While I’ve put my own stuff in here, please do forward any source of food-centric info that you’d like to share…
Books (Cookbooks, Further Reading)
There are more cookbooks and books about cooking than I even care to think about, but I’m just giving a smattering of those that have been recommended to me and those that I return to again and again. So please don’t kill the messenger….
Joy of Cooking by Irma S Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. An American classic. Even though I now live in the UK and my kids were born there, I got them each a copy of this book before they went off to college. I wouldn’t be without it. Can you say Pecan Puffs? Easily one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted, and have never given anyone a Pecan Puff without them practically swooning. Except for those watching their weight, and who’d want to give them cookies anyway?
Better Homes and Gardens Birthdays and Family Celebrations (Creative Cooking Library Series (C2)): this is an oldie (oh, very old, 1963 to be exact), but has some of the best Christmas cookie recipes ever (on a par with Pecan Puffs – see Joy of Cooking). Some of the recipes do make you go “what were they thinking”, but some are just great nostalgia (at least for me). And some of the outfits are pretty groovy too. Just mentioning this book made me go buy a copy and think of someone to force it upon.
The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole Grain Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson, Carol L Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey . This is a book that focuses on breadmaking, but using whole grains:
Additionally, there is the New Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol L Flinders and Brian Ruppenthal. This is an updated version of a classic vegetarian cookbook that never goes out of style. In fact, you can still buy copies of the original (1976) version of Laurel’s Kitchen from ama-you-know-who (see pic above). I know people have various views of that site, but I love it – I’ve managed to find every obscure book I’ve ever wanted to buy on that site.
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture (UK) or On Food and Cooking: the Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. One of, if not the, definitive (dare I say encyclopaedic) books on the science of kitchen. This is not a cookbook, rather it explores the chemistry of cooking, as well as some history. At 896 pages (at least the UK version) it’s not a days’ read, but, if worse came to the worst, you would use it to hit the obnoxious person trying to take over your cooking project upside the head.
Another book in the same vein (although not as painful to your back) is What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained by Robert L Wolke. Although not as exhaustive as McGee’s book, it present kitchen science in an easily understandable and sometimes funny way (some people think puns are the lowest form of humour but I disagree – we all know it’s knock-knock jokes). It also has some recipes to illustrate his points. And he’s written a sequel. Guess what it’s called? Yes! What Einstein Told His Cook 2″!
The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten: Steingarten was a food critic for Vogue and when he was appointed to the post, decided he had to be more open-minded and give up his distaste for kimchi, lard and Greek cuisine, among other things. What amounts to a series of essays (with recipes included) – this book is a great read, and pretty funny to boot!
Epicurious.com: a website that does great food, and also acts as a repository for recipes from Bon Appetit and the now defunct Gourmet (RIP):
America’s Test Kitchen: oh, boy, I love this site, this show, their magazines, everything about it! They offer not only recipes, but explain the science behind food and cooking, reviews of ingredients, cook’s tools, gadgets, and much more! They do charge a subscription fee, but they have been my go to place so often that it more than makes up for it.
Online Courses and Other
Wild Yeast Bakery: Wild Yeast Bakery
Simon Michaels runs this site which features online breadmaking course and sourdough cultures. Simon even has a free webinar coming up on the 18th March – how great a price is that?!
Food on Friday: this is a weekly live broadcast on BBC Radio Berkshire on a Friday afternoon, UK time about 14.10 to about 14.50. It features a self-trained chef, Simon Clerehugh, who owns runs two restaurants in Berkshire in the UK. It does not have an archive section of podcasts, but if you can listen to it, even only once, please do. Each weekly broadcast revolves around a theme e.g., garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), with a variety of recipes falling under this theme – some familiar (hummus, for example), some a bit out there (chickpea mayonnaise anyone?). The DJ and Mr Clerehugh have a wonderful banter and it’s a nice way to round out the week.
First, before being able to listen to the broadcast you will need to install the BBC iPlayer Radio App.
There is a version for iOS (this is done via iTunes, which you may need to download): iTunes – BBC iPlayer Radio
and a version for Android: Google Play = BBC iPlayer Radio International
Once you’ve got the app, to access the telecast, go to:
and click on Listen Live. You’ll need to close the iPlayer Radio app itself when you’re done listening . Please note that I’ve found this transmission to be very quiet, so if you can’t hear it, turn the volume up. It sometimes need almost scare volume levels to be heard, so make sure to turn the volume back down when you’re done!
There is also an accompanying posting of recipes to download in .pdf format for that particular week at the following site:
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the box labelled “Food on Friday” – it’s the middle box and has Paul Clerehugh with a couple of lobsters.
Tours (may end up on separate page)
Platypus Wine Tour: If you’re ever in (or around) Napa Valley – arrange a day for this tour! It’s very informal – they’ll even pick you up for the tour if you hail them from the roadside! and each day is generally different, as they call various wineries to see who is open for tastings.
Napa Wine Train: This tour, in classic restored Pullman rail cars, and complete with fine dining and of course the beautiful Napa views. A little bit of history paired with wine and food – that can’t be bad!
Wilamette Valley Wine Tours: the Wilamette Valley is an amazing source of Pinot Gris, amongst other types of wines. This group creates tours catered to the wishes/interests of the tourists – they’ve even offered a 2017 Solar Eclipse Wine Tour. What goes better with a solar eclipse than booze? And with the possibility of visiting the Columbia River Gorge
(and Crown Point Vista House) it doesn’t get much better.
London Borough Market Tour: Southwark’s Borough Market, once a derelict and (fairly) deserted market, has experienced a huge resurgence, and has become something of a foodie mecca in this city. I remember it when it was still fairly deserted, and remember those days fondly, since now, if you experience either claustrophobia or enochlophobia (or both) the enjoyment that you could feel might be somewhat dimmed. But it’s worth seeing in any event, just be prepared for unbelievable crowds at the weekend.