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COOKERY BOOKS ~ how they influenced your life.
Fri 2-Sep-11
11:24 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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I have just been re-reading Jane Grigson's " Good Things" & her "Fruit Book", looking up recipes for fruit liqueurs. Mine are ancient, well worn paperback copies which have accompanied me from home to home all my adult life.

I learnt to cook from Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David & Marguerite Costa, they really woke me up to food, especially after eating all my mother's bland food for years. I taught myself very fast & moved out of the parental home to a much more exciting life. I owe these 3 ladies a hell of a lot.

Do tell who has been influence on your foodie life & why. It would also be fun to know if you still cook from them now & who are your modern choices are¦..this should include food blogs too. For instance Fiona on CSH & David Libovitz on his blog, both are my favourites but I have a lot more.

For me the writing style has to draw me in. I had a boy-friend for years who insisted they were my form of pornography¦..!!   whistle whistle whistle Well they were always piled around the bed¦..!  big_laugh

 

***** I have edited this to say That I think this is in the wrong forum; it should be in the Food & Drink area but there doesn't seem to be a general forum ,evry thing is rather specific. So please Feel free to move it TA.

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Fri 2-Sep-11
11:53 am
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Sooliz
Somerset

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I adore cookery books, I'm drawn like a magnet to them in shops, garden centres, car boot sales, and collect them like a magpie collects shiny things (except when husband is with me, as he has a habit of taking them out of my hands and saying "come on now, put it down, STEP AWAY FROM THE BOOKS!!"ponderbig_laugh).  When we were busy sorting and packing up our stuff prior to our move down here from the Midlands, I decided I had to be ruthless and gave away tons to charity shops, as I must have had 100s embarassed.  It's funny, because I rarely actually follow a recipe - using it as an idea or a guide more than anything.

The exception is Delia......if I want to make something I've either never done before, or not made since I was at school (!!) - like hot water crust pastry, or a particular type of cake, e.g. - then I turn to her, usually her website, as her recipes always work.  Can't stand watching her on tv though, she's so headmistressy (sorry Danuta big_laughbig_hug).

I absolutely love Nigel Slater's books and have several of them.  One of my favourites is his Kitchen Diaries, it's written just like a diary, with him deciding that day what to cook, based on what's ready for harvesting in his garden, the stuff he's got in his fridge/pantry needing to be used up, something lovely he saw in the market the previous day and just couldn't resist buying, or just what he fancies that day.  So it's a very seasonal book, and I like his intuitive way of cooking.

I follow Shirley Goode's blog, she used to be on Pebble Mill during the early 80s (not that I can remember seeing her, although my mum does).  She's a great one for thrifty cooking and making do with what you've got, using up stuff in your pantry etc.  She's also very good at answering any queries or finding a recipe if you ask her.

Fiona has some wonderful recipes on her blog, it was she who led me to this forum after I'd googled for blackberry gin and found her recipe (it's yummy, still have a little bit left from last year and will be making LOTS more soon).

And of course there are some really lovely recipes on here from all you lot, especially all the preserving ones.  Thanks people big_hug

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Fri 2-Sep-11
7:52 pm
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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Nadine, shouldn't this be in Starters? whistle

I love cookbooks, and got rid of a few when I moved (mostly to offspring), but I now have room for (a few) more on my shelves¦. My fall-back is the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, which I was given when I was 21, all 12 volumes. It has a lot of recipes that show its age (like lots of salads in jelly) and doesn't list some modern ingredients or recipes, but I find it pretty reliable"it has lots of zucchini/courgette recipes, so it is essential at this time of year. It is American, but that is my default for recipes. My courgette pickle recipe comes from there. I also have some of my mother's cookbooks, which are interesting to look at and sometimes use. She usually noted the date when she first made a recipe. It is odd to see dates after I left home, somehow I assume that there were no inovations after I left!

I try to avoid looking at the cookbook section in bookstores, too painful not to buy, but the local secondhand book store has a large selection so I sometimes give in and get one. Or two. big_laugh

Sue, having seen Delia on television I refuse to use her recipes, she is so patronising!

But recipes from this site are terrific!

Fri 2-Sep-11
8:09 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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My main stay is the Dairy Cookbook, I also have a wholefoods cookbook I regularly use and for older style recipes I use a Woman's Own cookbook from the 60s. I go through fads with the other books and I really need to have another look through to see what to cook as I am getting in a rut again. Mind you the internet does help when you have a list of ingredients to use up and is far quicker than rummaging through books.

I follow a site recently called Nami-Nami, which TA gave me a link to as she is Estonian and so she tends to use foods that are in season for me too and would grow here in Latvia.

Fri 2-Sep-11
8:23 pm
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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I forgot to mention the Potluck Cookery book I have had since I was 21, which has a chapter called something like "Nothing in the House but..." which was very helpful living in London in the late 60's, since we were living on next to nothing. Bacon bits at 6d a pound figured large in our menus!

I got a copy of the Dairy Cookbook last year partly because of your recommendation Joanna, and partly because there was a copy available in the rental flat we used on the Scillies that I found useful for basic reference.

Fri 2-Sep-11
8:29 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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It is indeed great for the basics and I use it to check relative portions in things like cakes and batters because I always forget.

Fri 2-Sep-11
9:27 pm
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mike.
Coventry

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We have quite a large collection of cook books which I occasionally like to flick through but to be honest, these days I am more likely to go onto the Internet and search for a particular recipe or ingredient than search through a book.

I'm probably not alone in preferring books which give a little 'story' or background for each recipe - it can help to give the recipe a bit of context and sometimes explain why certain ingredients were used etc.

I no longer have copies of my favourite books, they were 'kept' by my parents when I moved out, but they are:

1) Floyd on Spain. One of my all-time favourite recipes came from this book - rabbit, pepper and chorizo casserole.

2) The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. I borrowed this from the library and started listing the recipes I wanted to photocopy. When the list got to half a page I decided I'd be better off buying a copy instead.

Visit my blog for food, drink, photography and hamsters.

Sat 3-Sep-11
7:16 am
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seth
lincolnshire fens

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Can't remember what it is but it's doing a fantastic job on the floor keeping the cooker level.  whistle

Seed catalogues are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than the web and playboy combined . (after Michael Perry)

Sat 3-Sep-11
8:48 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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I still have my very first cookery book. I bought it myself, aged 13, when my mother informed me she had to go into hospital for just over a week for an operation & I had to look after my father & brother, cooking all their meals & doing the shopping.

I was in a panic as up till that point my mother had always shooed me out of her tiny kitchen as she said I was always in the way & made a mess. As she only had a repetoire of about 12 dishes which she repeated every week she had no useful cookbooks. I beetled round to W.H. Smiths & had a look at their small selection & settled on a Good Housekeeping Cookery Book that was filled with detailed photographs of each stage of the recipe. It cost me 12shillings & 6pence which I paid for out of my pocket money (which was 1shilling per week at that time). I did pretty well, so my father & brother said. He handed over the housekeeping money & I was on my own with my book. My mother was rather put out when she got home because I still had some money left. I never got the money for the cookbook.....which I think was rather mean, but my family was like that. 

Although my mother had never let me help her cook I had spent a lot of time cooking with my grandmother on her old black solid fuel cast-iron range. When I was small she would stand an old wooden beer crate next to her so I could stand on it & cook beside her with my own bowl etc.  She was wonderful & could conjure a meal out of virtually nothing. She had to as she had 10 children that lived (& about 3 more that didn't make it.

I owe a lot to Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookery as it was the first of many....about 800 when I last counted....mind you many are residing in boxes in the barn....I must try to get rid of some of them next summer& take them down to Oxfam & the other charity shops.  wave

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sat 3-Sep-11
9:07 am
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ep
Bulgaria

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Constance Spry....I think the paperback was a gift early on in my marriage and I updated it with the hardback version that I still have...love the old fashioned recipes and it has ...EVERYTHING ...in it....eeekeeek

Who lives long sees much : The diary of my life in Bulgaria

Sat 3-Sep-11
9:15 am
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kayerunrig
lincolnshire

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im afraid its still Farmhouse Kitchen , my most thumbed book along with Farmhouse Fare, all the Rose Elliot Vegatarian cookbooks .Margueritte Pattens WWII cookbooks I have a bad cookbook habit 3 shelves ful of the strangest mixture millions of leaflets ...nothing very exotic im afraid all bulk cheap meals...lol...but then this week im cooking for 8 adults and little man all week

Sat 3-Sep-11
9:20 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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I am a fan of "The Joy of Cooking" an American cookbook that I have owned for maybe 35 years. I bought it while working over there....it has all the traditional old US recipes cooked the old way without the modern short-cuts. 

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sat 3-Sep-11
9:29 am
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paperman
Saxmundham, Suffolk

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Unlike you good friends I have only been cooking regularly for myself (and others when they visit) for about 5 years since I have been living on my own so I don't have a long history in the art although I have always been interested in cooking however my lovely wife was so damn good at it and enjoyed it so much that I sort of watched and washed up, if you see what I mean.

Anyway I started with Delia, but concluded that whilst she was very good she made many dishes too complicated to no discernable advantage and then whilst looking for a recipe for some excess beetroot I had at the time I stumbled on Nigel Slater, down to earth, speaks a language that feels familiar with no airs and graces, to quote the man he is a cook not a chef and I now have 3 of his books and they gather no dust on the shelf.

For Jams and preserves I have the River Cottage book, small and concise it does for what I want and encourages me to experiment a little, love it.

This last year I have started making my own bread, this is a sensuous affair and I am surprised it is not an arrestable offence, my only sadness is that I don't need to kneed much as I am on my own, because I would love to have a real giant bake up. I started with some book just off the shelf that caught my eye but then, again, I bought the River Cottage  Bread book which is really good but the revelation is an old book published in 1977 by Elizabeth David called English Bread and Yeast Cooking. I was at a Lammas weekend a month back and saw a copy lying around and picked it up and had a quick scan - they had to take it off me in the end and I have since bought a hardcopy 2nd hand off Amazon in near perfect condition and it cost £1.68 + £2.00 postage. It is a story about bread it is a recipe book it is simply the best bread book for me and it is also a jolly good read. The excellent River Cottage book I have now given away to a friend as it is redundant. Elizabeth David comes highly recommended, my bread making has improved no end.

I have reached an age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me...

Sat 3-Sep-11
10:56 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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Chris, I remember buying Elizabeth Davis's bread book the day it was first published. I have been a fan of her cooking & writing from the early 1960's. I was waiting at the bookshop before it opened. If you like her books you should read the cookery books of M.F.K Fisher . She had a very interesting life & lived a lot of it in France although she was American.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._F._K._Fisher

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sat 3-Sep-11
11:38 am
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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I have rather a lot of M.F.K. Fisher books, apart from anything else, her writing style is superb and the recipes came with a back story.

I have lots of cookery books and used to use them when I was starting out as a housewife but nowadays I hardly ever cook and when I do I become a 'plain cook' in that you don't need a recipe to boil runner beans.

I'll try that again!

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