Monday, October 26, 2009

Cookbooks We Love

Being a photographer, I love to look at cookbooks with not only great recipes but also wonderful photographs. You’ll sell me on trying a recipe faster if I can see a photograph of the finished product.

Two recent issue cookbooks I have come to love include stunning photographs. They are Venezia: Food and Dreams by Tessa Kiros and My New Orleans; The Cookbook by John Besh.

My New Orleans; The Cookbook by John Besh

This book is big and beautiful and captures both the heart and soul of one of my favorite cuisines. The best thing about the book – besides the recipes- is John Besh talking about his passion for New Orleans cooking. He is a sustainer and like Rick Bayless, he has entered into ventures such as raising his own pigs and helping local suppliers provide what is needed by chefs. Look there for a really great feature on a supplier of Creole Tomatoes. The book includes small historical Black and White vignettes spread all through the book. The collected works of 200 truly unique state-of-the-art dishes are supplemented by eye-catching photos and educational side notes with individual recommendations for each dish. Sounds almost like cooking school.

His cooking style has been portrayed as “freewheeling international,” with an importance placed on local ingredients. His flagship restaurant August was one of the first restaurants to reopen after the hurricane, and he has been energetically occupied in efforts to help the victims of Katrina.

He has championed a renewed appreciation of local Cajun and Creole cooking, saying he believes them to be essential to the survival of the city’s cultural heritage.

Tessa Kiros Cookbooks

Tessa Kiros says that she was living in Italy with her husband surrounded by his family of cooks. She loved the grandmothers making jams and preserving artichokes and things. She started to record what was going on in their kitchen and it became a book.

She has become one of my favorite cookbook authors and now has a beautiful series of cookbooks that have easy to follow, delicious recipes and incredible photographs. Her books are so beautiful that I never cook with one of them on my counter. Sometimes I will photocopy the page.

Her books are filled with recipes that represent her heritage: Greek, Finnish, Cypriot, South African, and Italian and her photographs show the enchantment and the personality of where she has lived.

She has done Twelve: A Tuscan Cook Book, Apples for Jam: Recipes for Life (love the cover of this one!), her most recent in hardback Venezia: Food and Dreams a one of my all time favorites Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes.

She is another chef who relies on fresh and obtainable ingredients and every recipe I have tried from her books has been excellent.