Cookbooks

The Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks

Introduction to the Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks

The following list is our compilation of fifty cookbooks that we think have contributed to a better understanding of cooking and cuisines.

It is an idiosyncratic list because we want to delve into all sorts of culinary nooks and crannies based on things we are interested in (all types of Asian foods, for example), places we have been (New Orleans where we found very bad food and some stunning food cooked by chefs such as Susan Spicer and Donald Link and Provence where the food is often based on the freshest and most intense produce that you can find anywhere) and records of food throughout the ages and how it has influenced what we eat today.

You will also notice that some of the books we have included are those that include very detailed descriptions of how to create a dish that is apparently simple. Example are the writing of Paul Bertolli in Cooking by Hand and Shizuo Tsuji in Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art.

We will gradually be loading a review for each of the books in the Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks, so please be patient, but we will try to get all of them posted as soon as possible.

1 – Le Guide Culinaire:  A Guide to Modern Cookery by Auguste Escoffier

Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks

A Guide to Modern Cookery is Escoffier’s masterpiece that set the scene for modern French cookery with the publication of 5012 technically exact recipes that were accurately reflected in the 1921 Flamarion edition translated for the English-speaking world.

This book is now regarded as the masterpiece and the reference for French classical recipes in the post-Careme era. They are precise, clear, accessible and able to be implemented by chefs and home cooks alike.

Be wary of editions containing only 2973 recipes as much of the richness of the original book is difficult to capture with these editions.

This a serious and thoughtful book which should be in the collection of every serious cookbook collector.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Le Guide Culinaire: A Guide to Modern Cookery by Auguste Escoffier

2 – French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David

David French Provincial

The classic tour de force of regional French food through the eyes of one of the greatest food writers of the 20th century.

We believe that French Provincial Cooking is one of the most important cookbooks ever published. It is Elizabeth David at her best. Her broad culinary knowledge, her evocative writing style, her forensic research skills and her humanity all shine through.

Elizabeth David was no ordinary person. She developed her taste for food while studying French history at the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris.

She became obsessed with French food and developed a desire to learn how to cook it well. She was a leader in the publication of modern food books with her first offering being in 1950!

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David

3 – Science in The Kitchen and The Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi

Artusi Science in the Kitchen

Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi is a classic Italian cookbook that is written with passion, humility, irreverence and humour. The recipes are well worth trying even though the book was written in the late nineteenth century.

We strongly believe that we can all learn a lot from history. This is just as important in cooking as it is in all other areas of human endeavour.

Therefore, we like to turn to the classic cookbooks to hone our knowledge and skills.

The more we delve into it, the more the classic Italian offering ‘Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well’ by Pellegrino Artusi inveigles itself into our consciousness.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Science in The Kitchen and The Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi

4 – Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji is a thoughtful and careful book surveying many of the great recipes of Japan. Don’t skip the excellent introduction by M K Fisher – it is a gem!

He is a true Renaissance man publishing books on topics as diverse as gastronomy, travel and music as well as laying claim to ownership of the world’s largest collection of Bach recordings. He also was a graduate of the Waseda University in Tokyo where he gained a degree in French Literature.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji

5 – Time Life ‘The Good Cook’ Series with Richard Olney (Editor)

Time Life Good Cook Series

The Good Cook series is an enduring classic in the cookbook repertoire. The Time Life Series is still as relevant today as the day it was released.

The series was edited by Richard Olney who was assisted by a litany of future stars of the food writing firmament.

A feature of these books is the melding of superb photography with clear explanatory text and precise, clear recipes. The techniques and recipes cover most of the essential repertoire for chefs and home cooks alike.

The series is timeless and endearing and is the perfect gift for any budding cooks who want to master the basics as well as more advanced techniques.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Time Life ‘The Good Cook’ Series with Richard Olney (Editor)

6 – Thai Food by David Thompson

Thai food by David Thompson

Thai Food catapults straight into the pantheon of greats because it brilliantly captures the essentials of an entire cuisine.

And this is not a minor regional cuisine, but one of the most complex and wide-ranging cuisines of the world. It is also one that is understood by very few Western authors or chefs.

Thompson is a master of both writing and cooking -we have enjoyed his complex cooking for many, many years and continue to do so.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Thai Food by David Thompson

7 – Modern Cookery for Private Families by Eliza Acton

Eliza-Acton-Modern-Cooking-for-Private-Families

Eliza Acton was one of the first British cookbook authors to codify recipes of the early nineteenth century. Her classic Modern Cookery for Private Families was one of the first European books to provide quantities and timings rather than just general descriptions. She even provided a separate list of ingredients, something common today but unheard of at that time.

Modern Cookery for Private Families is a classic that has influenced many cookbook writers ever since its publication in 1845 (it was first published under the title Modern Cookery, in all its Branches). Even the venerable Elizabeth David lists this book as the one that influenced her thinking the most.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Modern Cookery for Private Families by Eliza Acton

8 – Simple French Food by Richard Olney

Simple French Food by Richard Olney

Simple French Food is a thoughtful, erudite and compelling book from one of the greatest food writers of the last century. Olney’s passion for French food and for simplicity in preparation and presentation shines through every page. This is an essential addition to every food lover’s library.

Richard Olney deserves his place as one of the great food writers of the twentieth century.

There are two great cookbooks that were written at similar times and within a short distance of each other for a very similar purpose. One was the famous La Cuisine du Comté de Nice by the mayor of Nice, Jacques Médecin and the other was Simple French Food by American expatriate Richard Olney who lived along the coast near the town of Bandol. The purpose, clearly stated in each book, was a concern about the disappearing culinary traditions of the region.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Simple French Food by Richard Olney

9 – The Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

Zuni Cafe by Judy Rodgers

The Zuni Café is one of our favourite places to eat in the world and Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers is one of the most inspiring references that is compulsory in every serious food lover’s cookbook collection.

We love the fact that the book represents a complete departure from the worrying trend among so-called fashionable cookbooks of reducing all recipes to a few lines of description and only two or three ingredients. Instead, the recipes are accompanied by thoughtful, erudite and often witty dissertations that tell you why she does things and why the combinations of ingredients are necessary.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

10 – Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli

Bertolli-Cooking-by-hand powerful recipes

Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli has entered the pantheon of great cookbooks because of his deep understanding of food products and the clarity with which he sets out his ideas. He is also one of our favourite chefs. This is a classic book with practical guidelines for everything from charcuterie making to the art of perfect pasta.

Rather than being organised along traditional lines, this book is, instead, a collection of essays that explore a number of topics in depth. One topic is ripeness – it almost goes without saying that ripeness is desirable, but in these days of supermarkets manipulating fruit and vegetables to suit the demands of long-haul travel many items are certainly either not ripe or have ripeness induced artificially.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli

11 – The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan

Even though it was published in the mid-seventies we still think The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan is the best of Marcella’s books.

Marcella Hazan is a feisty character who is highly opinionated in a very nice way. She ‘believes’ in Italian food and she knows how to cook it therefore she expresses her opinions about how it should be done forcefully and with a great deal of clarity.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan

12 – La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange by Evelyn Saint-Ange

La Bonne Cuisine by Saint-Ange

Madame E. Saint-Ange is an enigma. Little has been written about her in the English language and we can find very few accounts of her life in the French language either, although it is clear that she was a French woman by the name of Marie Ebrard who, for many years, wrote a cooking column for the magazine Le Pot au Feu.

La bonne cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange is a beloved classic of the French cooking literature. We are lucky that Chez Panisse co-founder and lover of all things French, Paul Aratow, decided to take on the mammoth and exacting task of translating her extraordinary work into English.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange by Evelyn Saint-Ange

13 – The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander

Stephanie Alexander

The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander is one of those truly great cookbooks that rank alongside The Joy of Cooking and La Bonne Cuisine in terms of the influence the books have had in their home country and beyond.

Many people write about food, but there are few true food writers. Only a handful combine a deep understanding of and appreciation for food and at the same time are able to convey a clear and concise message. Stephanie Alexander is one such writer.

After running a succession of highly acclaimed restaurants in Melbourne, Stephanie Alexander gradually moved into food communication, writing a classic cookbook and making personal and media appearances to spread her messages about the importance of food and wine in daily life.

First published in 1996, The Cook’s Companion has recently been revised, rewritten and re-released.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander

14 – Land of Plenty:  A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop

Land of Plenty

Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop is a valuable addition to our knowledge of the vibrant and complex cuisine of the Sichuan province of China. The fiery dishes have not been dumbed down for timid Western palates.

Her writing is both scholarly yet engaging and we love the stories that she has to tell about the region, the people and the highly addictive food.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Land of Plenty:  A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop

15 – Cuisine Minceur by Michel Guérard

Cuisine Minceur by Michel Guérard is one of our favourite and most cherished cookbooks from the 1970s when the Cuisine Minceur craze was sweeping the Western world.

Michael Guérard eschewed the use of fat and encouraged us to eat really well without the unhealthy bits. But the recipes were exciting and accessible even if exacting.

We had to make sure that we used .25 of a teaspoon and not .5 of a teaspoon. But the fresh tomato soup with pounded basil was a revelation. The use of arachide oil and fromage blanc was exciting for the time, thus making the Aubergine Caviar recipe one to treasure.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Cuisine Minceur by Michel Guérard

16 – The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Alice Waters is not only a great chef she is also a talented writer. The Art of Simple Food gives us an insight into why Chez Panisse has been such a great restaurant for such a long time.

A visit to Chez Panisse in 1985 literally changed the way we thought about food. Everything we were served appeared simple, but it was all absolutely delicious!

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

17 – Good Things by Jane Grigson

All of Jane Grigson’s books are packed with authoritative information and wonderful recipes that work and Good Things is no exception.

We could have chosen any of Grigson’s books for this review, however we finally decided on this collection of essays because of some of the heartfelt writing in the introduction.

In it she pleads for people to contribute to the deepening of the food culture and to eschew fast foods and return to the roots of cooking that deliver so much pleasure at the table.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Good Things by Jane Grigson

18 – The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden

Roden Jweish food

The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden is a scholarly yet approachable survey of Jewish food and cooking techniques throughout the world.

This lengthy tome is the result of fifteen years of painstaking research by author Claudia Roden. Jewish food from Morocco, Europe, the Middle East, Iran, India and even as far as China is surveyed and chronicled.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden

19 – Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Julia child Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child deserves its place in every food lover’s collection. The recipes are written with rare precision and make no concessions to the “quick and easy” brigade or the “low-fat, low-flavour” movement.

After the war her husband was stationed at the American Embassy in Paris and it was here that Julia developed her passion for French food and cooking that was to remain with her for the rest of her long life.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

20 – La Cuisine du Comté de Nice by Jacques Médecin

Jacques Medecin Cuisine Nicoise

La Cuisine du Comté de Nice is a classic book from the highly opinionated Mayor of Nice Jacques Médecin setting out exactly what the wonderful cuisine of the Nice area is and how it should be prepared.

If you have ever wondered what the exact ingredients for a Niçoise Salad should be, then this is the source you should turn to.

And so, Jacques Médecin begins his tour of Niçoise cuisine. And why? In his own words:

Because it seems to me that I belong to the last generation which has had traditional recipes handed down to it.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

La Cuisine du Comté de Nice by Jacques Médecin

21 – The Glorious Foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas

The Glorious Foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas is a masterful book that surveys the breadth and depth of traditional Greek cooking in a lively, entertaining yet scholarly way.

The chapters are organised by region rather than recipe type and this helps to provide an understanding of the many regional differences that occur from the depths of the Peleponnese to the northern shores of the Aegean that push up against Turkey.

It is a key book for anyone wanting to understand the true cooking of this fascinating country.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Glorious Foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas

22 – Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton

When Mrs Beeton was writing her books, the notions of household management and good cooking were inextricably linked. In fact she saw good and organised cooking as a way of enticing the men back from their clubs into the family fold!

An essential reference for all those food lovers who are interested in tracking down old recipes and making judgements about how techniques are changing (or even more interestingly staying the same). This is a major work by an important writer.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton

23 – The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer

Fannie Farmer was born in Boston in 1857. Although destined for medical school, a serious illness forced her to change her plans and she, instead, attended the Boston Cooking School studying under Mary Lincoln. She graduated in 1889.

Within a short time she was appointed Director, a position she held until 1902. While in that position she complied and edited the now famous Boston Cooking-School Cook Book which was published in 1896 and also the justifiably less well known book called Chafing Dish Possibilities.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer

24 – Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson

Roast Chicken and other stories by Simon Hopkinson with Lindsey Bareham is a great cookbook for a number of reasons. The first is the format. It explores about forty small topics, a chapter at a time presenting a few recipes for each topic. The second is that he seems to favour classic recipes and just wants to make them easy to cook and for them to be more satisfying. And the third reason is that the things he writes about are the things we like to eat.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Roast Chicken and Other Stories

25 – Flavors of the Riviera by Colman Andrews

Flavors of the Riviera by Colman Andrews

Flavors of the Riviera by Colman Andrews is an insightful and thoroughly-researched survey of the true food of north-west Italy and southern France.

When Colman Andrews decides to tackle a food topic he does so with a thoroughness that is commendable. He has an uncanny ability to locate the ‘right’ people to help him understand the local cuisine and local produce.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Flavors of the Riviera by Colman Andrews

26 – European Peasant Cookery by Elisabeth Luard

European Peasant Cookery is yet another important contribution from Elisabeth Luard and her publisher Grub Street with this massive survey of food from 25 countries from Turkey to Iceland.

We get the overwhelming feeling that what this book does is codify recipes from across many European countries that otherwise may have ceased to be known as new generations turned to fast foods and supermarket ‘convenience‘ packages rather than continue the traditions of their ancestors.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

European Peasant Cookery by Elisabeth Luard

27 – The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy

The Essential Cuisines of Mexico is a compendium of Diana Kennedy’s three major works, The Cuisines of Mexico, The Tortilla Book, and Mexican Regional Cooking. Kennedy writes with authority and an obvious love for the country, the people and the food.

Some writers have called Diana Kennedy the Julia Child of Mexican cooking. Both were enthusiastic amateur cooks who became the spokesperson for an entire cuisine – Child for American cuisine and Kennedy for Mexican.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy

28 – The Legendary Cuisine of Persia by Margaret Shaida

This Glenfiddich Food Book of the Year award winner is one of the best surveys of this important cuisine. Margaret Shaida includes much information on the cultural history of Persia (Iran) as well as many insights into the techniques required for reproducing the recipes in the home kitchen.

Margaret Shaida was born in the United Kingdom but married an Iranian and went to live in that country for 25 years. It was here that she learned Persian cooking techniques from her extended family. She also became obsessed with the Tehran markets and the beautiful produce they offered.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Legendary Cuisine of Persia by Margaret Shaida

29 – The Cookery Book of Lady Clark of Tillypronie by Charlotte Clark

The Cookery Book of Lady Clark of Tillypronie is a vast collection of English and Scottish domestic recipes collected over 50 years in the nineteenth century.

This is a valuable collection of British recipes transcribed (primarily for her own use rather than for publication) by Lady Clark of Tillypronie between 1841 and 1897. It was assembled into a book and published after her death at the request of her husband.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Cookery Book of Lady Clark of Tillypronie by Charlotte Clark

30 – South East Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden

An authoritative survey of south-east Asian cuisine by one of the world’s authorities on the subject, Rosemary Brissenden.

In her introduction to this revised and rewritten version of her classic cookbook, Rosemary Brissenden says “I believe cooks feel most comfortable when they know something of both the culinary and cultural contexts of the food they are preparing”. With this we heartily agree!

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

South East Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden

31 – Chinese Gastronomy by Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin

Lin Yutang is a distinguished Chinese artist. His wife (Tsuifeng Lin) and daughter (Hsiang Ju Lin) have used his artistic skills to decorate this important book on Chinese cuisine.

We really like the fact that the authors of this book have not tried to separate the food from the cultural and historical context. In fact they have put these front and centre.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Chinese Gastronomy by Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin

32 – Indonesian Regional Cooking by Sri Owen

Sri Owen, the author of highly-regarded The Rice Book, is also an expert on regional Indonesian cooking – which is no easy task considering the myriad influences from both nearby Malaysia and from the west that combine to make this such an interesting array of cuisines. This book is an important survey of the variety of cooking styles that contribute to the cuisine of this vast archipelago.

Indonesian Regional Cooking by Sri Owen is widely regarded as a classic book on Indonesian food. As with most seminal food writings, there are a number of different publications and variations of Sri Owen’s masterpiece.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

Indonesian Regional Cooking by Sri Owen

33 – The Whole Beast:  Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson

Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson is a small, elegant book packed full of great recipes that can be attempted in the home kitchen. While some are for the more adventurous, most are quite straightforward, yet delicious.

We made a special detour to London to make sure that we could eat at Fergus Henderson’s St John restaurant. And we were not disappointed.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Whole Beast:  Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson

34 – The Picayune Creole Cook Book

A significant cookbook compiled at the end of the nineteenth century that aimed to preserve the wonderful Creole recipes of Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular.

The recipes are just as relevant now as they were then. It deserves a place in the Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks for the role it has played in preserving Creole recipes.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Picayune Creole Cook Book

35 – The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert entreats us to take more time in preparing for and cooking our foods. As usual with her books, this one has well-crafted recipes that are precise and easy to follow.

A welcome relief among all those ‘quick and easy’ recipe books that are cluttering the shelves of the bookstores.

You can read a more detailed review by clicking on the link below:

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert

36 – Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

It is no wonder that the Moosewood Cookbook is one of the best selling cookbooks ever! It is written with imagination and directness and the recipes are easy to imagine and to prepare.

37 – River Café Italian Kitchen by Gray and Rogers

River Café Italian Kitchen by Gray and Rogers is a compendium of recipes and techniques from the owners of the wonderful restaurant on the banks of the Thames in London that we enjoy visiting so much.

38 – The Cuisine of Armenia by Sonia Uvezian

The Cuisine of Armenia by Sonia Uvezian deserves its place in every food lover’s library because it clearly and precisely explains the vibrant and exciting dishes that comprise the cuisine of this now small country that sits at the crossroads of the world. We could have chosen a book from nearby Georgia for the Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks but we think this book will reward anyone who reads it.

39 – Miss Parloa’s New Cookbook by Maria Parloa

Miss Parloa’s New Cookbook by Maria Parloa is sub-titled A Guide to Marketing and Cooking and is a thorough survey of recipes and cooking techniques and utensils available towards the end of the 19th Century. Maria Parloa was a very influential author and lecturer.

40 – Delights from the Garden Of Eden by Nawal Nasrallah

Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraq Cuisine by Nawal Nasrallah is a recent classic that should be a feature of every food lover’s library.

41 – Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer

The Joy of Cooking was first published in 1931. It quickly became a classic cookbook in the United States and also became very popular in the United Kingdom. Some of the later editions were updated by Irma’s daughter Marion Becker.

42 – Mediterranean Cookery by Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden is one of the best modern-day writers on the food of the Middle East and Mediterranean. This is one of the books that ensured her place in the history of food writing.

43 – All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking by Molly Stevens

All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking by Molly Stevens is an excellent book about an intriguing topic. We love the technique of braising whether it be for meats or vegetables or legumes or nuts. This book sets out the techniques required in appealing detail.

44 – What Mrs Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking by Abby Fisher

What Mrs Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking is an intriguing book by an ex-slave from Mobile, Alabama who worked as a chef in San Francisco in the second half of the 19th Century. This is the oldest known African-American cookbook published in America. This collection of 160 authentic old Southern recipes was originally published in San Francisco in 1881.

45 – Classic Russian Cooking by Elena Molokhovets

Classic Russian Cookery: A gift to young housewives is a significant book in the history of Russian cuisine and one of the great utilitarian cookbooks of the world ranking alongside Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion, Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families and La bonne cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange. It was a ‘must-have’ book for every household in Russia in the 19th century. It was first published in 1861.

46 – Middle Eastern Cookery by Arto der Haroutunian

Arto der Haroutunian is a brilliant observer of the food of the Middle East and North Africa. Each of his publications has become a classic in its own right. We have chosen his wonderful book on the food of the Middle East to represent his writings in this collection of great cookbooks.

It is a thoroughly researched, clearly written classic that is worth returning to again and again whenever you feel inspired to cook any of the great dishes of this region.

The author is an interesting character. He was born in Aleppo in Syria and therefore was lucky enough to be initially raised in one of the great food centres of the world, in fact the home of the famous Muhammarah walnut and pomegranate sauce among many other fabulous dishes.

47 – Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook is a beautiful book full of delicious recipes that you immediately want to try out. Authored by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi the book is a compendium of some 140 recipes divided among vegetables (including sections on eggplant, greens and root vegetables), meat and fish, baking and patisserie and a final section on tips for your larder.

48 – Polish Heritage Cookery by Robert and Maria Strybel

Polish Heritage Cookery by Robert and Maria Strybel is a massive tome covering all aspects of Polish cookery and weighing in at 850 pages of text. It is more than a simple recipe book, however. The authors make an effort to explain why each dish is eaten and by whom and under what circumstances thus providing an interesting cultural context for the recipes.

49 – The Colonial Cookbook by The Aristologist

The Colonial Cook Book by The Aristologist who was the Tasmanian politician Edward Abbot is a fascinating guide to the food scene in the colonies in the middle of the 19th Century. He was growing 26 different varieties of basil in this British colony at the time! He was also deeply into eating the local fauna including possums and wallaby.

50 – Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer

Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer surveys the recipes of her native New Orleans and is an excellent book to add to your cookbook collection if you are interested in the cuisine of this fascinating city.

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