My lovely wife Janet got me an incredible book for Christmas 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die by Frances Case. Does that girl know me or what?
It’s not as morbid as it sounds. It’s a reference of crazy hard to find or unique foods from countries and cultures around the world. Not all of them are available unless you do some serious traveling, but where else are you going to find such great ideas and get the exposure in one place? Don’t say the internet; it’s a book for cryin’ out loud. It’s got different sections; Fruit, Vegetables, Dairy, Fish, Meats, Aromatics, Grain, Bakery and Confections. It’s amazing; if someone can find another book with such coverage I dare you to find it for me.
I also got The Flavor Bible from my parents by two of my favorite food authors Karen Page and Andrew Dorenburg, these two write books that speak to me. A book that explores flavor combinations and for use as a reference. For instance, if you wanted Thai food you could look it up and it would give you flavor profiles and indigenous items to that region. Exciting stuff for foodies like me. People often ask me what my favorite cookbook is and I never have an answer because I never buy a book for recipes, but rather inspiration or reference when I’m stumped or when Jazz or Modern Rock can’t find the creative buttons in my head. The introduction has a great quote that sums up my point of view.
“Over the years, cookbooks have come to dictate precise measurement of ingredients along with instructions for their preparation and assembly, which has done much to improve the general accessibility of recipes. However, they also have come to provide a false sense of security for which the unsuspecting cook pays a price. When a recipe is rigidly scripted and blindly followed, it negates the cook’s own creative instincts and good judgment-not to mention much of the pleasure of truly ‘being ‘ in the moment”
That’s probably why I have always enjoyed live music so much, the point of cooking when you just “go off” and reach, making something you were working on go from good to great because you choose to step off the ledge and don’t fall off.
Check out those books.
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