FoodInk Kitchen – Kate’s Blog
I love a good cookbook. I love the recipe titles, notes from the author as to what their inspirations were; the food styling (one of the jobs I used to do, but can't get to these days!) and the wide range of gourmet ingredients that you just have to have on hand. Sometimes we only have to see the title or the photo of the food recipe & we can take our version of it & turn it into an appetizer instead of the main dish it once was. I think we have over 400 cookbooks between foodink shelves & my own kitchen library...but it's never enough! Our food team sits around flipping through our favourites, riffing menus for clients, getting new inspirations & ideas or going back to the amazing basics - like Jane Grigson's Fish Cookery; Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, and Stephanie Alexander's recipe compendium called “The Cook’s Companion” (check her out, the Julia Child of Australia!). Her collection of recipes detail every possible food concept that you could want – the sort of book you need by you when looking in the fridge & you see a random scarlet globe of beetroot – she has so many ideas for what to do with it, you’ll immediately be inspired.
Our current modern go-tos are Cocina Nueva by Jane Lawson (sold in the states as “Spanish Kitchen” ) for new tapas ideas; Maurizio Terzini’s “Something Italian” (even his pizzas are stylish) & “Pier” By Greg Doyle, for incredible fish recipes & presentations and “Middle East CookBook” by a friend’s amazing mother, Tess Mallos. It’s one of the first ones I ever bought, and remains a staple in the kitchen. Sorry – we are a little biased towards the antipodes at the moment – and even Ruth Reichl & S. Irene Virbila agree that what is happening in food in Australia is at the forefront of interesting menus around the world. I’ve just suddenly realized that we are attracted to cookbook covers that have a lot of red on them!
We also browse second hand book stores looking for the rare editions, unusual or no longer published ones, like good english translations of the Larousse Gastronomique, or L’Arte Culinaire.
A few years ago I found The South American Gentleman’s Companion, beautifully bound in blue linen, by Charles H Baker Jr; with the subtitles “Volume 1 being an Exotic Cookery Book and Volume II being an Exotic Drinking Book” which has actually been more invaluable for developing our classic cocktails, infusions & elixirs bar ideas. Sample drink titles are “Guyaquil Spirit Egg Nog” and the recipe begins: “our second evening in this intriguing port city we were walking down the Malecon with Don Eduardo…” – that makes you immediately want to join him in his libation! Another of my favourites is the “Chilean Vina del Mar Scabbard Cocktail”, which contains the priceless phrasing : “which is 1 all the ladies admire exceedingly” This book was first published in 1947. Some of the food “receipts” would be a hard sell in health & socially conscious Los Angeles’ event world : “Doves deep fried in true latin ranch style”.
Another amazing book we have collected (one my mother actually found for me at Strand Books in New York) is Amy’ Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookery Book. First published in 1961, it notes “drawings by Andrew Warhol” – unfortunately, not a first edition!
I think now so fondly of the Cook's Library, once on 3rd Street in Los Angeles -- how on earth did this close?! So it is with great anticipation that I look forward to the Southern Californian CookBook Sale on Sunday, August 22 at the Hollywood Farmers Market from 8am until the books are sold! (link: http://slowfoodla.com/2010/08/culinary-historians-of-southern-california-cookbook-sale/). I am definitely getting together a hot list of foodie books I am looking for (MFK Fisher, old James Beard, classic Frances Parkinson Keyes)
Other ones we love – there is not enough blog in the world to cover books!
Plenty Yottam Ottolenghi
Le Guide Culinaire – August Escoffier
Mediterranean Cookery by Claudia Roden
Thai Food – David Thompson
My favourite ingredients – Skye Gyngell
World of the East Vegetarian Cookery – Madhur Jaffrey
Look up, Cook up & Enjoy!