The oversized book contains pictures and charts and all the important meat information you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Few books combine sublime beauty and knowledge like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book. The book is so great, I’m not afraid to admit I only bought it because Gordon Ramsey Hugh on as a guest spot on his British talkshow, The F Word. Hugh also wrote a book on fish: The River Cottage Fish Book, though I’ve never read it.
In the world of always on internet and wikipedia, you might think an encyclopedia of food is unnecessary. I bought a pre-owned copy of this book from the 1960s for ten bucks and still find it more helpful than searching the internet sometimes.
Translated from Italian, this book came to the American market only a few years ago because Italian recipes tend towards the sparser side when it comes to instructions. The book has proven itself useful for rediscovering actual instructions for the lost knowledge from my grandparents’ generation. Unfortunately, I’ve only cooked a few of the recipes out of this book, but everyone has been brilliant.
There really is no such thing as a comprehensive guide to cheese given the variety and individuality of genuine artisan cheeses. However, this book has lots of pictures.
This book is old enough to list the cheeses of the USSR and there aren’t any photographs. But the descriptions are short and concise and there are nice little icons indicating important information like from what animal the cheese came from.
A Few Less Iconic Books
Even though its twenty years old, I’m at a loss to find another book devoted to pot pies. There is an update version of the book, but little has been changed other than the cover photograph. The downside of course is that pot pies are primarily a cold weather dish.
A comprehensive guide to the beans of Italy, this book is a mix of objet d’art and informative tool. Beans always seem to present a bit of a conundrum: they’re healthy but strangely exotic.