A list of the books I read most in the kitchen, in no particular order.
Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn – Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing – This is the book that got me started on charcuterie. Easy to follow recipes for the aspiring home charcutier.
Jane Grigson – Charcuterie and French pork cookery – Dense, in-depth exploration of French charcuterie. A classic, although many recipes are old, containing vague amounts for things like Saltpetre (“a good pinch”, etc). Still a great read.
Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn – Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing – Italian salumi recipes, fermented sausages, etc. The sequel to their “Charcuterie” book.
Stanley & Adam Marianski: The art of making fermented sausages – Essential reading for anyone attempting fermented sausages. Much heavier on the underlying science than the Ruhlman / Polcyn books. They’ve made this extremely complex subject relatively easy to understand for the average home cook. Impressive stuff. Lots of fermented sausage recipes to boot. yay!
Fergus Henderson – Nose to Tail eating: A Kind of British Cooking – A truly beautiful book in every way, with a gushing introduction from Anthony Bourdain. Offaly good, you might say 😛 Contains recipes for literally everything but the oink. Roast bone marrow and parsley salad is one of my all time favourites. You need this book in your life.
Fergus Henderson – Beyond Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking: Part II – Follow up to “A kind of British cooking”. Enough said.
Richard Bertinet – Crust: From Sourdough, Spelt and Rye Bread to Ciabatta, Bagels and Brioche (with DVD) – Worth it for the Breton bread recipe alone, which is by far the best tasting loaf I’ve ever made. DVD is useful to see how he does the French kneading technique, I’m still struggling to get that to work properly for me.
Anthony Bourdain’s “Les Halles” Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking – I love this book – I like his writing style as well as the recipes. I’ve had considerable success with the recipes, a particular favourite is Daube Provencal. Delicious.
Anthony Bourdain Omnibus: “Kitchen Confidential”, “A Cook’s Tour” – Details his beginnings as a chef, the dirty, drug fuelled inner workings of the restaurant industry, in his inimitable style. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
Elisabeth Luard: European peasant cookery – An excellent book packed with recipes from all over Europe (you don’t say). Everything from fermented cabbage soup with bacon to Jellied eels.
Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe cookery course – Covers everything from basic techniques up. Clear instructions with master recipes and then optional twists. Brilliant.
Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish: The Definitive Guide to Conserving, from Jams and Jellies to Smoking and Curing – Loads of recipes, some a bit odd – Persian Pickled cherries with tarragon anyone?
Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The time-honoured ways are the best – over 700 recipes show you why – Another great book from Darina Allen. All sorts of oldy-worldy goodness in here. Chapters on foraging, bread and cheese making, etc. Good to just sit down and read.