This year's awards included five books in the classics category. To paraphrase Julia Child's wisdom that if you can master techniques you won't need a recipe, the list included five books I own and refer to often. My favorite well-used volume of “La Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Cooking” by Jacques Pepin (Times Books/Pocket Books, 1978) is struggling to hang onto its cover.
A new favorite book
A finalist among the books and a new favorite cooking reference of mine was written by San Francisco grocer Sam Mogannam and co-author Dabney Gough.
Each time I visit the city. my son and I stop by Sam's Bi-Rite Market. This little store has the most beautiful ingredients orchestrated and carefully considered to provide an inspiring shopping experience.
“Eat Good Food — A Grocer's Guide to Shopping, Cooking, and Creating Community Through Food” is a book I would prescribe for everyone enjoying our expanding food markets here in Oklahoma.
The book is rich in stories, flavor and cooking inspiration. The author even tends bee hives on the roof of his market. His enthusiasm for produce and artisan producers fuels a dedicated community. What to look for when selecting foods is a great resource as we shop our own expanded markets of Oklahoma foods.
I know I am not the only cookbook lover who keeps cookbooks around the house in addition to the kitchen. I also keep them by my reading chair, on the sun-porch and on the nightstand.
Seasonal recipes included in the book tempt and delight. In his spring collection you'll find Heirloom Carrot Ribbons with Pine Nuts and Raisins, Any-Green Pesto, English Pea and Green Garlic Dip, Seared Wild Salmon with Late Spring Succotash and a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a Ginger Crumb Topping.
I just wish my husband understood why I have to keep collecting cookbooks — he thinks I collect them faster than I cook.