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Questions About Buying And Collecting Cookbooks

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I would like to build up a nice collection (non-digital) but I have some questions, would appreciate some answers/opinions. 

 

1. I notice on Amazon, often the latest version of a book is considerably more expensive. So I then read the reviews and Google search the two editions and nothing conclusive comes up. So I'm naturally left wondering, should I spend eight more bucks on the 2002 version as compared to the price of the 1996 version. Are corrections often made in later editions?? I don't mean any one book in particular, just in general.

 

2. There are a lot of restaurant cookbooks, what are your thoughts on those? do they REALLY give their real recipes? in their entirety? I can't help but wonder if places like Brennan's and Antoine's in New Orleans for example really give you their real recipes. Seems it would be very easy to leave out a few details to sell you a book and get you back in there. 

 

3. I've heard that sometimes even well known and renowned chefs don't give out the real deal on their recipes in their books, is this true? where can I find out so I can be sure avoid their books? anyone care to post? if not pm to me who they are that commit this fraud. 

 

Thanks,

Eric

post #2 of 16

What's your purpose Eric?  Do you want a cool collection so you can say "WOW ... look at my cool collection".  Or do you want to actually cook out of a cool collection of cook-books?  Some of the best recipes I've read come out of some very intimidating cook-books, that just happen to be very cool.  I would guess that the recipes in the top big-named restaurant cook-books are actually the correct recipe.  I don't think guys like Keller fear anyone stealing anything.     

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Definitely not to admire, too cook from and learn.

post #4 of 16

OK.      Never mind. 


Edited by IceMan - 5/28/13 at 9:02pm

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks but that wasn't what I asked.

post #6 of 16

1.) I can't imagine many corrections being made in newer editions of cookbooks, if a cookbook needed many corrections, I wouldn't think it would be popular enough to warrant a later edition

 

2.) Restaurant cookbooks are bound to be close to the real deal on their recipes, there is not that much to be gained by leaving out a little bit, there really are no big aha secrets, besides even if they do that is where your learning process starts as opposed to merely replicating

 

3.) More less the same answer as #2. My only concern would be the use of ghost writers. I have been told that a no longer published famous magazine didn't test recipes before printing them and along those same lines, I imagine there are some chefs that don't proofread as well as they should also in their rush to the bank, but I have no specifics. Back to #2 on learning process.

 

 

disclaimer: I am a chef and former owner, nowhere near famous, more like obscure, but I always give out exact recipes with no undisclosed secrets held back....as to what other chefs and establishments do...well the above comments are mere conjecture on my part and are by no means substantiated  

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 16

I've been selling (and buying) cookbooks for over 25 years--both in bookstores and in publishing sales-- and I would say, mistakes do happen in cookbooks ( I recently started a thread that I don't think anyone looked at about an insanely long and quite funny errata sheet you can download for a recent cake cookbook.) But, really, it's not a huge problem--more rare than not. And later editions of cookbooks with new ISBN's (International Standard Book Numbers) have had substantial revisions to their contents--new recipes added, directions updated to reflect new kitchen technologies or ingredients or nutritional information, etc. They have not  just been edited for corrections of mistakes. Often it is hard to know what those revisions have been unless you have the opportunity to look at the two editions side by side and most people reviewing cookbooks on, say, Amazon, don't do that. 

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
So chicago terry, if the earlier version of the book is 8.00 less am i pretty safe? Heres an example Anthony bourdain says the provincetown seafood cookbook is a treasure to have so the 1978 version is 40.00 but the 1986 version is 80.00 without buying both, which one should i get????
post #9 of 16

Looking at that particular book it looks like the 1986 Parnassus Press edition is just a reprint of the earlier Addison-Wesley edition, so I think you're probably pretty safe ordering whichever edition you can find a reasonably priced, not beat-to-hell copy of. It looks like Anthony Bourdain's endorsement has created a collecting mania for that book. The prices being asked for good, clean copies of it are pretty crazy.  My guess is that the 1986 edition goes for more because that publication year is cited in a New York Times article that quotes Bordain talking about the book. 

 

Personally, I would try to get a look at a copy of the book --maybe at a library--before I shelled out between $40 and $80 on it. From what I can see, that $40-$80 gets you a paperback copy in "acceptable" condition. If what you are looking for is a book from which to learn how to cook seafood well, there are probably other, more affordable options. If you are looking to build a potentially valuable collection, condition is everything. Also, I find cookbooks--especially fish cookbooks-- from back then terribly dated.  I just got rid of a few, including Beard's New Fish Cookery for just that reason. There are species that were popular then that are no longer available or sustainable and there are species and ingredients we take for granted now that were not available in the 70s and 80s. We just don't eat the way we did then.

post #10 of 16

You might be better off with the 1986 edition of provincetown.  I have the 1980 edition and there is an error in it. on page 98. (the recipe is for scallops shish kebab)   In the ingredient list it says 1/4 c. dry white wine and 1 stick butter, melted.  No where in the recipe does it tell you what to do with them. It also has the juice of 2 lemons, and it says to use the lemon juice as a marinade and i am wondering if the wine was also part of the marinade. same with stick of butter.  I did make another recipe out of the book and liked it. 

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricG View Post

Hi,

 

I would like to build up a nice collection (non-digital) but I have some questions, would appreciate some answers/opinions. 

 

1. I notice on Amazon, often the latest version of a book is considerably more expensive. So I then read the reviews and Google search the two editions and nothing conclusive comes up. So I'm naturally left wondering, should I spend eight more bucks on the 2002 version as compared to the price of the 1996 version. Are corrections often made in later editions?? I don't mean any one book in particular, just in general.

 

2. There are a lot of restaurant cookbooks, what are your thoughts on those? do they REALLY give their real recipes? in their entirety? I can't help but wonder if places like Brennan's and Antoine's in New Orleans for example really give you their real recipes. Seems it would be very easy to leave out a few details to sell you a book and get you back in there. 

 

3. I've heard that sometimes even well known and renowned chefs don't give out the real deal on their recipes in their books, is this true? where can I find out so I can be sure avoid their books? anyone care to post? if not pm to me who they are that commit this fraud. 

 

Thanks,

Eric

Well all being said, I recommend Rachel Ray's 365 meals, anything by Robin Miller, and also Paula Deen's Cooking Bible. They make great reads all of them and Christmas is coming up so drop some hints (be specific-or who knows what you'll get).  As far as restaurants go, usually after I have a great meal at one I go home and attempt to duplicate the flavor profile of the dish...it seems to work for me better than just buying a book from one place unless you LOVE it...then have the chef/owner sign it!!! Bon appetite'

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricG View Post

So chicago terry, if the earlier version of the book is 8.00 less am i pretty safe? Heres an example Anthony bourdain says the provincetown seafood cookbook is a treasure to have so the 1978 version is 40.00 but the 1986 version is 80.00 without buying both, which one should i get????

Ask Santa Claus to bring you the newer one lol!  Christmas is coming soon...seriously

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Skipstrr,

 

It's all about you. :)

post #14 of 16

I've been away for a while so only now posting this response to this old thread.

 

I buy my cook books almost exclusively on Half dot com.  I search for the books.  When I find a book I like, I search for the book on Amazon and read the reviews.  I then add it to my wishlist.  I can also include how much I want to pay for it, and the minimum condition.  I receive an email when the book is available in my minimum condition and at my price.  I then go to Half and buy it.

 

I try to buy multiple books from the same seller to get a break on the shipping.

 

After I receive the books, if I dont like any of them, I take them over to Goodwill and claim them on my taxes for that year.

post #15 of 16

You can buy and sell your cookbooks at Cheftalk too of course on the Trading Forum. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #16 of 16

Some restaurant cookbooks are great. If you can, try getting a copy of the book through your library first, see if you like it, make a recipe or two.

 

I have a collection of practical cookbooks, which I use; I find that library book sales are good. I'm lucky living near Cambridge Mass.: the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe has an annual sale (they have a wonderful culinary collection for research). https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/event/2015-schlesinger-library-book-sale  This year I picked up: The Savor of the Sea: a Complete Seafood Cookbook by Dan Morris & Matilda Moore; The Firefighter's Cookbook by John Sineno, NYC Fire Department; The Food of Malaysia, by the cooks of Jonkers Restaurant, Malacca, and Bon Ton Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur; a few older Penguin paperbacks: French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David, South East Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden and Mediterranean Seafood by Alan Davidson;  Chinese Gastronomy by Hsiang Ju Lin & Tsuifeng Lin; When French Women Cook: a Gastronomic Memoir by Madeleine Kamman; and a paperback copy of As They Were by M.F.K. Fisher. Everything was $2 or under, most were 25 or 50 cents, all in good condition. And I just stumbled upon my local library's sale today and bought some more. Great for gifts too.

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