Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's On My Cookbook Shelf

A lot of the cooking I do involves recipes that have been handed down to me from generations past. My mother taught me all the basics of how to cook and passed on the recipes that came from her parents in England or the recipes she learned to make from my father's mother in Berlin. These recipes are often my favorite go to comfort foods that I make over and over again so I know the recipes by heart. In fact, for a lot of them there are no actual hard copies of the recipe. I couldn't even tell you how much of each ingredient to use or start to write a recipe for them without actually making the recipe again and writing as I go because I do it all by memory and instinct. But if I'm looking for a new recipe or just some foodie inspiration I most often head to the great wide world of the internet or one of the many (and I mean MANY) cookbooks that I keep on my shelves. These books have become like classics to me. Here are just a few of my favs:

First and foremost, the classic of all classics, The Joy of Cooking. I still say if you're fairly new to cooking and you can only purchase one book then it has to be Joy!  You can't beat it for its comprehensiveness. It's filled with absolutely everything you need to know (and some things you don't) about the art of cooking, not to mention great recipes. 


A number of years ago I was producing a television show in Vancouver when we featured a guest chef named Donna Hay. At the time I wasn't familiar with her but her books have now become some of my fav go to cookbooks when I'm looking for something easy and flavorful. One of her books that I resort to the most is Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry. It's a great resource if you're looking for a recipe that doesn't require any fancy, often hard to find ingredients. Just stuff that you probably already have in your pantry.


I also adore Donna's book Flavours! If you love stimulating your taste buds you will love this book!

  Anyone who knows me knows that I have a fondness for cooking recipes that don't have a lot of ingredients. Some of my favorite, go to recipes only have 4 or 5 ingredients, not including seasonings.  One of the books I love for simple recipes involving only a few ingredients is The Minimalist Cooks Dinner by Mark Bittman.  I can always count on this book for fuss free, yet tasty recipes.

Indian food is one of my favorites!  In fact I often say that if I don't get it at least once a week I go into withdrawal.  Indian cooking often defies my "few ingredients" rule but the end result is soooo good it's worth it! For my Indian fix I often find myself taking out one of Madhur Jaffrey's books such as At Home with Madhur Jaffrey.

But a few years back when I was living in Vancouver I came to love a restaurant called Vij's owned by Vikram Vij. I am now back in Toronto but luckily Vikram has his own cookbook out called Vij's At Home so I can satisfy my Vij's fix without the cost of an expensive plane ticket to the west coast.

Those are just a few of my favorite go to cookbooks.  As for what's on my lust list, I'm looking forward to picking up the Jerusalem cookbook that everyone is talking about. Have you tried any recipes from it? I'd love to hear what you think about it.


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