Inspired by all the gift guides, here are some thoughts on cookbooks I purchased (or was given) in 2007.
Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
I love Ina Garten’s TV show and especially love to imagine myself living in her shingled East Hampton beach home. (Side note: Another dream-worthy Hamptons house is the one owned by Diane Keaton’s character in Something’s Gotta Give). This book offers a few (but not enough!) voyeuristic glimpses into Garten’s house, as well as her household tips, which can seem a bit pedantic (particularly the section entitled “making a grocery list”). Strangely, though I usually like Garten’s recipes and find them foolproof, I have still not cooked one single recipe from this book. I think it’s because most of the recipes here seem like non-recipes — I mean, do I really need instructions on how to assemble a roasted pepper and goat cheese sandwich? Or, smoked salmon and egg salad tartines — isn’t that just smoked salmon, egg salad and brown bread? To be fair, some of the desserts look luscious.
Moro by Sam & Sam Clark
A paean to the flavors of Spain, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, I purchased this book at my favorite bookshop (perhaps shop) in the world: Books for Cooks: The Cookbook Shop in Notting Hill, London. I have not eaten at Moro, the Clarks’ Arabic-Hispanic restaurant in north London, and, six months after purchasing their cookbook, I still have not made one single recipe from it. (Shameful, isn’t it?) Yet so many of the recipes look delicious and unique — potato, cucumber and fava bean soup, for example, or paella with chicken, artichokes and oloroso sherry. I think I’ve been intimidated by the long lists of ingredients — almost every recipe requires something special — and hyper-detailed instructions.
Recipes from Provence by Andree Maureau
A delightful little book that I purchased in Provence this summer, filled with recipes for Provencal country cooking. Yet — are my fingers going to fall off as I type this? — I have not made any recipes from this book. It may be due to a distracting design — the entire book is in a cursive-script font that is charming but precious, and hard to read. Recipes are slightly vague in the manner of a home cook’s notes, but I am intrigued by the soupe au pistou, ratatouille and four versions of daube.
Cooking with Shelburne Farms by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli
Recently selected as a New York Times notable cookbook (web version), and the subject of this blog’s inaugural cookbook review. My favorite recipes included the cheddar and herb biscuits and duck breast with tart apples and hard cider.
Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld
I still hope to have one last, enormous, DD binge, blowout dinner party before I consider my final thoughts on this cookbook. Until then, favorite recipes include: meatball soup, brownies, cream cheese frosting.
Coming up tomorrow: A few cookbooks I’d like to own (*Christmas hint!).