Sunday, February 20, 2011

One can never have too many wooden spoons...


 Or utensils in general.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My favorite cookbook

My favorite cookbook, James Beard's American Cookery, has been reissued in hardcover.  There's virtually nothing in the book that Beard doesn't cover, and he does it with a descriptive and appetite-inducing prose. 

American Cookery goes beyond merely recipes: if that's what you're looking for, stick to Irma Rombauer's Joy of Cooking.  Instead, Beard manages to tell great stories of food origins, family suppers, historic places important to cookery, and his own love of food.  Remarkably he'll even tell you in a recipe's preamble that he might not particularly care for that dish, but he nonetheless offers the best recipe for it he knows.

It is the cookbook I almost always go to first to read up on a particular ingredient or food prep method. 

I own several of the volumes of American Cookery, both hardcover and softcover.  At one point, I'd gotten into the habit of scouring used book stores for it, and buying them up cheap.  I've given the book a couple times as a gift, when it had been long out of print in hardcover. 

My favorite Beard shorthand recipe is for white, or b├ęchamel, sauce:  3-3-1, 2-2-1, 1-1-1 -- the ratios of butter-flour-milk needed to make one cup of a thick, medium, or thin white sauce, respectively.   What could be easier?