Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Cookbook?

Recently I had a student who asked, "Isn't there just one cookbook that would pretty much suffice?" He was asking for the one cookbook he could have on his shelf that would tell him how to cook anything and he would never need to look at another. One? When I showed him my cookbook shelf he was slightly taken aback.

I can never have enough cookbooks even if one like The Joy of Cooking might give me a nice array of technique. It certainly did 30 years ago anyway. I love to be inspired by the ever growing array of current cuisine. Today the entire world is becoming a melting pot of ethnicity and traditions. Cooking has always been an expression of the culture. So as culture changes so do recipes. In this case it certainly is a good motto to "make new friends but keep the old." Old and new recipes alike can be intertwined and enjoyed.

Pick one item like a turnip and each cookbook will portray it differently. Bread varies so much from country to country, and the authors personal experience with making it, there are numerous books to have just on bread alone. The beautiful pictures might inspire you to buy something new, or serve your food in a new way too.

I love learning something about the cultural history of the people that created the food. Eat the many tantalizing tastes that make up a Japanese meal or enjoy a hearty Irish stew and you will notice how climate effects the meals created. What the people might have experienced or had growing nearby.

Just one cookbook? I hope to always have a growing collection. We eat everyday of our lives.

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