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  1. #11
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    mr drinky's Avatar
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    After that last thread I laid down some good change on some cookbooks -- some I have used and some I haven't yet.

    But a question for you cookbook addicts: How do you manage the info and use all of those books? Do you just read through them leisurely and dream of food? Do you focus on one book for a while and cook a bunch of things from it and then move on? Do you go to some index when you have an ingredient from the farmer's market that you want to use? Or do you just use it for ideas and inspiration? Just wondering.

    In the past I used to page through the entire cookbook, skim the recipes and star the ones I really wanted to cook, and then write on the inside of the cover the those page numbers. So whenever I wanted something new I would just pull a book, flip to the inside cover and start going down the list of page numbers until I found something I liked. It was kind of nice and sort of a randomizer of my recipes.

    On the other hand, I am way too anal about clipping recipes from magazines. It started when I was living abroad and had few English-language cooking magazines and I couldn't lug around cookbooks. I would clip recipes I wanted to cook, and then file it. So if I wanted to do a different pasta dish than normal, I just pulled out the folder for something to make. If I didn't like it I would toss the recipe, if it was good enough to stick around I just refiled it back into the rotation, and if it was really good it would graduate to a 'favorites' folder. Did I not say I was anal about this? But 20 years from now that favorites folder will have some pretty damn good, family tested recipes.

    Nowadays with cookbooks, I use the Eat Your Books website. I just used it a couple of days ago when I had a boat load of fresh beans that needed to be eaten. I found an interesting recipe in one of my books in about 5 minutes.

    k.
    "There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson

  2. #12
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    never use any of the recipes in a cookbook, use it more for ideas. Let's say I want to make a gumbo recipe, I will look up 10 or 20 recipes, See what the most common ingredients are in those recipes, that sets my flavor profile. Then I will back track the oldest recipe I can find for the dish and that gets me a little closer to the original intent of the dish. If I can find the history of the region and people that that dish came from, the better. I try to master the authentic dish first an then make modifications later.
    Everyday cooking is a little more impromptu. What's fresh, what's peak, what can I afford. sometimes I just like to look at pictures.
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    One of my favorites, just for personal use and enjoyable read is called The Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place.
    Looks good; ordered it this morning.

  4. #14
    much more awesomer
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    Italian Food by Elizabeth David
    Francesco
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    never use any of the recipes in a cookbook, use it more for ideas. Let's say I want to make a gumbo recipe, I will look up 10 or 20 recipes, See what the most common ingredients are in those recipes, that sets my flavor profile. Then I will back track the oldest recipe I can find for the dish and that gets me a little closer to the original intent of the dish. If I can find the history of the region and people that that dish came from, the better. I try to master the authentic dish first an then make modifications later.
    Everyday cooking is a little more impromptu. What's fresh, what's peak, what can I afford. sometimes I just like to look at pictures.
    Quite similar to how I use cookbooks/recipes. I will read as many as I can to get a concept of the recipe and techniques, then make my own without recipe.

  6. #16
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    +1. I use the web this way as well.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    never use any of the recipes in a cookbook, use it more for ideas. Let's say I want to make a gumbo recipe, I will look up 10 or 20 recipes, See what the most common ingredients are in those recipes, that sets my flavor profile. Then I will back track the oldest recipe I can find for the dish and that gets me a little closer to the original intent of the dish. If I can find the history of the region and people that that dish came from, the better. I try to master the authentic dish first an then make modifications later.
    Everyday cooking is a little more impromptu. What's fresh, what's peak, what can I afford. sometimes I just like to look at pictures.
    I'm fond of this approach as well. I have some 300 cookbooks, not to mention countless magazines which I love to thumb through and make notes to myself. My scribbles never comprise an actual recipe...more just reminders etc.

    For food shopping, I try to tell people not to shop with a list, but instead shop with their eyes and nose. It's much more fun to come home from the market with inspiring ingredients, then figure out what to do.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JKerr View Post
    ... Added a few beauties to my humble collection, some old, some recent, some used, some new. Anyways, I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite but I tend to gravitate towards a certain few - "Izakaya, the Japanese pub cookbook" when I just want something to read ... Cheers, Josh
    Thanks for the heads up on this one. Just looked it up and see it's over 100 bucks new, but somehow found a listing for under 20 - ordered!

    I also took the opportunity to get Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art (25th Anniv Ed). Seemed like a good purchase; has anyone ever used it? Jeez, I've lived in Japan but never owned a J cookbook, and the ingredients will be pretty accessible here in Korea.

    Quote Originally Posted by DwarvenChef View Post
    Lately I've been all over "The Japanese Grill" Tadaishi Ono & Harris Salat, some great ideas floating around in the book...
    Ooooh, will have to look into this one next!

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Cutty Sharp View Post
    Thanks for the heads up on this one. Just looked it up and see it's over 100 bucks new, but somehow found a listing for under 20 - ordered!

    I also took the opportunity to get Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art (25th Anniv Ed). Seemed like a good purchase; has anyone ever used it? Jeez, I've lived in Japan but never owned a J cookbook, and the ingredients will be pretty accessible here in Korea.
    Best overall, comprehensive Japanese cookbook that I've come across. I've had my book for over ten years. I go to this book first when I look for any Japanese recipe.

    While the seasoning may differ from what one prefers, the recipes that I've tried are, for the most part, accurate.

    Also, this edition supposedly has more pictures which was one of my complaints of the original book. It's a must for anyone interested in Japanese cooking, IMHO.

    FWIW, my mother is Japanese, I grew up speaking Japanese and eating Japanese food, regularly cook Japanese food, and it's still, to this day, my favorite type of food.
    Michael
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  10. #20
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    Wow. 300? 475+? I think I have two dozen books and a floating handful of magazines, but I frequently scour the 'net for recipes or techniques. I believe I've learned more watching Ciril Hitz and old Pepin videos on Youtube than from most books. My Amazon Wish List always has cookbooks in it, but I rarely actually pull the trigger on them. A bunch of mine were gifts, some hand-me-downs and some are from the bargain bins at the front of B&N/Borders-Waldenbooks (RIP)/Chapters-Coles-etc.
    Francesco
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