Great but lesser-known cookery books?
November 14, 2016 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Thanks to my local library, I've been working my way through the best-known cookery books (in the UK, at least). Delia, Gordon and Jamie have been thoroughly perused, as have Mr Slater and Mr Stein etc etc. I'd love to expand my repertoire further and find more obscure things to have a bash at!

I like loads of different cuisine- but my absolute favourites are Malaysian and Thai. I'm not so into baking (I find it stressful, not relaxing!). Any suggestions welcome!
posted by threetwentytwo to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Thai? Then I CANNOT recommend enough Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker ("one of the leading American voices on Thai cooking"). Pok Pok was already my favorite restaurant (not just favorite Thai restaurant), and then the owner goes and publishes this amazing, beautifully photographed cookbook which also has a bunch of essays about the history and culture behind Thai food. So good.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:57 AM on November 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

Books by Arto Haroutounian.

If you like Malaysian and Thai, Fuchsia Dunlop's Szechwan cookbooks are a must.

Yotam Ottolenghi's middle eastern books.
posted by indianbadger1 at 12:01 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

This is not actually a cookbook, but it is absolutely fantastic as a reference for any cook: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. It's an absolutely exhaustive book about literally every kind of food there is. Apparently it's "the most widely quoted culinary work in English." It's a great reference for cooking, especially if you're trying to troubleshoot some problem.

I mean check out the intro page for the first chapter (out of 15), on dairy products. It starts out with the evolution of mammals and then moves on to the individual chemical components of milk, the history and biological origins of lactose tolerance/intolerance, a chart comparing different types of animal milk from whales to humans to cows, etc, to the history, development, chemical structure, and uses of literally every dairy product you can think of, from kefir to cheese to creme fraiche to milk foam in coffee drinks. It rules.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:10 PM on November 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

David Thompson's many Thai cooking books are considered very highly.
posted by smoke at 1:45 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pretty sure I have recommended it before, but Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food is terrific in its scope and tone - it covers the eastern-European recipes of my Ashkenazi heritage alongside recipes from spain, north Africa, the middle east and places less associated with Jewish cookery like India as well.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:29 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Roast Chicken and Other Stories is a very well read book in my kitchen
posted by parmanparman at 3:01 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

If they have a copy of James Beard's "Theory and Practice of Good Cooking", take a look. It has wonderful illustrations, and speaks to the primary means of cooking - broiling, roasting, sauteeing, chilling, and freezing. Not a ton of recipes, but many have become go-to's (Mac and cheese, vinaigrette, French vanilla ice cream) for me. It was out of print for a while, but seems to be back.
posted by dbmcd at 3:08 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not a traditional cookbook but I love the recipes at Blue Apron. You don't have to subscribe to their delivery service to look at recipes. I do subscribe to them but sometimes they're not delivering a certain recipe anytime soon so I just buy the ingredients locally. The recipes are very easy & direct to follow and they have many Asian recipes.

They do publish printed copies organized by season as well; but wouldn't be focused on Thai cuisine.
posted by Amseh at 3:33 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hark! An opportunity to mention Hannibal.

I think you'll find the Feeding Hannibal cookbook meets your needs.
posted by tel3path at 4:19 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think Madhur Jaffrey is pretty well known in the UK, but just in case, I've never had a recipe of hers turn out badly. She specializes in Indian cuisine, but her vegetarian recipes from other cultures are amazing too.
posted by peacheater at 4:31 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Andrea Nguyen. Her book on Asian dumplings ranges from Indonesian to North India, with occasional detours to places like Mongolia, and gave me char siu bao and custard bao skills that go great at parties; her book on tofu is unthinkably helpful and covers every use for tofu you can think of and some you probably haven't. She also maintains a comprehensive website at Viet World Kitchen, where she is responsive to complaints and questions and will update and change recipes based on her correspondence. Her Vietnamese-specific cookbooks haven't been as much use to me personally, but that's because I'm not focused on making Vietnamese food; if you are, that's the first place I'd head.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 5:16 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding Madhur Jaffrey -- her World Vegetarian book is amazing.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 1:10 AM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

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