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In recent years many great chefs have written their own cookbooks. Many are beautiful and offer a glimpse of the inner workings of their minds. But just how practical are these books? I never have any problems understanding the recipes or getting the ingredients, but then again I am a chef. Charlie Trotter's "Seafood" book is beautiful, but even I haven't heard of a number of the fish he uses. Charlie Palmer's book doesn't have too many hard to find ingredients but the techniques he uses in many of the dishes are very complicated and are hard to master by the home cook in a home kitchen. Are these really cookbooks or are they really coffee table books? Who are these books written for? Don't get me wrong, I own many of these types of books and I love them, but they really don't seem geared towards home cooks.
 

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Try Barnes and Noble online or Amazon.com.
They can get anybook in or out of print. I do prefer going to Kitchen Arts and Letters in NYC or other small book shops, but when you're in Mylasia, online is better than a trip to New York for a book ( I can guess air fare is about $1000.)


As far as these books go, they are breath taking and I find such works to be more of an insparation than something I must mimic. The home cook can look and use the design or try someting different or just enjoy the pretty pictures. We don't try to copy art from an art book or museum, we simply enjoy. Does this make sence? Food is afterall art.
 

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Novice cooks need cooking primers not chefs' books. I have never been a professional but have been what you might call a "hobbyist cook" for longer than most of our current chefs have been around. Many of our great chefs have produced wonderful books and I use them all the time, sometimes following recipes exactly and more often substituting ingredients with what I have in the fridge. Among my favorites are Charlie Palmer whose book I find not the least bit daunting, Charlie Trotter - his fish book offers alternative commonly avaible fish -, Alfred Portale, Jean-Georges Vongerichten (amazingly simple yet wonderful recipes), Ming Tsai and at least a dozen others whom I would be happy to recommend to anyone interested.
 
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