Friday, 8 October 2010

Ol' Faves

Recently as the Aussie dollar has nearly reached parity with the USD I have been having a look on Amazon at cookbooks.

I collect them.  Am a sucker for them.  Can never have enough of them.  LOVE them.  Covet Nigella's collection of them.  Do you get the idea?

Actually I LOVE books in general.  I love the smell of old paperbacks.  I love looking at cover design.  I LOVE reading.  I love buying books for my children who I am happy have ALL caught the reading bug.  I have always dreamed of having an ol' fashioned 'library'- you know one of those dark mysterious rooms with a big comfy chesterfield and a sliding ladder to reach the books high up (actually I need one for the books on the third shelf as I am really short- but anyway.....). 

Anyway I hopped on the interweb as I love to do and was in search in particular for Japanese cookbooks.  I have searched for a long time for a Japanese cookbook that gives me more than Teriyaki recipes.  I have found it impossibly I was excited when I found these.

I did some research and found a couple that I thought would make a good start.  And of course I stumbled upon another book that I HAD to have- you know how much I LOVE dumplings!.

It got me thinking about what my favourite cookbook was.  I don't know that I can answer that as I have phases of cooking.  The weather influences it too.  In winter the old European slow cooked style of cooking takes favour or of course a rich curry.  Whereas in summer more light Asian style food feels more appropriate.

So then my thoughts moved to the most influential cookbooks on my shelf.  The cookbooks that have affected my cooking the most.

I came up with two out of all the hundreds I own.  They were cookbooks that were on my parents cookbook shelf when I was growing up and were the books that I used when I first started cooking 30 years ago.  Copies of both of these cookbooks are on all five of their children's shelves now as adults- as they were also influential to my other siblings.  And now my children are cooking from them also.

It made me smile when I thought of that.!!!  GUILTY YOUR HONOUR

So what are these two cookbooks?

The first is one is Charmaine Solomon's  Complete Asian Cookbook

My copy was given to me by my sister when I moved out of home aged 18.

It contains the first recipe I ever cooked for the family aged 10 which is now a favourite of my children.  Kukul Mas curry.  It is a well loved (read 'well splashed on') page.  This cookbook is still in print after being first published in 1976.  A testament to it's popularity.

The other ol' fave is Ada Boni's Italian Regional Cooking.  First published in 1969.

It has been out of print for many years but all five children from my family have managed to hunt down copies from far across the globe.  I found mine in a gorgeous second hand book shop in Canberra when I was 19 but it has taken other of my siblings many years to find.

My sister in law recently took hold of a copy for my brother as a birthday present.  She has been waiting two years for a booksearch place to find her a copy.  They went together to collect it.  It was a surprise- he thought he might be going to collect a new industrial coffee machine (my siblings also share my passion for coffee) but was not the least bit disappointed when it was a copy of 'Ada Boni' - as we all refer to it!  It's a very special book.

 It is separated into the regions of Italy and contains very few pictures- and the ones it does have are of that fabulous styling of the era...take a look.   I LOVE!

This was my 'go to' book when Mr.10 bought the tripe from the market. (Click here to go that post.)  I knew it would help us out.  It did & it was delicious.  A reminder that good old fashioned simple cuisine is so often the best!

Do you have any cookbooks that are ol' faves or new faves for that matter or perhaps one that has influenced you?

I would love to hear about them.

And today I share an ol' music fave:

Join me on my journey......


  1. Beautiful music, beautiful food ... have tried and tried to duplicate O'Hash's renowned Gyoza from my days in Kanuma ... Shishimo or Yaki Soba ... alas i dont have the gift ... just wonderful memories that the food always evokes! Thank you for another wonderful post!

  2. For the basics, I find myself endlessly returning to two tried but not tired cookbooks. The good ol' Commonsense that my nan used (her imperial-measurement version would come in handy right now, as I"m in the US!). And, of course, the Joy of Cooking, originally penned by Irma Rombauer more than 75 years ago. The latest edition is a little less heavy on the lard and lacks the diagrams of how to butcher a squirrel, but otherwise is quite excellent. :)

  3. Dear GG, Thanks. I am a cookbook addict. I remember seeing an EP of Kylie Kwong and she had a library in her kitchen and ever since I've been collecting cookbooks but I have to say I used them as coffee table books - all looking, no cooking!! But your blog has inspired me - if you can cook sumptuous fare with 5 kids, so can I (with 3)!! My first cook book was PWU Cookbook. An absolute classic with everything from scones to beef stroganoff. Then I married a man who is an amazing 'natural' cook (French mum) and I realise how much having a mother who cooked gives you a headstart - my mum hated cooking! Then, alas, along came Donna Hay's The Instant Cook, great for a beginner like me but her No Time To Cook has the most fabulously flavoursome recipes. She makes a novice feel very capable! So for me, it's Donna, Neil Perry for meat, Alice Waters Chez Panisse for pasta (wonderful seasonal cooking using the most exquisite fresh ingredients), Mrs Alexander's bible for everything and Nigella Lawson for CHOCOLATE CAKE!!! Her book Feast has about 20 chocolate cakes in it! At the moment we're doing Stephane Reynaud's 365 reasons to sit down to eat which is packed with the most amazing, inspiring recipes with a dose of French humour. We did his oysters with radish vinaigrette tonight, doing his cabbage soup tomorrow and salmon tartare later in the week. On Sat night plan to use Gourmet Girlfriend pizza base recipe with Alice Waters 3 pepper pizza ie. red, yellow and green capsicums pre-fried plonked on pizza base topped with garlic pork sausages. Cookbooks are inspirational - passion on a page - and so is this blog!!! Thanks XXXXX Kate

  4. Dad is Italian and from a family in the food/restaurant business and Mum (Irish/English)...Ummm let's just say she did her best as the mother of five. Mum was responsible for all our weekday meals but THANKFULLY Dad took over on the weekends with yummo Saturday lunches with anti pasti a favourite and prosciutto con melone a winner! Mum had the Leggo's Italian Cookbook and whenever I see it it brings back massive memories..the great illustrations, the rich photography (for the mid 70's) and some of the recipes that I loved to eat and help make. When I left home at 19...I got myself my own copy and I still have it today.

  5. another ripper post. I am also loving the music selections. That Lou Redd track is one, maybe my al time fave. It brings to mind that music often conjures up particulasr reminisces. With this one for me it was the endless bus trip with the Eiffe's to Fraser Island, and lazing around there for a couple of weeks.

    Greg xx

  6. I just rememered I did do a post about cookbooks a while back and thought I'd link it here...Strangely I did not mention the Leggo's Cookbook - it was you who prompted my memories of it! Anywho, here's the linky-dink


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