Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Kitchen Library - Reference Books

I started building a kitchen library when we got married, nearly 13 years ago.  Before that, I had a handful of cookbooks and a recipe box.  I know what you're thinking - "well isn't that a kitchen library?"  The short answer is yes, but I'm talking about something that's a little more in-depth, something with a little more meat on the shelves so to speak.


So what's in my kitchen library?  I have an array of cookbooks, books on food writing and how to write cookbooks, books about ingredients, books on dehydrations, books for selling table to market, books on substitutions, and even a book about wine.  I've also taken my recipes out of boxes, because I'm not a recipe box user, as much as I love the idea of one.  My recipes are in 3-ring binders, yes plural, and every recipe is in a sheet protector or photo pocket depending on what it's written on.  I also have a small selection of food memoirs on a shelf in the living room.

Today I thought I would share some of my favorite books, that aren't cookbooks, that make great additions to your kitchen.  Assuming you're a food person like me, you might have a few magazine subscriptions and read any number of blogs and recipe sites to find the next great meal.  You also might need a little help navigating some of the recipes or techniques as you go.

The Food Lover's Companion is like a pocket dictionary for cooks.  No, I'm not kidding.  I've mentioned this book before.  I can't stress how many times we refer to this book.  It doesn't even live on the shelves with the other kitchen library books.  I keep it on the shelf next to the kitchen table.  While you can always "google it" there is something really great about having a book to flip through.  Since it's organized alphabetically and cross-referenced it's easy to use and there is no waiting for a page to load or having to visit several sites before you find the answer to what "x ingredient" is.

Available on Amazon
The Flavor Bible is a great book to have if you want to know how ingredients will be compatible with recipes.  I don't use this as much as I should but, it's still amazing to have when I'm not sure about an ingredient or am looking for options to replace something in a recipe.  This book is organized alphabetically and cross-referenced for ease of use.

Available on Amazon
The Food Substitution Bible another book that's way handy to have.  This is one I would suggest for new cooks, as there's great info in here about substitutions of ingredients, techniques, and even equipment.  This book if for those times when you discover you don't have a key ingredient, the right size pan, or a hard-to-find ingredient. Also organized alphabetically and cross-referenced.

These are my three most used books for reference in my kitchen.  While not all of them get the same amount of use, and yes you could get by with just one of them, I find them equally valuable.  If you're only willing to purchase one though, my recommendation would be for the Food Lover's Companion, as that is by far my favorite when it comes to kitchen library reference books.

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