Sunday, August 21, 2005

A visit to the Bookstore

I have always enjoyed the solitude time at the bookstore looking around for magazines and occasionally a novel but most of all, i enjoy flipping through awesome cookbooks by recognised cooks or celebrity chefs from around the world. They are a source of inspiration to me. They all have their story on how they became who they are today and how hard they have all worked to get the recognition they have painstakingly earned.

A few of my favourite celebrity chefs are, Gordan Ramsay (some of you might know by now), Anthony Bourdain and Guy Rubino from Made to Order but no cookbooks out by them as yet (but do check out the site on Food Network Canada:Made to Order for online recipes).
I would love to read more about the famous Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller: French Laundry Cookbook, Ken Hom and of course, Tetsuya Wakuda.

I felt a sense of vertigo when i was flipping through Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook. It's undoubtedly a beautiful cookbook with delicately presented dishes (which is something i strive to achieve in presentation) but the recipes......they were mostly long and complicated for an amateur cook like myself! Going through 95% of the book at Kinokuniya and reading the steps, imagining my solo self in my kitchen combined with my choronic perfection syndrome, i can so see myself preparing the meal to the best of my ability for my family/friends and one single frown at my food from anyone will send me jumping off my apartment window! Now i can understand why certain chefs who got striped off their title of being a Michelin Star chef would be motivated to self-destruct. Now, that is a serious cookbook for serious cooks who have the time and perhaps 2-4 maids in the kitchen to help with mis en place . But i put the book away telling myself.....perhaps one day, after much more experience and culinary skills acquired i will get there, it's not impossible!

So I decided on Anthony Bourdain: Les Halles Cookbook and Delia: How to Cook Book Two. Don't be fooled by Delia's How to Cook range. The title may be deceiving like its written for first time cooks with no experience at all in cooking. I gone through the recipes and found that it was not as easy as Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson's recipes. In addition, under each section, the brilliant thing I liked about it was that she expained majority of the ingredients in detail which gives the reader a much better understanding of how a particular ingredient can enhance the dish and how certain meats or veggies differ in taste texture and style. Can't cook when you don't understand and know your food! I have been cooking for the past 6 years now, I found myself benefiting from it.

As for Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, I just had to get it because I am a fan and I respect him as a chef who earned his respect and recognition through sheer hardwork...i mean, he started out as a dishwasher scrubbing pots and his first job as a kitchen help was to manage "fry-ups" at a cafe in New York! He went back to meet his ex-boss who started & inspired him on his career in the kitchen during one of his first few episodes on "A Cook's Tour". I thought to myself, I am sure this guy has some gems to share!

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