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Dieter01
08-01-2012, 05:13 AM
I have a book by a Norwegian cook named Andreas Viestad. It's called "How to boil water" and I think its brilliant. In the book he spends most of the time discussing why and how certain techniques work etc. He also covers trvial stuff like prep work that some of us home cooks are never properly tough (first time I saw an artichoke I had no idea where to start). There are a few recipes as well but its also a book you can read from cover to cover.

Heston Blumenthal occasionally also takes the time to explain why things are done in a particular way and there are other authors as well. Any books you would like to recommend? Preferably with as much theory as possible!

stereo.pete
08-01-2012, 07:11 AM
Notes From a Kitchen, which goes into detail about the process of conceptualizing dishes, why they work, how they come about etc. There are very few recipes in the two books but overall the concept is quite interesting.

http://www.amazon.com/Notes-From-Kitchen-Culinary-Obsession/dp/0983615918/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343819335&sr=8-1&keywords=Notes+From+a+Kitchen

ecchef
08-01-2012, 07:50 AM
I have a couple of book by Pierre Gagnaire that are completely enigmatic. Makes ya think though.

Dieter01
08-01-2012, 08:11 AM
Notes From a Kitchen, which goes into detail about the process of conceptualizing dishes, why they work, how they come about etc. There are very few recipes in the two books but overall the concept is quite interesting.

http://www.amazon.com/Notes-From-Kitchen-Culinary-Obsession/dp/0983615918/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343819335&sr=8-1&keywords=Notes+From+a+Kitchen

Cool, thanks. I looked it up and from the reviews I found it sounds like it is more about the chefs and their culinary journey - like a 10 person biography. That would be good reading as well but at $150 I am a bit more reluctant... Does the book focus on the way they cook or they way they think about cooking?

Namaxy
08-01-2012, 08:51 AM
The 'Larousse Gastronomique' is always good....kind of like an encyclopedia of food and classic preparations and methods. I know it's been updated of course, but I still keep my copy from the early 60's. Escoffier's 'Guide Culinaire' falls into this same category...one of those classic must reads.

It might be considered lame in these pro circles, but the first book I read that had a lot of illustrated techniques and classic methods was 'La Varenne Practique' by Anne Willan. It's more or less like the textbook from the La Varenne cooking school.

For more modern reading, I have 'Culinary Artistry' and 'Becoming a Chef' by Andrew Dornenburg. Both probably more along the lines of what you're looking for - especially the Artistry book which goes into a lot of detail on the art behind composing a recipe or menu.

You could also go with books by James Peterson. I have his sauce book. If you need 600 pages on just sauces, or a whole chapter just on making Sabayon, that's the book for you. I don't have his other books, but he has some equally encyclopedic book out on techniques, meat etc.

Hope that helps.

Dieter01
08-01-2012, 09:02 AM
Thanks again! I have Larousse Gastronomique and actually pull it out quite frequently. I also have the Peterson sauce book and like it a lot to. Will check out those other two mentions...

stereo.pete
08-03-2012, 10:04 AM
Cool, thanks. I looked it up and from the reviews I found it sounds like it is more about the chefs and their culinary journey - like a 10 person biography. That would be good reading as well but at $150 I am a bit more reluctant... Does the book focus on the way they cook or they way they think about cooking?

I would say a little of both but more so about the way they think about cooking, which bleeds into how their dishes come about.

MadMel
08-03-2012, 11:04 AM
How about Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques (http://www.bookdepository.com/Jacques-Pepins-La-Technique-Complet-Pepin/9781579121655)? Also Ruhlman's Twenty (http://www.bookdepository.com/Rulmans-Twenty-Michael-Ruhlman/9780811876438)seems to be good as well.

Eamon Burke
08-03-2012, 11:29 AM
Way more basic than all this, but I'm Just Here For The Food is set up to teach people about how heat gets into food and what it does. It's like pre-school for On Food and Cooking.

The Edge
08-03-2012, 11:34 AM
I would also include the Flavor Bible to the other books mentioned. I always equate it to a pick your own ending story books. I pull it out a lot, and usually make up about 10 recipes before deciding on one. Tons of fun just to flip back and forth between the pages to see what things go with.

Dieter01
08-12-2012, 03:23 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. Ordered several of the books suggested last night. Wanted to add a few more (Pepin's Complete Techniques, Notes from a kitchen etc) but they were sold out - will get them at a later point. I was very happy to source 'La Varenne Practique' for only $37 in "as new" condition.

Ended up with these:
The Professional Chef
Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs
Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 200 Recipes, A Cook's Manifesto
La Varenne Practique

In addition I got a few baking cookbooks for my soon-to-be-built wood fired oven.
The Art of Wood-fired Cooking
Wood-Fired Cooking: Techniques and Recipes for the Grill, Backyard Oven, Fireplace, and Campfire
Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

Cutty Sharp
08-13-2012, 08:29 AM
I have a couple of book by Pierre Gagnaire that are completely enigmatic. Makes ya think though.

He's got a restaurant in Seoul. Korea's only Michelin resto. Worth a visit you think?

Cutty Sharp
08-13-2012, 08:32 AM
I have a book by a Norwegian cook named Andreas Viestad. It's called "How to boil water" and I think its brilliant. In the book he spends most of the time discussing why and how certain techniques work etc.

Sounds great!

Larousse G - Love it enough that my copy's covered with oily fingerprints.