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…