Cookbooks I’m digging

posted by Diomedes on 2009.07.22, under Diomedes
22:

After some lunch converstaions, I figured it’d be cool to list the cookbooks I’m currently digging and open up the conversation for anyone who wants to talk about what they’re currently cooking.

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I started with a fermented food kick, there’s a great book by Sandor Ellix Katz called “Wild Fermentation” where he extols the virtues of fermented foods in your diet. This is a topic I’ve been curious about ever since I read Salt by Mark Kurlansky where a history of culinary and preservation using Salt was outlined. Fermentation is another basic method of preserving food prior to refrigeration, but also has been used to modify the nutritional content. The book is fascinating and really covers the spectrum from veggies, to cheese, to beer and more.

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I had so much success with my home fermentation that I moved on to Indian food which I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook. Not only do I enjoy most dishes I’ve had, but unlike a lot of my fermented products, my wife will eat these too providing an additional motivator. I have a good friend who spent years in India who, after mentioning my new culinary interests, went out on the spot and bought me 660 curries by Raghavan Iyer. The book is fantastic and gives authentic regional samplings, I’ve been slowly making my way through it. Once you sort of get past the complicated number of spices involved, I found the mechanically assembling the dishes isn’t all that tough and typically turns out pretty well even if you mess up a bit.

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Finally, I was reading Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fushia Dunlop. It’s more of a book about food than a cookbook, for that you have to turn to Land of Plenty (which is currently being shipped to me) or Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. The book covers her experiences living and traveling through China, learning to cook cuisine and the important role it plays culturally. The book contains a smattering a recipies that relate to the chapter topics, but more than anything it helped me get “excited” about Chinese food in a more meaningful way than jadedly thinking about the heavy corn starch gel coated meats that get served to me at most Chinese restaurants.

What’s everyone else cooking now a days?

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