Monday, October 18, 2010

A New Batch of Cookbooks

I swear there needs to be a 12 step program for cookbook buyers. I go into the Strand every week and every week they have a new batch of cook books that I want. Usually I am broke so it doesn't matter; I have to put the breaks on my buying desire. Sometimes like last week they will have a pile of a cookbook I desperately want, I leave, go to yoga (which is upstairs from the Strand) and decide that I am going to buy a book this week, only to find that when I go back in several days later the book is sold out.

Such was the case for The New Brooklyn Cookbook a wonderful compendium of recipes from all the best Brooklyn has to offer.  I think it would make a great guide book, even though I have been to some of the restaurants there are lots here still to try.  Of course if you don't live near Brooklyn then you can at least make the recipes in the book and pretend like you are visiting.
Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto is an exhaustive look at the cuisine of the Oaxaca Mexico, the culinary San Francisco of Mexico.  It has a very authentic look sort of home cooking meets National Geographic.  I just looked at it in the Strand but it made me want to bring it home study it and then go to Oaxaca for a month and hunt down all these home cooks and have them invite me over for lunch or dinner or breakfast...
David Tanis cooks at Chez Panisse half a year and spend the other half the year in his flat in Paris making dinner parties and traveling to Morocco.  Some people have all the luck.  I love his simple elegant food, his easy to follow recipes and his enjoyable narrative.  His first book a Platter of Figs has become invaluable to me.  The Heart of the Artichoke and other kitchen journeys, was the one book of the four I had to spend money and get right away.
And finally, Noma.  It's more coffee table book and inspiration than cookbook from the new international hot restaurant of the same name in Copenhagen.  René Redzepi, who is head chef and co-owner of Noma, is basically the new El Bulli only with reindeer meat and northern moss and other Danish local, sustainable ingredients taking center stage. I'd love to go here; it's just so beautiful and smart.  Not to mention right up my philosophical alley.  Of course, like most places of such acclaim, getting a reservation is pretty much impossible so in the meantime there is the cookbook.

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