16 Apr 2010

My top ten cookery books

It goes without saying that if I love food more than I love books then I probably love cookery books most of all. Right?

Well that's not exactly true, but I'll admit that the cookery book section of our bookshelves is...ah...diverse and expanding. Exponentially. Sort of like rabbits. Which I like best as paté. Or as a ragù with papardelle. But I'm off on a rabbit trail here.

It is impossible to write a truly comprehensive list of my favourite cook books because the list would change on a monthly basis. All too often the newest is my favourite, just because I've read it the most. It falls out of favour when then next newie comes along. An so on.

Only time tells if a book is a stayer. And so my list may change tomorrow. Nevertheless, this is it today. For what that's worth. My top ten cookery books:
  1. The Cook's Book of Everything by Lulu Grimes
  2. Japanese Cooking - A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji
  3. The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon
  4. The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander
  5. Balance & Harmony - Asian Food by Neil Perry
  6. The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos
  7. The Food of Thailand by Lulu Grimes, Oi Cheepchaiissara and Alan Benson
  8. Maggie's Kitchen by Maggie Beer
  9. Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong
  10. The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Now my list of great books for kids who cook:
  1. Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids by Stephanie Alexander
  2. The Silver Spoon for Children - Favourite Italian Recipes
  3. Cookery the Australian Way by Shirley Cameron and Suzanne Russell
  4. Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander
  5. The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver
  6. Modern Classics 1&2 by Donna Hay
Finally, my family's diet would be far the worse without the inspiration provided by Donna Hay's marvellous magazine. It is a rare edition that doesn't provide me with at least another recipe or two for the recipe box.

Ah, my recipe box. I haven't told you about that, have I? My mother was a professional cook. These are her recipes, mostly. And these are the dishes I prepare most of all.

Mum's writing a cookery book. I can't wait.


  1. Love the sound of all that Asian food!
    I hope you will let us know when your mum publishes her book. I am more of a simple cook so if they are homey recipes you can use all the time that is for me.
    I like to eat the other kind but usually don't have the ingredients, knowhow and time to try them.
    Food glorious food!

  2. I have the Kwong and the Solomon, love them both.

  3. Cool list! How cool too that your own Mother is writing her own cook book! x

  4. Before the internet I was a cook book collector. That Thai Street Food looks great! I just made some "Thai-style" fried rice and Patrick and I loved it, but it could be better! I'd love to spend a day going thru your cookbook collection!

  5. Well this list of books is expanding my taste buds, and kitchen skills already, just by looking at them!

    I am embarressed to share my little collection of 'beginners' cookbooks. Perhaps it is time for me to branch out and be daring. Broaden my cookbook horizons.

  6. I'm more of a cookbook collector than I am a cook, actually. I love to read them! I just counted the cookbooks on and around their shelf here in the kitchen, and I have 48. That's only upstairs. There are more in the basement. And I almost bought more at the used bookstore yesterday.

    Hmm. I may be sensing an obsession here.

  7. I love cook books too and have collected many over the years. Alas, I'm finding that cooking is not in my season of life at present (or atleast the cooking that comes from the cook books I've collected). I mainly stick to the tried and tested easy to cook food that we like at present.
    And like Hopewell, I find that now I use the internet to find specific recipes I need though they don't compare to the real life cook books!

  8. Lovely...I have a very old version of Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book.
    I am looking for a very special present for my friend's 40th...she loves anything to do with Italy...and loves food...any suggestions? Would The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking be the trick?
    Butter Fly

  9. Hi Butter Fly. Take a look at this one:


    That would be my pick for a great Italian cookery book!! It is certainly on my list!

  10. Thanks Jeanne,
    I am ordering it to be sent directly to her home via The Book Depository! It looks amazing!
    Butter Fly


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