One of the delights of life is eating with friends; second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.
Laurie Colwin

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Cook's Notes One

I haven't really written anything that would be equivalent to cook's notes other than what I've included with the recipes. However, every now and then the things that are stirring around in my brain seem to want to find a home. So here are a few thoughts for today.

I keep thinking I should make a list of my ten favorite cookbooks -- but not today. I want to tell you what cookery and cookery-related books I would want on a desert island should I be on one, either stranded or by choice. Now my desert island is a paradise where I would live quietly and comfortably and for some reason (maybe because Amazon delivers) I could have whatever I wanted - although I wouldn't want much (because on my island I am a calm and simple Zen-like creature). But I would have access to anything I wanted to cook. So I guess that makes it just an island and not a desert island, right? You can't have everything you want to cook on an arid slip of land. Plus it wouldn't be too pretty. So now my island is not a desert but a verdant, fragrant place.

The list of books is small (and it may be ever-changing) but in no particular order, here goes:

I would want Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and Marcella's Italian Kitchen, both excellently written by Marcella Hazan. I don't know anyone who disagrees that she is the doyenne of Italian Cooking. Additionally, I would want Classic Pasta Cookbook by her son Guiliano Hazan. That would almost be it for Italian cooking with the exception of wanting to have everything ever written by Elizabeth David, and that would by definition include her book Italian Food.

I would want Home Cooking and More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin so I could smile, and laugh, and drool - and cry when I think about how young she died. With them I could live without her novels Happy All the Time and Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object (maybe).

I would want How to Eat by Nigella (do I have to add Lawson?). This way I could read myself silly even if I wanted to stay slim and didn't want to eat myself silly. (I am oh-so-slim on my island.)

I would want The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers because there's so much to learn that it could occupy me almost indefinitely (and that's saying a lot because I have all the time I want on my island).

I think I would need The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash just in case the other books I have chosen don't include all the different ways of cooking all the vegetables that are growing on my island.

That's it! (For now.)

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