To read is to cook. Anne, what recipe books have you read?


Your last post about your meat dishes finally sparked me to write this post. Sometimes it is hard to write the content ideas I have because I feel as if our readers will think some posts are coming out of left field!

Imagine if I had asked what your favorite cookbooks were after you had posted about The Loop churros or classic Cali burritos? I think at this point I’m not that creative to come up with a topical/meaningful segue to counter your boasting those west coast churros with my own Koreatown churro journey and then bring up my favorite cookbooks. I think the transition would be a little wonky, but this is the time to test our letter-themed blog post workflow.

It is something for me to work on, so thanks for keeping my writing skills sharp! Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming: what cookbooks have you read that influenced your foodie habits today?

I can tell you that three books were instrumental in developing my culinary curiosity. I have learned some techniques, awesome flavor combos and most importantly what not to do when cooking.

The three books happen to be from slightly different regions of the world. Two are (of course) Italian and one Jewish.


Northern Italian Cooking, The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia and Mama Leah’s Jewish Kitchen all have influenced my interest and passion for cooking and baking.

The encyclopedia reference book not only has great recipes, but also informative techniques and reasoning as to why things are the way they are. The encyclopedia feeds my inquisitive nature. I always find myself asking why does this *”roni” fit best with this sauce and why? These types of questions.

*Reference: Roni is short for macaroni. Anne, we never say the word macaroni. It is always what ronis are we having with the bolognese or what pasta do you want? Also, pronounce like how you would the end of the word macaroni, just drop the maca.

The Northern Italian book simply has the most insanely delicious recipes that leave you mouth watering. In some of the recipes you can definitely taste some of the southern France and Provencal influence.

The Jewish cookbook always made me laugh. It is comprised of homey concoctions employing simple techniques that are easy to follow. Included in it are various versions of the same recipe from different cultures/lands because the Jews are (or were) nomads. In two pages you can experience different versions of braised meats and noodle dishes like kugel from the Mediterranean, German and Middle Eastern cultures.

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There is also one more feature that no blog post, online community, cooking website or printed cookbook (that I have seen) include. This feature is what I truly love about this cookbook. Mama Leah adds a personal story to each recipe. The anecdote is no more than a paragraph—unlike modern blog posts that write for days and include the recipe in the last three sentences.

I hate when I come across that! I came to that site for the recipe not a hard to digest diatribe on whatever. I always scroll immediately to the bottom because I know that is where the goods are hiding. I do find this a hassle, and sincerely hope we don’t end up caving to this cheap tactic.

When I share recipes, I’m going to follow the wise format of Mama Leah—short, sweet, simple and personable.

There are two more books at the top of my reading queue. They include Joy of Cooking and The Edible Garden. I want to improve my cooking techniques and also learn about gardening because you know how badly I want to cultivate a magical fairy farm/garden whenever I can afford it. I assume when I exit my 401K early those earnings will go toward my garden…

Anne, I could keep going, but at this point the post is growing too long. I leave you with the question: are there any recipes, techniques, cookbooks or just piles of recipes crammed in a binder that you bake up inspiration from?

Next post I want to share with you some life moments that definitely were red flags as to how I became the foodie I am today.

I’ll hit you back on Sunday.




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