Best-of-the-year cookbook lists for 2014
  • Yes, it's that time already! I've started a board at Pinterest for 2014 books:

    Please share lists you find here and I'll pin them.
  • I'm following your pinterest board - is it just me, or does anyone else feel that there have not been as many big splashy clear winner cookbooks? Its probably me because I've not been cooking as much (and so less reading about cooking).
  • I agree. My "want" list for this year is really low. I'm purposely avoiding looking to some extent because my cookbook space is severely limited (as in, I can't shelf all the books that are around the house), but that's never stopped me before.
  • I guess Plenty More is on my want list, but mostly I want more time to cook. However, what do you want to bet that when the critics come up with their top 10 list, it will cause my wish list to expand, too.
  • Here's a list of baking books from the LA Times. I have the Greenspan book and have only had a chance to peek at it so far but it looks awfully good.
  • Got it, thanks.
    Plenty More is looking like one of the year's favorites.
    Also frequently appearing is Persiana.
  • Here is a compilation of lists from Eat Your Books:

    I'm intrigued by the frequent appearance of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's practical pantry; this one escaped my notice during the year. It would be interesting if someone graphed out these selections - how many are repeated? Are repeats the true best of the year? Any you disagree with? I have forest feast - its lovely and simple, but I would never think to call it one of the best.

    What do you all think?
  • On yes, Mrs Wheelbarrow is also interesting. I did think about tallying the lists, but decided I really had better things to do with my time. :-)
    In previous years, ones that were tops on many lists turned out to be kind of coffee table books to me, rather than useful cookbooks. Since I'm close to maxing out my space nowadays, I need to be really picky about what I choose. That's why I'm looking at Ruhlman's Twenty, several years old and still getting good reviews.
  • I just added 14 feet of bookcases, but they are intended for more than just cookbooks.
    I agree about the need to be highly selective, especially because I tend to actually use internet recipes a lot. I spy a package under the tree that looks suspiciously like Plenty More. Ruhlman's Twenty -- I should look at that!
  • I'm fighting against the tendency to make everything off the internet. Sigh.
  • Eat your books helps, but when I try to plan my meals at work, I have to resort to the internet.
    I am trying to make a weekly menu plan, focusing on my books. But it is certainly an up-hill battle.
  • I keep a spreadsheet with 3 weeks of "plan", only the current week relatively fixed. I include activities and appointments, so I can plan meals appropriate to the time available. There are pages for recipes I want to try, Mains, Sides, Desserts, Holidays, etc. Including ideas from my cookbooks and internet as well as from the freezer, etc.
  • Wow - you really have my respect! That is impressive, and I see how entering your various activities and appointments helps to make the meal plans realistic.
  • Really I fear it's a bit of my OCD side coming through. ;-) But it does help to be able to see a week and a time and know what's coming activity-wise, so I know if one day has to be a quickie or if I'll have time (and energy) for something more substantial or if we'll be out all day and it needs to be a crockpot thing.
    When I find something I'd like to make in a cookbook, I add it to my list. Biggest problem is that there are way too many interesting things to cook for the time available.
  • We've strayed pretty far from the original post but I wanted to chime in to say that I used a good mix of online and cookbook recipes. I tend to use my cookbooks more than online sources because I find them more dependable. Our Christmas Eve and Christmas meals were a good mix of resources from books and online sources.

    I simply can't plan meals out in advance. I hate being tied to any sort of plan. We do some basic planning when we do the shopping every week - usually for 3 or 4 days - but it's often pretty general like on Monday we'll have some sort of chicken and Tuesday we'll have some sort of pasta.

    All our holiday meals were a success but the one dud we had last week was an Alton Brown recipe from FoodNetwork for 40 clove garlic. It was pretty nasty and none of the 6 of us liked it a bit.
  • We probably *should* start a new topic here, since this is an interesting topic. We usually shop once a week. I try to have meals planned for most nights of the week and to leave one night, probably the one before shopping day, for using up odd bits. Even with planning though, things might change when life intervenes. We usually have fresh fish on shopping day and at least 2 or 3 more meals vegetarian or seafood. Chicken, pork, lamb on other days. Lots of pasta, and I aim to make it fresh once a month. It's easy to depend on internet, but I try to use my books as much as possible.
  • I always start with the butcher and proceed to plan from there. Main meals really depend on what they've got. I do sometimes get a fancy for something in particular, but you've got to be flexible - if I want oxtail there won't be any, even though there was last week.

    Now that we're more or less retired we go to the market twice a week. Wednesday is the main visit to the butcher for stuff that will keep for a few days. I'm never sure in advance which day I'll cook what. Friday is fish, chicken and mince, anything that you've got to cook within a day or so. I can't get out of the habit of batch cooking at the weekend, that's when I make stock, baked beans, spag bol sauce and the like.

    South Melbourne Market has a stall that sells excellent fresh pasta and sauces so about every second week I'll get something. I use their pepperonata sauce for shakshuka.

    I have a repertoire of tried and true recipes that I resort to according to season and inclination. Quite a few of them I can do from memory, and of course you don't need a recipe for a roast dinner! A lot of them are from books, some of which I've had for donkey's years. I also have no less than 487 recipes on MyRecipeBook, a wonderful app which will download recipes from just about any website, and a surprising number have entered the repertoire.

    Every so often I will decide to try something new, which will involve conscious purchasing of specific ingredients, and may or may not be worth the effort! This particularly applies to desserts, which I only ever do on a weekend.

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