Since I started this blog, I have unearthed some more cookbooks and one foodie book with recipes, received a couple through BookMooch and bought a couple more, plus I got some from my great aunt who recently moved into a nursing home. That's more cookbooks than I acquired in the last five years put together.
My aim in reading the cookbooks and testing recipes from them is not just to justify owning them, but also an effort to cull the uninteresting ones in favour of buying books that
a) are really interesting, and/or
b) fill a gap in my cookbook collection.
My collection as it is now is heavy on Scandinavian, ingredient (e.g. chicken or chocolate), type (e.g. desserts) and general cookery books, with a noticeable gap where the books on specific ethnic and national cuisines should be.
A search uncovered a French regional cookbook languishing unused amongst my mysteries and I ordered another one, but I still don't have an Italian or Spanish cookbook, nor one on Jewish, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Turkish, Lebanese, sub-Saharan, Caribbean or South-American cookery, all of which interest me (update: I now have Spanish, Italian and Thai cookbooks). I am making an effort to change that, while keeping my collection at about the same size, because I only have limited space for books.
I'm not just looking for cookbooks for those cuisines, but books that will tell me something about the cuisines, about regional differences, ingredients and the historical background of the recipes. I am also interested in the classics, simply because there is usually a good reason why a cookbook gains that status.
Therefore my wishlist also includes the Italian classic The Silver Spoon, the French classic Larousse Gastronomique and the American classic The Joy of Cooking, not to mention a number of classic food writing volumes, for example just about anything by M.F.K. Fisher. If you have a classic or a good ethnic cookery book you would like to recommend, please leave a comment.
Yesterday I received from Amazon a volume of three classic cookery books: Mediterranean Food, French Country Cooking and Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David. I am very much looking forward to browsing through it and trying some of the recipes.
As for the rest:
At home in Provence by Patricia Wells, with photos by Robert Fréson. This book won the James Beard Award for the Best European Cookbook in 1997, so it should be good.
Cookies from the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchens, edited by Susan Bonne.
Kökur Margrétar by Margrét Jónsdóttir. These are cake recipes, some by the author, some translated from a Danish cookbook.
Matargerð er list: Ábætisréttir (original German: Desserts), edited by Annette Wolter with photographs by Rolf Feuz & Karin Mersserli. Desserts.
Matargerð er list: Brauðbakstur (original German: Brot und herzhaftes Gebäck) edited by Annette Wolter with gorgeous photographs by Rolf Feuz & Karin Mersserli. Bread making.
Matargerð er list: Smákökur og sælgæti (origian German: Plätzches und Konfekt), edited by Annette Wolter, with photos by Susi & Pete A. Eising. Cookies and confectionery.
The Book of Thai Cooking, by Hilaire Walden, photos by David Gill. (In Icelandic: Thailensk matargerð).
Top 100 Mediterranean Dishes by Diane Seed. This is an Icelandic translation (100 góðir réttir frá Miðjarðarhafslöndum) of a beautifully decorated (by Sarah Hocombe) cookbook that features dishes from the Mediterranean region. I bought it a couple of years ago on sale, intending it as a gift, but then discovered that the person I intended it for already had a copy, so I decided to keep it for myself.
The foodie book:
Aphrodite: A memoir of the senses by Isabel Allende, with drawings by Robert Shekter and recipes by Panchita Llona. It's strange that I should have forgotten this one when I made the original list, as I had already started reading it then.
I have added the books to the list on the sidebar.