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Best Cook Books For The Home Chef

Updated on June 19, 2013
With a mountain load of cook books on the market, now it's time to sort out which are worth paying out for.
With a mountain load of cook books on the market, now it's time to sort out which are worth paying out for. | Source

Which cook book should I buy?

Have you ever had trouble deciding which cookbook would be the best for you? Quite often you end up getting a book that you only ever use one or two recipes from. So what was the point in buying it? You could have just written the recipe down while in the book shop!

These books are the ones I personally love and use again and again. I wouldn´t class myself as in any way near to being a chef, but I do love being in the kitchen and enjoying making something wonderful. Each of these books give ample instructions to achieve that without getting so complicated that you are discouraged from trying something new.

Check out the Amazon links since some of these books do have a “Look inside” tab so you can double check whether this is the book for you.

In this world of advanced technology with PDF, AAC, MOB etc, there is still nothing quite like opening a beautifully photographed crisp new cookbook and browsing through the pages until you find something you really want to try.


One of the best cooking techniques books around with easy step by step photos
One of the best cooking techniques books around with easy step by step photos | Source

COOKING TECHNIQUES & RECIPES

This book is a feast for the eyes, and really makes you want to get in the kitchen. This very appealing format showcases 18 different chefs and gives an overview of their successful careers. Some of the famous names are Ken Hom, Marcus Wareing and Michele Romano, and each chef writes one section of the book, for example, sauces, foams or thai dishes

I love making a good sauce and always want to learn something new. If you want to widen your repertoire, then this is the book for you.

The photography style in the book is step by step instruction. This makes it very easy to follow and if you are a hub page cook, you can pick up some great tips on how to photograph your dishes.

Each chef offers their own cooking tips. For example, Peter Gordon explains the difference between a good vanilla extract and a cheaper one and how to get the paste from a vanilla bean. Following each tip can help you hone your skills as a home chef and at the same time you will produce much better food.

There is something for everyone in this book, even a French scrambled egg recipe to make a perfect breakfast. Don't be put off by some of the recipe names, just go ahead and have a try.

I personally enjoy the fish section. There is so much practical information. Learn how to fillet fish. Ever wondered how to clean up a fresh octopus, shell fish or prepare an urchin? This is just a small look at what this book deals with.




The Conran cook book, has great instructive photos followd by a selection of delightful recipes.
The Conran cook book, has great instructive photos followd by a selection of delightful recipes. | Source

Book Buying Tips

Don't forget to check out Amazon's 2nd hand sale on books in very good condition but at a fraction of the cost.

TUTORIAL CHEF BOOK

This cookbook by Caroline and Terence Conran and Simon Hopkinson is really a complete handbook for the home chef. The book is divided into 3 parts.

(1) Purchase & preparation of food

Full colour pictures identify ingredients you may have never seen before. We love this section as we have lived in a few different countries and have been able to identify new fruits and vegetables that we have discovered on our travels. The preparation section contains step by step photos on shucking oysters, dispatching a live lobster, butterflying a leg of lamb etc. Why not follow in the footsteps of Julia Childs and follow the instructable on boneing a duck!

(2) Equipment: How to choose it and use it

This is a short section full of advice on all the kitchen tools you will need.

(3) Recipes

The recipe section is the largest part of the book. Try the Rigatoni all'amatriciana, salsa di pomodoro, or the Sichuan chicken salad.They have all become firm favourites in our family.

This book was my life saver when living with some friends in the Peruvian Andes. We bought a whole pig at a very good price. Expecting to receive it already butchered, you can imagine our surprise when it was brought into the kitchen dead but whole. This was the book that pointed us in the right direction on where to start butchering the pig.

This is a very comprehensive bread making book which includes recipes from around the world.
This is a very comprehensive bread making book which includes recipes from around the world. | Source

BREAD MAKING

This is a great book.

It teaches you how to use your bread machine, and is full of recipies on all kinds of breads from basics, traditional loaves, breads made with the produce of the garden, orchard and creamery, flat-breads, sweet loaves, and even jams, preserves, chutneys spreads and butters.

Although it is a bread machine recipe book you can still go ahead with using the exact same recipes and do them by hand or you can mix the dough with your food processor. To be honest, bread has a better texture when made by hand and baked in a traditional oven rather than a bread machine. But I like to work with both depending on how much time I have.

This is not one of the glossy books full of beautiful photos of golden brown breads. It is a book with 608 pages of recipes and every so often provides explanations relating to bread making. This is a great book to have in your cookbook library and possibly the only bread making book you will need.

WILLIAM CURLEY'S COUTURE CHOCOLATE

From the Scottish 'King of chocolate' comes the coffee table style recipe book "Couture Chocolate." This book contains the kind of chocolates and desserts that you have only stared at through that expensive chocolatiers window.

He has been awarded the “Britain´s Best Chocolatier” award 4 times and with this very book was awarded the “Best Cookery Book of The Year 2012”

Follow these recipes based around chocolate for Truffles, Biscuits, Ice cream & patisserie. Learn new flavors for your truffles, among them, olive oil and rosemary.

The video gives you a taste of what is in the book which is beautifully decked out with glossy photos and easy explanations on how to put these creations together.

This really is a beautiful book. As the chef himself says, "chocolate is fundamental to every recipe in the book."


From Pat Chapman comes this great book that belongs to his Curry Club series to replicate those favorite restaurant meals.
From Pat Chapman comes this great book that belongs to his Curry Club series to replicate those favorite restaurant meals. | Source

INDIAN COOKING

In Britain, the curry is officialy our favourite food.

Pat Chapman set up the curry club on January 1st 1981 to feed the thirst for information in Britian of how to make a good curry at home. Since then he has gone on to write some 36 different books on the subject.

You may find this book 2nd hand at a reasonable price. Although I have a few of his books I find myself always going back to this particular one.

There are so many excellent, authentic recipes in this book, you will have no problem finding one that becomes your favourite.

What I love about this book is that In the introduction you will find a recipe for everything you will need to make your curry from scratch. Masala gravy is the key to most of the curries in this book, its the secret recipe of every good curry house. Master making this curry gravy and you will make authentic curries at home to wow your freinds with.

Apart from curries, there are loads of recipes for all the accompaniments, chutneys and breads. We have rarely been dissapointed with a recipe in this book.

For a curry lover who likes to make their very own and still maintain the quality of a restaurant or take away curry, then Pat´s your man.

CHINESE COOKING

Every cook should at least have 1 Chinese cook book, and for me, this has been a great book to have on hand. Most recipes have a full colour picture so you can see what the finished result should be.

Ken Hom has become a famous Chinese chef, particularly in the U.K. The instructions are easy to follow and unlike Indian cooking you need very few basic ingredients to get you started.

Firm favourites in our family are the garlic chicken, delectable broccoli chicken, the sweet and sour dipping sauce and thai-style noodles with chicken. Its a book really worth having, we have been using it regularly for the last 15 years.



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    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, I can see my cookbook collection is remiss! All of these cookbooks sounds useful, from those that provide basic instructions for sauces to those specifically about curries and chocolates. I've marked this Hub for future reference. Thank you, Lemonkerdz! : )

    • lemonkerdz profile image
      Author

      lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

      Thanks vespawoolf, i love books but to honest for desserts, the william curley book is an absolute must, watch the video and you will see what i mean. If you want to just spend money on one book that gives an overall help and recipes, the cooking techniques is the best. Thanks for commenting

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I love your personal choices for cookbooks, lemonkerdz. They put my list to shame. I think I've 'graduated' from the basics and am now looking for something more on the lines of a tutorial. I'm jotting these names down now. Love the video, BTW. Chocolate=YUM It's not surprising for me to see that vespa has left a comment first!

      "Calling all cooks! This hub is a must read!" UP/U/A/I and sharing.

    • lemonkerdz profile image
      Author

      lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

      Thanks Denise for your comments, yes Vespawoolf beats everyone to every Hub around, faithful hubber she is.

      I´m a real cookbook addict and have checked out a whole bunch, for the moment these are my faves. Doesn´t that Choc video get you itching to see if your own will turn out just a little like his. I´m having a go at his Olive oil & rosmary truffles this weekend :-))

      Thanks for Sharing, & have a good day

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 4 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I prefer to cook without cookbooks but sometimes it is nice to browse them for some new recipe ideas... Sometimes, it is hard to figure out and know which cookbooks are better to use. Thanks for this interesting and informative hub.

    • lemonkerdz profile image
      Author

      lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

      Thank you for taking the time out to comment lovebuglena i´m glad this hub was of good use to you. Cooking, you can wing it, but baking is a lot lot harder to just make up a recipe without having at least a basic recipe. I love these books, especially the ones with Chef´s helps to improve not just cooking skills but preperation of food. Thank you

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting about cookbooks, I have a cookbook but rarely use it, mostly I think of my own ideas in cooking.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Have you made your oo & rosemary truffles yet?

    • lemonkerdz profile image
      Author

      lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

      ERRRRR not yet we seem to have had a cream shortage in Cusco. I´m in lima this week and will be getting my food supplies that i can´t get in Cusco. I will let you know when i have made them :-) before i tell vespawoolf.

    • lemonkerdz profile image
      Author

      lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

      Thats great if you can just think up your own ideas. I love cook books even if it is just to inspire me in a certain direction and play around with it. But i do like looking at beautiful pictures of food, even if i will never make it.

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