Conor's Christmas Cookbook Collection

Posted by Conor O'Neill on Sunday, July 9, 2006

UPDATE 1: Normally when I do reviews I use the Structured Blogging plug-in. Its biggest flaw is that you can only do one review per post and the “reviews” below do not warrent separate posts. An alternative is to use the simple hReview creator over at and then just cut n past a bunch of reviews into one post. So I have restructured and republished this review in that format (after seeing Tantek do the same).

Book Backlog

So that’s a picture I took back on Jan 31st of the big stack of cookbooks I had to get through in 2006. Most of em I got for Christmas. One, “Les Halles”, I got the previous Christmas. “Salt” I bought for myself and “Bridges” has nothing to do with food but I did get it for Christmas.

Here we are on July 2nd and what is the state of play?

Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Salt, A World History > ★★★★★ > Finally finished in April. Maybe the best book I have read in the past five years. But then that means it's the best of about 10.

Les Halles Cookbook
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Les Halles Cookbook > ★★★★★ > Fabulous recipes, great writing, still only half way through after 18 months. Need to try some of the recipes

The Kitchen Diaries
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor The Kitchen Diaries > ★★★★★ > Nigel is a god. "Appetite" is probably one of the top twenty cookbooks of all time. Barely started "Diaries". Love what I have read so far but it is very wordy. Need a holiday so I can read it properly. Is there a better food writer on the planet at the minute? I don't think so.

River Cottage Family Cookbook
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor River Cottage Family Cookbook > ★★★☆☆ > Obviously I worship the ground the Hugh walks on but this book has not grabbed me yet. I've dipped in a few times and like the recipes but I think maybe I need the kiddies to be a bit older so we can work on the stuff together. In fact, if I think about it, I love reading Hugh's books but I don't really cook that much from them. Not sure why as I'm totally on board with his opinions on food. Well apart from his recent silly nonsense on McDonalds in one of the British newspapers. McDonalds is a business built on supply and demand. When customers stop demanding cheap burgers, McD's will supply something else

Rachel's Favourite Food for Friends
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Rachel's Favourite Food for Friends > ★★★★☆ > Catherine cooks more from this than I do but there are tons of fast easy recipes in there. Good for ideas when you are stuck. I doubt it'll be a cover to cover read for me.

Gary Rhodes Food with Friends
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Gary Rhodes Food with Friends > ★★★☆☆ > Sis-in-law Paula got two of these free with bottles of Baileys and gave one to me. Shockingly good for a free book. Lots of tasty treats. I used to hate Gary - his cookery programmes were very anal and he always added just one touch too many to every dish. But he is transforming his image over the past few years and his great ability can shine through more now.

The craft of salting, smoking and curing
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Charcuterie > ★★★★★ > A masterpiece. Even if you never intend to make sausages or salami or prosciutto, it is wonderfully educational. I'm stalled reading it at the moment but want to make every single thing in it. My sausage making activities with the Kenwood became too frustrating but I will restart in the Autumn and this book will be my bible.

Jamie Oliver
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Jamie's Italy > ★★★★☆ > I have huge respect for this guy but I've never had much success with his cookbooks. I thought the TV series of this book was wonderful television. His brutal honesty about his lack of knowledge is really refreshing. I've barely started this book but I'm looking forward to finally getting a clue about Italian regional food.

Darina Allen
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Easy Entertaining > ★★★★☆ > [Blogged this before]( More a reference than a straight-through read. Recommended.

Jul 9, 2006 by Conor Bridges > ★★★★☆ > Nothing to do with food. Looks like a coffee table book but actually very technical. I have a "thing" about bridges ever since I stood on George Washington Bridge in NY with my cousin Thomas swaying gently and then discovering that it had been built in the 1920's. Since then I've only done Golden Gate (a bit of a let down), Bay Bridge (cool), Severn Bridges (fabulous). But the one I am dying to drive over is [Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge]( in Bristol. I have driven under it many times and I still wonder how they built it. It says a lot about our joint history that whilst we were scrabbling in the muck for rotting potatoes, they were building wonders like that.

The Accidental Foodie
Jul 9, 2006 by Conor The Accidental Foodie > ★★★☆☆ > Since then I accidentally bought "The Accidental Foodie" (I thought it was another book). This is a nice coffee table job where Neale Whittaker, who has editied many food magazines, profiles his food heros and gives some of their recipes. He has some that I love, like Nigel, Tamasin and Darina but also some luvvies I've never heard of who work more in the publishing world. Good writing and some great recipes.

So seven months in and I have finished the sum total of one book. I blame Martha Stewart and Alan Sugar.

[tags]Darina Allen, Nigel Slater, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Neale Whittaker, Jamie Oliver, Rachel Allen, Salt, Les Halles, Anthony Bourdain, Charcuterie, Michael Ruhlman, Gary Rhodes, Bridges, David Brown[/tags]

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