The term “cook book” actually includes a wide range of content: recipes, culinary novels, technical manuals, biographies of the world’s great chefs, or books that take an in-depth look at a single ingredient. Among the books that all Fine Dining Lovers should have on their shelves, we’d like to point out three examples of “gastronomic literature” that differ with regards to inspiration, content and cultural roots, but that are great reading, exceptionally informative and therefore, indispensable.
IN THE HEART OF FOOD
The first of our suggestions was perhaps the culinary phenomenon in the 2011 publishing world, one that has already become, for many, a kind of bible. And yet, Modernist Cuisine is not a simple book, but rather a kind of encyclopedia composed of six volumes, totalling 2,438 pages and costing around 500 dollars. Chef Ferran Adrià, called Modernist Cuisine a work «that will change the way the world thinks about cooking». Adrià wrote one of the two introductions in the book, along with Heston Blumenthal – and these are two of the most famous chefs in the world today.
A CALL OF THE WILD
We also told our readers how they could respond to the “call of the wild” by using the woods as if they were their own personal pantry or fresh air supermarket. The recently published French book, L’appel Gourmand de la Forêt – (The Gourmet Call of the Forest), edited by La Plage – is a collection of 324 pages featuring recipes, suggestions, photographs and useful charts and information for 30 different herbs, shrubs, trees and forest mushrooms. From wild garlic to thistles, from violets to borage, from loquats to wild prunes, every ingredient is looked at first from a botanical viewpoint and then transformed into jams and cakes, juices or soups. One of the book’s highlights is the introductory part in which the author explains the rules and selection criteria for gathering in the woods.
SCIENCE IN THE KITCHEN...
Let’s close with a suggestion that arrives from the past: Science in the Kitchen, written by the famous Italian gastronomist Pellegrino Artusi and first published 1891. But don’t let the year fool you into thinking this book is outdated. Artusi’s text is still a point of reference today for foodies and gourmands everywhere – not just in Italy, although it does give a priceless glimpse into the nation just after its unification. Artusi may not have been a cook, but he’s a man worth celebrating. His merit was in codifying, re-ordering and classifying Italy’s great tradition of domestic cuisine, which is in itself, the result of extraordinary regional varieties and traditions. His is a cookbook embellished with detailed prose about daily life and historical trivia. It’s been a fundamental part of Italy’s national identity that has been read around the world. Like few other texts, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, should be considered a unifying tool for this country and its gastronomic, linguistic and cultural patrimony.