It was my birthday yesterday, and my fiancé had no chance of winning the gift giving competition when my friend handed me a copy of Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook signed by the Queen of Cookery herself.
The message was as sweet as I expect her Nutella chocolate cheesecake will be (page 175).
There has been alot of discussion about the inevitable demise of physical books from our lives. Page-turning is a dying pastime and instead, more and more of us are finding ourselves giving up and joining the masses in tablet reading. Even my future mother-in-law has recently acquired an iPad – and this paper-page turning aficionado has confessed that she loves it. It will only be a matter of time before we see a Kindle in her hands.
While I will also eventually switch to enjoying my love of cheesy-novels in this way, I will never, ever, give up acquiring cook books. Does this ring true for you too?
I’ve heard it said before: It’s ridiculous to pay good money (sometimes up to $100) for a cookbook when you can access a ga-zillion recipes for nothing via the world-wide-web.
There are apps available where you can enter a few available ingredients from your fridge/cupboards, and it will scan it’s database of tried and tested recipes and pump out an option for you for tonight’s meal in seconds.
Handy, yes. Special? Joyful? Indulgent? Not at all.
All foodies will tell you there is something fabulous about scanning a handful of your favourite cookbooks, choosing a recipe that sparks something in your tummy that says ‘oh yum!’, and then going about a routine of hunting and gathering and creating the dish for your loved ones.
And, I’m sure you’d agree, there is also nothing quite like flicking the pages of a cookbook on a Sunday afternoon. Not for any other reason but the pure joy of seeing the way different cooks create masterpieces from sometimes simple, and sometimes complicated ingredients.
Don’t get me wrong. We are lucky to have a meal more than once a week where I have followed a recipe to create it. Most of the time it’s an old faithful-off-the-top-of-my-head basic meal – a pasta, meat and three vege, something vegetarian – just like every other Australian household. And yes, I absolutely use online recipes from blogs, food networks, and even sometimes social media for a quick option, but that’s perhaps what makes these moments of enjoying my cook books and the meals they produce even more special.
So in light of my most treasured birthday gift, I thought it would be fun to share my current (because it always changes) top 3 cook books with you. These books are not only gorgeous to flip through, but I also go back to them time and time again for enjoyable easy cooking.
The Best of Bill – by Bill Granger
I originally bought this as a Christmas gift for J1 with the hope it might inspire some action. It didn’t work. But at least I got a beautiful book of Bills never fail recipes (and I mean never), to enjoy myself.
5 of the best by Valli Little & Delicious Magazine
A gift from my mum. This book is brilliant. And it’s a cute concept. The best recipes from Delicious Magazine have been put together in a format with the theme: “5 of the best”. For example, 5 of the best soups, 5 of the best pasta recipes, 5 of the best desserts…. You get the idea.
Again (an essential part of my approach to cooking) these recipes just don’t seem to fail. Tick.
The Sustainable Table
I have talked about this book a couple of times in the sorella-hood – see here and here. And for good reason. If there is one book you will allow yourself to buy in the coming year please make it this one. Not only does it have a heap of gorgeous recipes and interesting info on eating more sustainably (it is easier than you think), all profits go towards the work of the organisation. So everyone wins. You can find out more here and buy the most recent edition of the book online here.
What are your top 3 cookbooks?