Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer

Since its original publication, Joy of Cooking has been the most authoritative cookbook in America the one upon which millions of cooks have confidently relied for more than sixty-five years. It’s the book your grandmother and mother probably learned to cook from, the book you gave your sister when she got married. This, the first revision in more than twenty years, is better than ever.

This book is a staple and should be a staple of anyone who is anyone who ever even attempts to cook anything. Its almost perfect. Its a reeeeeal cookbook. No crazy pictures, not super long stories about what made the author want to cook, just straight up recipes and instructions showing you what to do.

I’ve used this one for gumbo the first couple of times I made it because I didn’t even attempt to try my grandmothers recipe first. Then I started to just wing it and use what I remembered from my grandmother combined with what is in this book combined with a few notes from Emeril’s gumbo recipe.

Hot & Spicy by Linda Fraser

Over 200 easy to follow recepts from every corner of the world. Full color photographs illustrating how to make each dish and what the finished dish should look like. Introduction of different spices and pepers & how to prepare and use them.

This is a book when I want to turn up. There are sold solid jawns on here but I don’t use it as much as I should. I saw this book at a bookstore in the discounted bin and just threw down the duckets and bought it.

Smokin’ by Christopher Styler

Chris serves up 36 master recipes for smoking everything from whole chickens to shrimp, plus 95 recipes for soups, salads, and sides that use smoked ingredients. There’s Tea-Smoked Duck; Smoked Eggplant Soup; and Fettuccine with Smoky Salmon, Peas, and Leeks to name just a few. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and your love for smoky flavor. With Chris Styler’s tips, techniques, and pointers, smoking food is simple, fast, and the taste speaks for itself.

I bought an indoor smoker, since I live in an apartment with no balcony or deck, and there are some really good things in here. Smoking is difficult, especially when you using an indoor smoker, so I need some help with how to get it cracking. This booked helped a lot and now I’m old gold.

Root to Stalk Cooking by Tara Duggan

A cookbook featuring more than 65 recipes that make use of the parts of vegetables that typically get thrown away, including stalks, tops, ribs, fronds, and stems, with creative tips for making the most of seasonal ingredients to stretch the kitchen dollar.

Once I started my CSA a few months back, I noticed that I was probably only using about 75% of everything that is in the box. I figured, since I was doing the CSA thing, that there has to be a way to use a lot of the stuff that I normally just throw out. I went to the CSA website and on their blog they were giving the book away. I didn’t enter the contest, I just went on amazon and bought it. Its good.

TREME – Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans by Lolis Eric Elie

Inspired by David Simon’s award-winning HBO series Treme, this celebration of the culinary spirit of post-Katrina New Orleans features recipes and tributes from the characters, real and fictional, who highlight the Crescent City’s rich foodways.

The title of that book should say it all.

Think Like A Chef by Tom Colicchio

With Think Like a Chef, Tom Colicchio has created a new kind of cookbook. Rather than list a series of restaurant recipes, he uses simple steps to deconstruct a chef’s creative process, making it easily available to any home cook.

Craft of Cooking by Tom Colicchio

From Tom Colicchio, chef/co-owner of New York’s acclaimed Gramercy Tavern, comes a book that profiles the food and philosophy of Craft, his unique restaurant in the heart of New York’s Flatiron district, and winner of the 2002 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in America. From its food to its architecture and menu design, Craft has been celebrated for its courageous movement away from culinary theatrics and over-the-top presentations, back to the simple magic of great food.

I got both of these Colicchio books from my brother. He’s an unabashed fanboy of one Thomas Colicchio, and so am I. The guy gets it, and he is reeeeeally fucking good at his job. Some of the recipes in these books aren’t necessarily difficult, Tom dumbs it down for us very well, but a lot of them contain elements that a regular cat just doesn’t have in their kitchen on the reg. I use these book for special occasions and/or when I feel like a bawse and go and spend half my rent at Whole Paycheck.

The books are written really well, and interestingly enough, Tom gives us a pretty good look into the guy that he is, through his cooking. Great books to have, not only for their recipes, but also for broads to see that you have when they come over and you cook for them…

The SRIRACHA Cookbook – by Randy Clemens

You’ve drizzled the addictively spicy chili sauce over your breakfast eggs, noodles, and French fries, but now it’s time to take your Sriracha obsession to bold, new heights. Food writer and trained chef Randy Clemens presents 50 palate-expanding recipes that make the most of Sriracha’s savory punch, such as: Spicy Ceviche, Honey-Sriracha Glazed Buffalo Wings, Bacon-Sriracha Cornbread, the Ultimate Sriracha Burger, Peach-Sriracha Sorbet, and more.

I don’t need to say anything about this one….

The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine Cookbook by George, Merydith and Connie Foreman *

From grilled entrees and snacks, to salads and desserts, you will find inside these pages a bounty of recipe choices for anytime of the day. Includes 175 recipes.

This comes with the FOREMAN Grill. EVERYONE has a Foreman grill, so I am sure everyone has this book, no?

The Vegucation of Robin by Robin Quivers

Known for her levelheaded, deadpan comebacks to Howard Stern’s often outrageous banter, Robin Quivers is a force of nature. Yet few people know about her struggles with food—especially the high-fat, high-sugar, high-cholesterol, highly addictive foods that doomed many of her relatives to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, she knew it was time to stop her slow slide into bad health. Quivers took a stand in her personal nutrition battle and emerged victorious thanks to a plant-based diet.

Really good book. I think that its more of a real book, about Robins path to health, that just happens to contain recipes. You get about 100 pages of her story, and then another 100 pages of recipes. Its vegetarian and vegan. Good stuff.