I write about all kinds of cookbooks throughout the year. I keep an ongoing list of books to come back to, never quite knowing what theme I’m going to pick up each week. And over the year, some transfer from my research list onto my wish list. Not always cookbooks, but always with food at the heart of the book. So as we get to the festive season, these are five that I wouldn’t object to finding under the tree next week.
* The Untold History of the Potato – I quite like these sorts of books, where an expert/geek gets to really get indepth on one subject or ingredient. I’ve done Cod, I’ve done Salt, and I quite fancy doing the potato. Reviews look a bit mixed, but then Salt was slow going, and Cod was definitely a slow burner, but in the end I loved it.
* The Town That Food Saved – I saw this when I was in NYC in the summer, and the story really appealed to me. I love the way food can bring communities together, and how it can be economically reviving. A story for our times, and perhaps something to be read in the context of the Portas report this week, which I wasn’t completely convinced by.
* Pieminister: A Pie for All Seasons – this would be to make MGG happy, as chicken pie still rates as one of her top three meals, rotating with mussels and chow mein. I’ve been a Pieminister fan for ages, and I’ve heard nothing but good reports on this book from cookbook addicts that I would trust.
* Bill’s the Cookbook: Cook, Eat, Smile – I’ve never been to Bill’s but if I was ever to run a food store meets restaurant, I would want it to be like Bill’s. It sums up everything that can be fabulous about good food, well sourced, and well cooked, served with love and fun. If I can’t get there, then I’ll have to settle for the book.
* Short and Sweet – It wouldn’t really be my list without something baking oriented, and Dan Lepard’s book is probably the one I would prioritise. I really enjoy his writing, and his recipes. That said, I can imagine putting on about a stone in weight as there are so many recipes that appeal to me in this book.
I’d also be happy with any of the beautiful Penguin books I’ve written about a few times, as they look good, and are great for recipe and for historical context of the development of food and cooking. I’ve particularly enjoyed reading A Little Dinner Before the Play, and have cooked from the Claudia Roden quite a lot.
If Santa brings any of these though, I have to decide which one to move off the shelf, which one has failed to earn its spot…choices, choices!