The Food Lovers' Cookbook Collection
The Food Lovers' Cookbook Collection has been assembled by the Foodtourist team to help guide you through the maze of wonderful food writing that is now flooding the market. Some of it is recent writing, some is almost two hundred years old - but it is all relevant to our understanding of cooking today.
We need to carefully explain how we have chosen our favourite books. First, they are books that fall into the category of cookbooks or recipe books. Therefore you will not find Harold McGee's wonderful classic On Food and Cooking or Alan Davidson's The Oxford Companion to Food nor will you find the philosophic musings of Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
We have then made a judgement about the impact the book has had throughout the world.
Obviously, Escoffier has had an enormous effect on chefs from many countries over a very long period of time. Elizabeth David's works have been treasured on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. David Thompson's book on Thai Food has helped reveal to the world the complexity and harmony of this cuisine.
And so we came up with our list. We hope to soon create another list of our favourite reference books so that Harold McGee, Hervé This, Alan Davidson and others can also be recognised here for their efforts.
So our list lies below.
1 - Le Guide Culinaire: A Guide to Modern Cookery by Auguste Escoffier
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.Read a detailed review
2 - French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David
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!
3 - Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi
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
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.
4 - La bonne cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange by Evelyn 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.Read a detailed review
5 - Time Life 'The Good Cook' Series with Richard Olney (editor)
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.
6 - Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold
Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking is a revolutionary series of cookbooks that explore the science of cooking and the techniques required to reveal that science. The series is as groundbreaking as the Time Life Good Cook series was all those years ago. The books were produced as a project of polymath chef Nathan Myhrvold who worked as the Chief Technology Officer for Bill Gates at Microsoft until he resigned to concentrate on his first love - cooking!Read a detailed review
7 - 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.Read a detailed review
8 - Modern Cookery for private families by Eliza Acton
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.
9 - 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
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.
10 - The Zuni Café Cookbook 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.Read a detailed review
11 - Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli
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.Read a detailed review
12 - 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.Read a detailed review
13 - 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.Read a detailed review
14 - 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!Read a detailed review
15 - The Cook's Companion by 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.
16 - Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop
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.Read a detailed review
17 - 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
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.
One of the most emblematic recipes of the time was the crab salad with grapefruit - it heralded the onslaught of new flavour combinations. The combination of crab meat, green beans, asparagus, grapefruit, radicchio and chervil was as radical as Che Guevara's plans for South America.
18 - Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop
Fuchsia Dunlop wrote the wonderful and authentic compilation of recipes from the Sichuan Province called Land of Plenty, here she has applied those same skills to produce a survey of the Hunan Province in south west China.Read a detailed review
19 - 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.Read a detailed review
20 - 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.Read a detailed review
21 - The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden
The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden is a scholarly yet approachable survey of Jewish food and cooking techniques throughout the world.Read a detailed review
22 - Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
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.Read a detailed review
23 - The New York Times Cook Book by Craig Claiborne
This best-seller was first published in 1961 and underwent a major revision in 1990. We still like the original as it provides a useful snapshot of American cooking at that time. Many of the recipes are timeless and don't need to be updated.Read a detailed review
24 - Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller is subtitled Family-Style Recipes which is a signal that the recipes are likely to be approachable and do not require elaborate preparation. And on reading the book many are able to be implemented by the home cook.Read a detailed review
25 - La Cuisine du Comté de Nice by Jacques Médecin
La Cuisine du Comté de Nice is a classic book from the highly opiniated 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.Read a detailed review
26 - 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. It is a key book for anyone wanting to understand the true cooking of this fascinating country.Read a detailed review
27 - Catalan Cuisine by Colman Andrews
Colman Andrews in this major work provides us with stunning insight into the wonderful world of Catalan Cuisine.Read a detailed review
28 - Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton
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.Read a detailed review
29 - The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer
The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook was written by Fannie Farmer in 1896 and quickly became one of the most popular cook books in the United States.Read a detailed review
30 - 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.Read a detailed review
31 - Larousse Gastronomique
Larousse Gastronomique is a classic reference cookbook that is a compulsory item in every food lover's library.Read a detailed review
32 - 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.Read a detailed review
33 - 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.Read a detailed review
34 - 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.Read a detailed review
35 - 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.Read a detailed review
36 - 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.Read a detailed review
37 - 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.Read a detailed review
38 - 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. This is much more than a recipe book, providing a sound cultural context for the lovely recipes presented in this compelling book.Read a detailed review
39 - 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.Read a detailed review
40 - 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.Read a detailed review
41 - El Bulli 1998 - 2002 by Ferran Adria
The modern classic by the master of el Bulli, Ferran Adria. A great book to help you reminisce about your visit to this iconic restaurant.Read a detailed review
42 - American Cookery by James Beard
James Beard is one of the most acclaimed food writers of the post-war period and American Cookery is one of his best publications.Read a detailed review
43 - 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.Read a detailed review
44 - 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.Read a detailed review
45 - 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.Read a detailed review
46 - 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.Read a detailed review
47 - Salt to Taste by Marco Canora
Salt to Taste is a very practical book that provides great advice for reproducing the soulful food that Marco Canora presents at Hearth and the Terroir bars in New York.Read a detailed review
48 - The Book of Armenian Cooking by Sonia Uvezian
The Book of Armenian Cooking 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.Read a detailed review
49 - 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.Read a detailed review
50 - Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France by Curnonsky
Curnonsky was the nom-de-plume of the great French gourmand Maurice-Edmond Sailland. He was concerned about the internationalisation of food brought about by hotel chains at the start of the twentieth century therefore collected and published a broad range of traditional French provincial recipes to ensure that they were preserved and promoted.Read a detailed review
51 - 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.Read a detailed review
52 - Joy of Cooking by Irma S. 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.Read a detailed review
53 - Bouchon by Thomas Keller
Bouchon is a massive tome from the prodigious Thomas Keller and his colleague Jeffrey Cerciello. For those who found the recipes in The French Laundry cookbook exacting, the recipes here are much more accessible but still stamped with the same purity and excellence of technique.Read a detailed review
54 - The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller
A great cookbook by Thomas Keller of the famous French Laundry in Yountville, California.Read a detailed review
55 - The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells
Patricia Wells has created a lovely book that details the great recipes of Provence along with a guide to the markets, shops and eating places of this amazing region.Read a detailed review
56 - Desserts by Pierre Hermé by Dorrie Greenspan and Pierre Hermé
Whenever we arrive in Paris, one of our first stops is Pierre Hermé's jewel-box shop on the Left Bank. Every piece of patisserie is a work of art, glistening and inviting you in to the store, to spend like there is no tomorrow!Read a detailed review
57 - Tetsuya by Tetsuya Wakuda
A bright, colourful, clearly-written collection of the recipes of Australia's master chef - Tetsuya Wakuda.Read a detailed review
58 - Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking by Giuliano Bugialli
Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking by Giuliano Bugialli is a major tour of Italian cooking techniques.Read a detailed review
59 - 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.Read a detailed review
60 - Authentic Vietnamese Cooking by Corinne Trang
Corinne Trang presents a collection of authentic Vietnamese recipes designed to ensure that Western cooks can start to unravel the mysteries of this important cuisine.Read a detailed review
61 - Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su Huei
Huang Su Huei's Chinese Cuisine is a long-lasting classic of the Chinese repertoire. The recipes contained within are very brave for the early 1970s with cold jellyfish appearing in the first page.Read a detailed review
62 - L'Art Culinaire Moderne by Henri-Paul Pellaprat
Henri-Paul Pellaprat first published L'Art Culinaire Moderne (Modern Culinary Art) in 1935. It contains literally thousands of recipes (in the Escoffier tradition) and dozens of practical menus and hints on cooking techniques. He is best known as the founder of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris.Read a detailed review