Nice article by Rob Mifsud in the Globe and Mail the other day combining two of my favourite things: food and books!

First, some pointers. Ditch the superstore and head to a shop that specializes in cookbooks. As Jonathan Cheung, co-owner of Appetite for Books in Montreal, points out: “I have personally cooked out of at least 700 of the cookbooks in the store. So we have a personal knowledge of how certain books could work for certain people.”

Understand your cooking limitations, expectations and audience. Mika Bareket, owner of Toronto’s Good Egg, tailors her recommendations based on a simple set of questions: “What do you already own and like? Do you follow recipes word for word, or are you looking for ideas more than instructions? Who do you cook for – children, vegetarians, fancy dinner parties etc.?”

The author then proceeds to recommend a Bible, Nice to Have and a For the Adventurous in a couple of different categories. Check out the original link for fuller descriptions of the choices!

General

Canadian

Baking/Dessert

International

Reference

Wild Card

I tend to use cookbooks to browse and expand my repertoire. I’ll use the web for known item searching. For example, if I want to make braised short ribs, I’ll google it and see how a bunch of different people are preparing the dish and then either pick one or freestyle based on a kind of composite picture. Of the websites out there, my favourite is probably Simply Recipes.

As for cookbooks I keep going back to over and over again, I’ll pick just a couple: by far my favourite cookbooks are Michael Smith‘s two Chef at Home books, the first one here and the expanded edition here. I really love Smith’s emphasis on simple recipes as scaffolding for experimentation in the kitchen. It’s really about “cooking without a recipe” — or at least as much as a book of recipes can be.

Comments

  1. #1 Martoons
    December 19, 2010

    Just wondering – are you reading with actual physical books or do you read on something like the iPad or Kindle? Where I live I am still seeing everyone reading ‘physical’ books and it doesn’t look like it’ll be changing too soon either! Thanks :)

  2. #2 John Dupuis
    December 20, 2010

    I still mostly read physical books but I do sometimes read books on a Kobo. My “problem” is that I have about 50 years worth of physical books lying around the house waiting to be read…

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