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Authentic Italian and French cookbooks

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I am looking for AUTHENTIC Italian and French cookbooks. I would *REALLY* prefer illustrations, but that's not a necessity as I can probably find what the dish should look like on a images.google.com.

My requirements are:
Easy to follow instructions
Covering whatever subject it is thoroughly (ie, The Silver Spoon covers most of all Italian cooking; say I get The Bible to Creating Pasta - it needs to list 90%+ of all pastas I can make and how to do it).
I'd prefer if they don't mention dishes that can't be made in America because it isn't available.

Right now the only cook book I own is Thomas Keller's book, The Complete Keller: The French Laundry Cookbook & Bouchon.

I am an advanced cook, but now am looking for some good, authentic recipes to really begin my life of cooking.

What do you recommend? I have a budget of 300 to spend on cookbooks; so recommend everything and all! : -)

Thank you!
post #2 of 18
I like Julia Child's The Way to Cook. I also have both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. For Italian cooking I have Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I would consider these as must-haves but I'm sure others will share their "musts" too! I'd also look at Harold McGee's works too.
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post #3 of 18
I have the Silver Spoon. It's not a friendly cookbook but has many good recipes. I can't think of any pictures though. It assumes you know how to do quite a few things it never explains in the recipes. Not something you see much in US cookbooks that usually hold your hand through every step. Where you say you have good cooking skills you should be fine.

I doubt you'll find many pictures of the dishes on google though...

And it has some idiosyncratic translations here and there. Corn salad for instance. That one threw me as I had always heard of it as mache (there's a caret over the a in there or some other diacritical mark but I don't know how to generate it off hand on my keyboard).

I've thoroughly enjoyed every Lidia Bastianich cookbook. Excellent food and usually excellent pictures. Hazan is good too but you get just a few drawings here and there. I'm fine with that, but you requested pictures.

Others I also enjoy but who have taken some liberties in bringing the food to Americans: Nick Stellino, Jeff Smith
post #4 of 18
Hi There!

I love "The Classic Italian Cookbook" by Marcella Hazan. Unfortunately, I think it may be out of print, but you might be able to find it at one of the used bookstores online or even Amazon.

Good Luck.

-Mary
post #5 of 18
You can find many wonderful cookbooks in good used book stores. If you are in an area, where people are transit, moving in and out of the area; they seem to sort them before a move, so they are easy to find.

I have many Italian books, and really enjoy the family books, written by some one's mother/Grandmother. The lore and family stories always bring a chuckle. Italian is very regional, and every family seems to have their own style for a dish. I'm Italian, I always chuckle at the "authentic." Authentic is how your family cooked it.
post #6 of 18
Amazon.com: The Talisman Italian Cookbook: Italy's bestselling cookbook adapted for American kitchens.: Books: Ada Boni

Read the review of the book ...

I have an early copy of the book, and while the review notes the Il Talismano was published in, I believe, 1950, that's not quite the case. The original, Talismano della Felicita, was published in the late 1920s.

I have the 1950 "Ronzoni" edition - I can assure you, this is a very fine Italian cookbook.

For French cooking, look for When French Women Cook by Madeline Kamann (I think I've spelled her name correctly) and The Cooking of Southwest France by Paula Wolfert.


Also, look for the out of print Time-Life series of books on French and Italian cooking. They have pictures.

Shel
post #7 of 18
Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking. An all time classic French cookbook if you ask me. Very down to earth food though, which personally I prefer. You would be more likely to see this stuff cooked at home, or in a Bistro, then a high end place.

Personally, I love the book. No photos, and the recipes read more as stories. She litters the book with tales of her travels, the people she met along the way, and the food she ate. Her writing style is awesome too - very direct "If you don't add the cream now, the dish will be ruined, so this is not a dish to do if you don't pay attention" etc.
post #8 of 18

Favorite Italian

I have two well-loved Italian cookbooks that I highly recommend:

The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
and
In Nonna's Kitchen by Carol Field.

My Cafe Boulud Cookbook is a wreck from use. I guess I would have to say that is my favorite French cookbook. The roasted chicken with the chicken liver stuffing under the skin is absolutely the best thing on earth.
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post #9 of 18
All the above suggestions are quite good. In addition I would add these titles:

Most anything by Patricia Wells
"Glorious French Food" by James Peterson
Paul Bocuse's "French Cooking"
"Les Halles Cookbook" by Anthony Bourdain

Of course there are a great many titles out there!
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post #10 of 18
I second these recommendations as must-haves.

Also, if you like the Thomas Keller books, I might recommend Michel Richard's Happy In the Kitchen. It definitely isn't "authentic French," but it's lots of fun! His techniques are innovative, but not particularly difficult, especially if you are willing to invest in a few new pieces of kitchen equipment. I just got it (after a memorable meal at Citronelle), and so far I've cooked one recipe from it (the "Low Carb-o-nara.") It was delicious! The best sauce I've ever made. :lips:
post #11 of 18
Another vote for Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. A friend and foodie bought it for me because he couldn't believe I didn't have it. It used to be two volumes in my understanding, then was condensed into one.

then when you get it, make Braised Pork Chops with Sage Modena Style, Roast Chicken with Lemons, Grilled Fish Romagna style (three VERY simple recipes that are delicious). And the Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with prosciutto in them.

abc123 don't forget to use the Jump to Amazon link on this forum to help support the forum, if you're buying from Amazon.
post #12 of 18
YES!!! I've made those gnocchi, too!!! Then I Gratineed them (which is the next recipe in the book.) Oh, they were good!

Also, I've been meaning to try that simple Roast Chicken with Lemon recipe forever!!!

Thanks for the suggestions, stir it up!
post #13 of 18
Thanks Indigo, I'll have to try the gratinee. I've only done them with brown butter and sage, with a light grating of nutmeg.
post #14 of 18
Is this the recipe as it appears in the book http://www.of2minds.org/spice/archives/001092.html or, if there are some differences, what are they?

Thanks!

shel
post #15 of 18
Yes, the recipe is the same, except that, as noted, the original calls for:

"4 pork loin chops, preferably bottom loin, 3/4 inch thick"

The original also includes "Flour, spread on a plate" in the ingredient list

and the original says that in lieu of the canned tomatoes, you may use
"3/4 cup fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped."

and in lieu of the 6 to 8 fresh sage leaves, you may use 3 or 4 dried ones.

Other than that, it seems to be the same.

To the OP: How is the cookbook spree coming along? :)

One more suggestion: I have heard good things about The Cook's Book: Techniques and Tips from the World's Master Chefs, edited by Jill Norman. One review says that it includes "1800 color photos and 650 recipes" and "illustrates more than 350 techniques, from essential basics to far-out flourishes. Sounds good, right? I recently ordered it from Amazon, but I guess it's on backorder, because they said it wouldn't arrive til mid-November.

Does anyone have this book? Is it as good as it sounds?
post #16 of 18
shel, looks like the recipe, only the picture doesn't look like mine. I think their pork chops were too thick (Hazan says 3/4", I wouldn't go any thicker) and they didn't braise long and slow enough, my sauce was darker and more developed. I sometimes use tenderloin too, when I want it to be a little more special, in 3/4" thick medallions. I love recipes that are so simple like this, yet the depth in flavor is there.
post #17 of 18
Thanks so much.

shel
post #18 of 18


Are the recipes similar in The Way to Cook and Mastering The Art...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzaluna View Post

I like Julia Child's The Way to Cook. I also have both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. For Italian cooking I have Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I would consider these as must-haves but I'm sure others will share their "musts" too! I'd also look at Harold McGee's works too.
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