The picture above is just one, yes, just one, of four bookcases I have devoted to cookbooks.
I remember at an interview I had the interviewee asked me a pretty typical question: What was the name of the book or books I’ve recently read.
It’s one of those questions that usually pop up during one of these Q&A sessions but it honestly caught me aback.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know the names of the books I had my nose in recently, I knew them well, but, well, there were all of a particular genre.
I looked at the lady and said, “Larousse Gastronomique, The French Laundry cookbook and Kitchen Confidential.”
She said she wasn’t familiar with these titles and once I explained they were all from the culinary genre, she looked a little puzzled.
“Anything else on the list?” she said.
All I could answer was, “Bon Appetit magazine.”
When I was younger, I spent oodles of time reading a wide variety of books but as I grew up, my interests began to narrow.
Now, when I pack a bag for the beach or catch a flight somewhere, I’ve got at least one or two cooking related books with me.
On vacation this year, I sat with Wiley’s The Professional Chef on my lap as I watched the ocean waves lap on the beach.
Don’t worry, I wasn’t missing the point of vacation–I had a perfectly tart lime margarita in the other hand.
I just love cooking. And learning about cooking too because even if it sounds a little cliche, it’s impossible not to learn something new everyday.
Maybe it’s an ingredient you’ve snubbed for years or the purchase of a particular pot/dish/cooking instrument that inspires you to create a paella, fresh pressed tortillas or a slowly-briased meal.
The latter will always cure my cooking ennui–I simply find a new dish or instrument to use in the kitchen and for the next couple of weeks, I’m riffing on a ton of classic recipes creating new (and in my opinion, better) ones.
The other way to stay fresh in the kitchen is by picking up, yes, you knew it was coming, a cookbook–each one I own has taught me something.
So if you’re stuck and looking for inspiration, head down to your local kitchenware store or bookseller–both places will get you back in the kitchen with a smile.
What’s your favourite cookbook? Anything I should be reading this summer?