Some of the best cookbooks that need to be in your kitchen
I just graduated from college, cookbooks have pride of place on my kitchen shelf. From disastrous attempts to make barely edible dishes, my time as a student exposed me to many cookbooks. Here are the top ten best cookbooks that are invaluable for all budding Masterchefs.
On your marks… Get set… Cook!
10. Delia’s Complete Cooking Class by Delia Smith
This mammoth cookbook comes in at number 10. Delia Smith is truly the David Beckham of the cooking world – an institution. Her Complete Cooking Class does exactly what it says on the box. It provides budding chefs with a complete and comprehensive guide to creating the best dishes. With must-have foundational recipes like apple pie and Yorkshire puddings, Delia shows she’s one of the masters. With mouth-watering images serving as a rough guide, this book is a godsend for beginning chefs. Definitely a must-have on your mom’s shelf, this book is the perfect starting point into the basics of baking, baking, and roast-making. A real triumph in the world of cookbooks.
9. Pat Chapman’s New Curry Bible
Chapman’s Bible doesn’t follow conventional cookbook rules, but is a diamond in the rough for curry fanatics and the reason it made this best cookbook list. The New Curry Bible not only shows you the recipes, but teaches you the history of curry making. This is not a book to buy for people who want a quick curry. If you’re one of those people, I suggest you save time and money and just buy a prepared meal. However, if you are interested in the exquisite nature of curries, this book will teach you everything you need to know. Like any specialty cookbook, it’s a little daunting at first to come across all the weird herbs and spices you know you don’t have, but the rewards of knowing these are irreplaceable. Although it may take you some time to become familiar with the art of balancing spices, you will most certainly become famous among your friends and family for the skill you will derive from this beautiful book.
8. Rick Stein’s Taste of the Sea: 150 fabulous recipes for every occasion
As a huge seafood lover, this book has literally been my magna carta. Rick Stein takes you on a journey around the coast and teaches you how to truly appreciate fish in all its scaly glory. From skinning methods to filleting, this book teaches you how to prepare and cook fish to perfection. Stein’s writing is clear and simple, and his contagious passion is impossible to resist. With a variety of dishes to suit all occasions, this book is a must for both beginners and experienced fishmongers. The instructions are neither condescending nor set in stone and leave room for experimentation. A really great book by a really great chef and teacher.
7. Simple Chinese Food by Kylie Kwong
Following the specialty cookbook theme, Simple Chinese Cooking is an absolute must-have for anyone who wants to start a love affair with Chinese cuisine. Filled with beautiful photographs, this book walks you through each dish with crisp, clear step-by-step instructions. Usually, when faced with a specific cookbook, there seems to be an endless list of ingredients that seem to exist in space, but this book contains essentials that can be purchased and found easily at local grocery stores. Not only is this book a great guide, it’s also incredibly exciting, because each week you can watch yourself grow and gain confidence with once-challenging dishes. From steamed cod to sweet and sour pork, Kwong’s recipes will have you burning up all your Chinese takeout menus from the start.
6. Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals
There can’t be a list of the best cookbooks without Mr. Oliver, of course. One of the things I love most about almost all of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks is their beautiful, flawless presentation. These aren’t endless pages of lines and lines of writing, but rather filled with bright, colorful, delicious images and no-frills recipes. In his Meals in 30 Minutes, Jaime shows you once and for all that cooking doesn’t have to be a stressful and laborious affair. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals are amazing for workers for whom time is money, and of course students who want to spend minimal time cooking and maximum time studying. Not only is it wonderfully organized with a designated section for starters, main courses and desserts, but there are plenty of vegetarian recipes scattered throughout, making this book literally for every type of chef.
5. The World’s Best Recipes by Mark Bittman
After his first cookbook How to Cook Everything became an international sensation, Bittman is back to teach you that cooking recipes from around the world is easier than you think. Without unnecessary frills, Bittman gently takes you on a culinary world tour that will leave your taste buds in a state of euphoria. The best part of Mark Bittman’s World’s Best Recipes, although you can never cook everything indoors, the dishes you make will inspire you to take dishes you’re already cooking and flip them over. Although it can be overwhelming to deal with so many recipes in one book, I urge you to add it to your collection. It is timeless and will only increase your food knowledge.
4. The Secrets of Gordon Ramsay by Gordon Ramsay
In this incredible, not-too-expensive book, Gordon Ramsay shares some of the secrets that made him the world-famous chef we all love. With a huge collection of recipes ranging from poultry to fish and desserts to soups, this cookbook gives you inside information that will make your friends and family believe that you are a true cooking guru. The recipes are simple and effective, and Ramsay has even added his own flourishes, such as helpful tips on dish presentation. If you really have a passion for cooking or would like to learn more, this is the book that not only teaches you how to cook but also how to become a chef. These tips will help you make cooking a truly enjoyable experience and boost your confidence to be adventurous not only in cooking, but also in eating.
3. The Complete Sushi Book by Hideo Dekura
As an avowed sushi fan, this book is amazing – the pages are almost edible. It combines the modern with the traditional and allows you to become familiar with this difficult Japanese cuisine. Although not to everyone’s taste, this book teaches you the secrets of making this tough sticky rice and how to present your sushi in a wonderful way. The most interesting thing about Dekura’s book is how it goes from simple to expert. This allows you to gradually progress at your own pace and also set small goals in the book. While there are other books on the market like Yo Sushi’s, it’s Dekura’s book that really stands out from the crowd. With stunning photography, he inspires with the flick of a page and, unlike his contemporaries, he has clear, simple instructions. A must have for any sushi fan and it’s also a great gift.
2. Wahaca – Mexican Food at Home by Thomasina Miers
This book comes in at number two in this top ten best cookbook and is a must-have for any frequent Wahaca customer. It has just been published and immerses you directly in the vibrant and tasty universe of Mexican street food. One thing that surprised me was the breakfast section, and I must admit I was completely converted to a Mexican way of eating in the morning. Filled with beautiful images and written in an accessible, friendly way, this book does exactly what the title says and brings Mexican cuisine right into your kitchen. Miers has clearly done the research necessary for such an exquisite book, and the information on Mexican chili peppers is invaluable. A great book for cooking meals with friends and a great equivalent to barbecue nights.
1.Jaime does… by Jaime Oliver
At number one, Jaime does. In this book, Jaime travels through foodie hotspots such as Spain, France and Morocco to find innovative recipes. The book is beautifully laid out (like all of Jaime’s books) and has wonderful photos of his travels alongside the great photos of his food. Each country has an introductory paragraph that explains the culture and food it has come into contact with, then in very simple language and a consistently friendly tone, Jaime walks you through a range of dishes. From light bites like patatas bravas to more complex dishes like steak tartare, Jaime’s tone never condescends to you as an amateur chef. This book not only offers great pleasure as an educational tool, but it is also pleasant to leaf through it from time to time to see the plans for its gastronomic journey. All in all, a very deserving winner of this best cookbooks list. Absolutely delicious!
These are by no means the only ten cookbooks I think you should own. There are many other brilliant cookbooks for beginners, such as The Student Cookbook by Sophie Grigson. It’s superb for home chefs who just don’t have time to cook elaborate meals every day and are looking for recipes for real cooking and hands-on cooking. Then, for more adventurous chefs who want to be inventive and scientific in the kitchen, there’s Heston Bluementhal’s brilliant book, The Fat Duck Cookbook, which combines vivid illustrations and wacky recipes for a truly great cooking experience. Overall, the ten books that make up this list of the best cookbooks all offer user-friendly, easy-to-follow advice that lets you not only enjoy them as books, but also as tools. lessons that will one day make you the king of the kitchen.
Bon appetit, ladies and gentlemen.