I received the unexpected (as if having a baby weren’t enough) news lately that the Matt and I may be moving to Spain. He had, on a whim, applied to business school there and expected that he would not get in.
Among the things we are currently investigating (visas, insurance, living expenses, apartments, bringing dogs, etc) comes the expected mental cataloging. If I will be leaving everything behind, storing it, or trying to get rid of it, what do I really need?
I have a small collection of cookbooks. I’ll plan on bringing just a few to Spain. Among the items it pains me to leave are my 8 years worth of Saveur magazine – but they’ve done such a fantastic job archiving all their old recipes online that I really don’t need the paper copies.
So what should I bring? Below are my cookbooks. Or is there a far superior one you’d recommend?
The Joy of Cooking – This is absolutely coming with me. Tested, fail safe recipes for classic American dishes.
Dinner at Home – My first Martha Stewart book, I finally succumbed and decided she indeed knows how to put together a meal. It features 52 meals for throughout the year, each with a main, two sides, and dessert, and all seasonal and quick to prepare.
The Professional Chef - The usefulness of this book varies. It has some good tips and techniques for preparation, but the bulk of the volume seems to need a lecturer to supplement explanations. It’s also hard to remember what recipes are specifically featured as it encompasses neither all the basics nor a predictable number of them or their variations.
The River Cottage Family Cookbook – I realized when I got home with this book that it had been specifically written with children in mind, featuring instructions such as “mind the boiling water!” “ask your mum and dad.” Still, for basic information and easy, concise recipes, it works well.
On Food and Cooking – Not a cookbook per se, this textbook on food science occupies a place on my shelf for those moments when I don’t remember what leavening is in self rising flour, how liquids gel, or the best temperature to brew coffee. A cookbook, however, it’s not.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking – The essential Julia Child tome. Shamefully, I’ve never used it for anything but the French Onion Soup recipe.
The Babbo Cookbook – Here’s where I look for the best lamb ragu recipe ever… and lots of pasta that I’ve never had a chance to master.
Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook – I admit, I bought this because I was too cheap to buy the Chez Panisse cookbook. It’s a lovely volume, with disarmingly simple recipes that are arranged by season and occasion.
Central Market Cooks – A nice but narrow selection of recipes.
The New York Times Menu Cookbook – I snagged this from my parents’ bookshelf and it’s so old Amazon doesn’t have a listing for it. Oh, the days of Craig Claiborne!
Small Bites – This is one of those little cookbooks that goes a long way. A diverse selection of hors d’oeuvres, most disarmingly simple to make, as well as drink and snack suggestions.