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Edward Bottone: A Cook’s Book ShelfEdward Bottone
A Cook’s Book Shelf
Classic French Sauces


A Cook’s Book Shelf

Books you should have. Not the newest, or the latest, or the last word — but the best. Some may be out-of-print; check out second hand bookstores and on-line stores and auctions.

Evolving; by no means complete.
In No Particular Order

Oxford Companion to Food
Alan Davidson, ed.
Oxford University Press
Years in the making and very comprehensive. Most of you questions fully answered. If you are at all serious about your interest in food you must have this book handy at all times.

The Chronology of Food
by James Trager
Henry Holt
The complete when and where for every major, and most minor, events in food and beverage history since the dawn of civilization. Fun to dip in and out of.

The Art of Fine Baking
by Paula Peck
A Classic. Extremely useful primer for breads, pies, cakes, pastries.

by Mark Bittman
Exhaustive, packed with good information and recipes. Never be at a loss again.

How To Cook Everything
by Mark Bittman
Handy and reliable volume with enough about everything to make good on its title.

Cheese Primer
by Steve Jenkins
Workman Publishing
Complete, full of first hand knowledge, travel and tastings, well written and illustrated. Know your cheeses, now.

Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables
by Elizabeth Schneider
Harper & Row
Extremely well written. Answers all those questions like, what’s a pomelo? a tomatillo? fully and with recipes!

Craig Claiborne’s
Kitchen Primer
Vintage PB
First Published in 1969 it is still the best (sometimes quaint) basic cook book out there.

by Hugh Johnson
Intensely pleasurable read about the long history of wine making, profusely illustrated. A must have for anyone even mildly interested in wine.
The three tape, Vintage, VHS series hosted by Mr. Johnson is also superb.

An Appetite for Paris
by A.J. Leibling Modern Library
This engaging account of a young man’s culinary coming of age is a must for food lovers and those to whom Paris is forever calling.
Out of print. Check Ebay or

The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris
by Patricia Wells
Workman Publishing
Regularly updated, this paper back book has more usable, worthwhile, opinionated information, charm and authentic recipes that any other about the City of Light. The same could be said for her Food Lover’s Guide to France. She knows; you can trust her. Good black and white pictures.

The Taste of France
by Robert Freson
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
Large format, deliciously illustrated, great recipes divided by region — inspirational.

Eating in America: A History
Waverly Root and Richard de Rochemont
William Morrow & Co.
Carefully researched, engagingly written, this social history of American Gastronomy is a must read for anyone who ponders the question: What is American Cuisine. The authors put the developing regional American foodways in context and are thoughtful and thorough, even prescient.

American Food
The Gastronomic History
by Evan Jones
Overlook Press
Writing about “American” regional culinary history long before it was trendy. Lots of good history, anecdotes, info and recipes.

A True Delicacy
Boeckmann, Rebeiz-Nielsen
All you need to know.
Great photography and recipes for things to do with caviar other than just off the spoon.

The Story of Corn
Knopf /reprints (now in PB)
By Betty Fussell
Corn is the iconographical American food and so much more. We are inextricably linked to corn in more ways than you can imagine. This is a fine lively readable exploration of corn — in history, science, art and anthropology

I Hear America Cooking
By Betty Fussell
Almost anything written by the delightful culinary and kitchen scholar Betty Fussell is worth reading. She happily exhausts a subject delighting the reader every step of the way. A tour of regional American cookery with history, insight, immediacy and authentic recipes.

The Great Chile Book
by Mark Miller
10 Speed Press
Lets face it peppers are a hot topic and have been for a while. All you need to ever know is in this slim volume, well illustrated with some recipes so you can play with your peppers.

The Best-Ever Mediterranean Cookbook
by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow
Sebastian Kelly Publisher
The paper bound edition is jacketed in heavy clear plastic. Smart, because this is a book for the kitchen, one you will use over and over. Great recipes that work — from Italy, South of France, Greece, Spain, North Africa and the Middle East. Excellent step by step color photography and well written text. It may well be “the best ever.”

The Essential Pasta Cookbook
Whitecap Books
There are loads of books on pasta. This soft bound edition is one of the best I have come across with the widest ranging interests. Pictures make you salivate, do-able recipes are mostly ones you would want to make.

Lady fingers and Nun’s Tummies
by Martha Barnette
Vintage/Random House
Informative, amusing etymological investigations into culinary terms and derivations.

Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops and Salsas
by Paul Kirk
Harvard Common Press
The titles tells all … tasty, reliable recipes.

101 Glories of French Cooking
by Robert Courtine
Farrar Strauss Giroux
A superb compendium of the “Glories” including: Cassoulet, Gigot a Sept Heures, Choucroute Garnie, Tripe a la Mode Caen and many other long loved of the classic cuisine Française, with an engaging historic ramble on each dish.

Clementine In The Kitchen
by Samuel Chamberlain
Recently re-issued in paperback by Modern Library
This is a delightful story of the mid-century, thinly veiled adventures, of a family in France and their good-natured cuisinère Clementine. Includes masterful dry points/etchings by the author and additional whimsical illustrations — even Clementine’s recipes. Originally published by Gourmet magazine in 1943.

The Historic Restaurants of Paris:
A guide to century old cafés, bistros and gourmet food shops.
By Ellen Williams
The Little Bookroom 2001
This small format hardcover is packed with history of, and up to date materials about, nearly every worthwhile venerable, gastronomically significant bastion in Paris. A delightful read and competent guide should you be going to the City of Light to eat ( as if there was a more important reason to go). Handsomely produced, makes a nice gift for Francophiles.

Spotted Dick S’il Vous Plait: An English Restaurant in France
by Tom Higgins
Ballantine Books,1996
Think you want to open your own restaurant? An Englishman and his wife decide to open and English style restaurant in Lyons, France (to some the sacred epicenter of French gastronomy). Every twist and turn and challenge rings excruciatingly true. Great read, many a lesson to be learned.

Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century
by Laura Shapiro
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986 (also in PB)
women and the nutritional revolution of the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Catherine Beecher to Fanny Farmer and America’s first Cooking Schools. The name comes from a prize winning salad that, in a way personified, the “Scientific” cooking attitude (that has impacted our tortured contemporary eating habits) that pervaded the 20th century and how it was used against the liberation of women. Insightful, very worthwhile.

Escoffier: King of Chefs
by Kenneth James
Hambledon & London 2002, illus.
Auguste Escoffier lived and worked an astonishing 89 years, was the father of modern Haute Cuisine, and was responsible for many culinary innovations. Along with Caesar Ritz, at The Savoy, Ritz Carlton, and other establishments, he defined elegance as we know it. His importance to gastronomic history can not be overstated. In this book we learn a great deal about his accomplishments, the time in which he lived and something of the man himself. The engaging biographical chapters are interlarded with sixteen ‘interludes’ on single subjects from eggs, to the frying pan, to pommes d’amour. In all an informative, engaging read.

America Eats Out
John Mariani, William Morrow & Co. 1991
Lavishly illustrated, engagingly written covering 350 years of Dining out in America in shops, taverns, railway stops, lunch counters, diners, fast fooders to bastion of haute cuisine.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan, Penguin 2006
In contemporary society we are a far distance form what we eat — often geographically always philosophically. This book is divided in three: The first section discusses industrial farming and its consequences; the second, organic food, both as big business and on a small farm; and the third, what it is like to hunt and gather food for oneself — each section culminates in a meal. Fascinating, thought provoking, fine writing. A must for the thinking Culinarian.