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.: July 2006 --> Four cookbooks for newlyweds

Four cookbooks for newlyweds

» NYT: Four cookbooks for newlyweds. The author makes a good case for each of these, but my list would be different:

What would you recommend?

 [ 07.17.06 ]


To anyone that loves How to Cook Everything, I have to suggest Mark Bittman's new book: The Best Recipes in the World. The instructions of the first book were great, but the recipes were hit and miss. This second book may not have the basics of the first, but the recipes are amazing, page after page.

It sort of depends on how much the newlyweds actually want to cook.

If they just want to have some tasty homecooked meals, believe it or not I think I would recommend one of the Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal books. She does mostly use fresh ingredients, and her recipes are very simple and undaunting.

If they are serious about cooking and are of a general European/all-American bent, the best how-to cookbook I have out of maybe 120 or so is Julia Childs' The Way To Cook, a true classic. Also has great photos.

How To Eat by Nigella Lawson is somewhat similar - but I would lean towards the Julia book for more completeness. Both books would really be good.

To round out things, a book dedicated to the ethnic/national background of each person in the couple if they come from different backgrounds may be really useful too.

I'm very fond of The Joy of Cooking.

I love your reccomendations. World Vegetarian is my favorite to cook from right now as well. Another good one (even with a similar title) is Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons.

I find it amusing that there are still such things as "cookbooks for newlyweds", as the median age seems to me to be rising for newlyweds. What did they eat before they got married? Perhaps I was the only one who collected cookbooks/cooked meals on my own before I got married at age 30.

Anyway, I'd second the Cook's Illustrated recommendation, and similarly, I really enjoy my subscription to Cooking Light. Every month it's chock full of varying recipes with a healthy bent, even vegetarian recipes, that cross cultures and introduce me to new foods and techniques. The magazine is my favorite cookbook, and has been for about five years. Also, if you never tell people, they would never know it's light cooking.

Why oh why does everyone like to recommend Cook's Illustrated - but then not recommend their books and choose Bittman's instead? Some of Bittman's instructions are really bizarre (the poking-holes-in-eggs-before-boiling-them, for example), and I've never been steered wrong by The New Best Recipe, which is by the editors of Cook's Illustrated. Some of the recipes in it are also found in some of their other books - particularly the book on baked goods and the book on casseroles. It seems to be a compilation of their best stuff, and I think a version has even been published in the last year or two, under a slightly different name, in a 3-ring-binder.

Also, @Becky - people ate frozen dinners before they were married. Or, if they were a little more financially privileged, a lot of takeout. At least, that is the case for my fiance. He'd like to continue to eat frozen dinners after the wedding, but I think it's a losing situation in both budget and health terms.

The two books we live in are Greg Malouf's Moorish (ISBN 1-876719-98-2) and The Silver Spoon (ISBN 0714845310)
Moorish gives some of the most incredible flavours from the Middle East.

The Silver Spoon is apparently *the* Italian cookbook, translated into English.


American Wholefood Cuisine by Nikki and David Goldbeck is pretty good. Also Vegetarian Gourmet by Colin Spencer.

I've given cookbooks to two couples this spring. Both of them were inter-faith Jewish-Christian marriages, and one of the Jews is from an Arab-Jewish family (Sephardim from Lebanon and Syria). So both couples got copies of Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food as well as her New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

The recipes work really well, and each book is interlarded with so many tales and anecdotes that I've been known to read passages aloud. The Jewish Food book has terrific family photos of Baghdadi Jews, Cypriot Jews, Jews of Salerno, etc.

Each couple also got a copy of Cheryl Mendelsohn's Home Comforts, a book I wish I'd had when first setting up house. It's still an invaluable reference. Her section on food discusses how to manage cooking for everyday, shopping, how to purchase and properly store produce, and other valuable info you don't get from too many cookbooks. She also waxes philosophical - quotes Auden in the section on bedrooms - it's a terrific read. (Rebecca, you probably know this)

One of my Lebanese-American cousins will be getting the Book of Middle Eastern Food and Mendelsohn. The new bride is Italian-American and she might appreciate a Middle-Eastern food cookbook. I hope...

Re: giving cookbooks to seasoned couples - yeah, that's why I gave the Claudia Roden books. I wanted them to have nice cookbooks that they didn't own already, that reflect my cultural background and interests. The two sets of couples already married are close friends, and I happen to know that they all cook decently well, and care about food.

Home Comforts changed my life. It's one of my all-time favorite books.

The one we use all the time is The Home Chef by Judith Ets-Hokin. We go back to it over and over again.



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