Most useful cookery books

After just putting up my own review of Stephanie Alexander‘s The Cook’s Companion a couple of days ago, I was delighted to see it featured in the Waitrose Food Illustrated Magazine’s top ten most useful cookery books.

My other favourite from the list, by a long shot, is Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food. I asked for this for Christmas ten years ago, fell in love with the man’s simple yet tasty ideas and have become a convert to Nigel Slater’s sensual and mouthwatering writing ever since. His food column is the main reason that I started to buy The Observer on Sundays and, since coming out to New Zealand, my mother faithfully posts the Slater-edited Observer Food Monthly out every month. I ended up getting Real Fast Puddings later that year – in fact, I blame him and that book for my never-ending Crumble fascination – and have since collected the rest of his books including the particular well-used Appetite: So What Do You Want to Eat Today?

I don’t have many dealings with Delia Smith’s books, although have been known to buy them for the members of my family that wouldn’t be so practiced in cooking, but I have become a fan of her website. It’s a useful resource to have on hand when you’re looking for a reliable recipe for Flapjacks at a moment’s notice or, for those of you living in that side of the world, what fruit and vegetables are in season and what’s good to do with them.

Several of the other books on the list – Claudia Roden’s A New Book of Middle Eastern Food, the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook by Alice Waters and Elizabeth David Classics – are on my eventually get round to reading stack of books. At this stage I think I’ve taken Elizabeth David books out of the library about three times and never had time to read more than the first few pages before it’s due back! Some day…



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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5 Responses

  1. Barbara says:

    I think I’m a little in love with Nigel also! I have three of his books. Recently received the Neil Perry book for my birthday. Not up to Nige’s writing but there are some really useful tips scattered throughout his writing. Tips only a chef would know.My scone recipe is now posted. Let me know if you try it.

  2. Caroline says:

    Ah…Nigel. I am missing him. Without my weekly Observer fix, I have to log on and check out his column online. It’s just not the same though – you can’t exactly read the computer over Sunday morning breakfast at the table with any comfort. I’ve bought Real Fast Food for so many friends to much success. I think I’ll need to invest in a new copy for myself at some stage, the old one has got so dog-eared! It was the only cookbook that I allowed myself to pack when travelling to New Zealand. I must admit that it’s no longer on its own on the shelf as I’ve not been able to resist purchasing a few more books – as well as Cuisine, the Donna Hay Magazine and yesterday I just picked up a copy of the just launched Taste food magazine. All stacked neatly on the cookbook shelf, of course!

  3. Barbara says:

    Taste were offering a great subscription offer at the Food Show today. $39.95 for 12 months plus a bag of goodies.

  4. Caroline says:

    I’m working my way through Taste at the moment and it’s not a bad read – not quite on the Cuisine level though! Were you at the Food Show in Auckland? I was hoping to make it up for it but the Boyfriend’s birthday put a stop to that. How was it?

  5. Barbara says:

    I went to the Preview day and it was excellent – no crowds. I’ve finally posted a few pictures today.

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