Monday, November 01, 2010
Cookbook watch - big, huge cookbooks
Allt Om Mat Stora kokboken ("The big cookbook from All About Food")
An extremely ambitious cookbook by the most classic Swedish food magazine, Allt Om Mat. The closest equivalent in US would probably be the Gourmet cookbook, by Gourmet magazines. (The magazines aren't that much alike, but the books are at least in the same genre.) All the recipes are well-tested and therefor reliable, which is what I really like about them. It's perfect for when you don't feel adventurous and prefer to follow a recipe - like my husband. Everything turns out like it should, which is definitely a big advantage. The book is nicely ordered - weekdays, Friday nights (easy and slightly more glamorous), Saturdays (including starters and/or desserts) and Sundays with dishes that take more time. There is also a large focus on parties and events, and there are lot of party menus and buffets. And last, but certainly not least, a big section on Swedish holidays. I like this book a lot - it's definitely a keeper.
Bonnier is one of the big publishing houses in Sweden, and they have published a large, definitive cookbook since 1960. Even staples must be updated, and although this one was re-written in 2002, it was time for another major revision. As all staple cookbooks, this is big. Really big. 1800 recipes, in fact! Well, in theory this would be the only cookbook you'd ever need. In reality? Perhaps not. It's great if you're just starting out in cooking, but if you're more of a cooking buff, maybe this isn't for you. Still, I like having at least one of these around, for looking up things like meat temperatures and stuff like that.
Yeah, so Bonniers have published their big cookbook for 50 years now. Guess what, they just re-published the very first edition from 1960, too! This is exactly like the old edition, since the original pages have been photographed and re-printed. This gets me more excited than the updated one - it's a lot of fun looking at old staple recipes, and marvelling at the ingredients and methods used. And the photos! They might not be food-porny like what you see in modern cookbooks, but I love them - it's all very retro. My favorite sections are probably the ones about kitchen layout, the menu suggestions, and a chapter on cooking with kids.