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Cooking by Hand

Take it slow. Mince fresh garlic. Brine pickles. Explore cooking from scratch and its satisfying rewards.

Bertolli, Paul
Cooking by Hand
Former Chez Panisse chef, Mr. Everything at his own restaurant in Oakland, California, Bertolli offers thoughful essays accompanied by recipes, often written as detailed narratives. From the introduction, “Good Cooking is Trouble,” to a twenty-five page chapter, “Twelve Ways of Looking at Tomatoes,” Bertolli champions learning and discovery, because ” . . . cooking is most satisfying when you are creatively involved.”
 
Bittman, Mark
Food Matters
Bittman’s practical approach to eating focuses on cooking at home using familiar ingredients. Beginning with a concise history of the influence of government, big business, and science on current food issues, Food Matters arrives at a simple message: “Eat more plants, fewer animals, and as little processed food as possible.”
 
Leader, Daniel
Bread Alone: Bold Fresh Loaves from Your Own Hands An essential bread book for readers who want to learn traditional bread making: slow-leavened, hand-shaped, centuries-old styles including sourdough ryes, pumpernickel loaves, French pain au levain.
 
Madison, Deborah
Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets
With Deborah Madison as guide, travel across the country from market to market, then head to the kitchen to prepare savory, seasonal meals. Arranged by fruit and vegetable families as they appear in markets.
 
Madison, Deborah
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
The bible of vegetable cookbooks, and a desert island choice for omnivores, vegetarians, or vegans. 1400 recipes move from simple preparations of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes to delicious combinations. Covers all categories of food, including bread and dessert. (How about the yogurt tart?!)
 
Parsons, Russ
How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table
Author of the lauded How to Read a French Fry, How to Pick a Peach features Parsons’ friendly, smart voice as he narrates a seasonal produce tour. Each chapter focuses on one vegetable or fruit, including agricultural history, where they’re grown, how to choose, how to store, how to prepare, and one simple recipe.
 
Pellegrini, Angelo
The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life
First published in 1948, reissued by Modern Library’s classic food writing series, this book helped to inspire a culinary shift in the United States. A Tuscan immigrant, Pellegrini shunned processed foods, and cheered for the good life: a garden of fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits; a home cooked meal; homemade wine to share. Guidelines, rather than recipes, will motivate. A Pellegrini quip or two might just land on your fridge: “Nothing is so effective in keeping one young and full of lust as a discriminating palate thoroughly satisfied at least once a day.”
 
Wolfert, Paula
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook
Slow food doesn’t always mean slow cooking, but in this highly recommended book it does. These recipes require planning, but not necessarily hours at the stove. Simmer, slow roast, braise, poach, or marinate, and reward yourself with flavorful dishes from the cuisines of Italy, Spain, Southern France, and North Africa. (I’m dreaming of slow-cooked duck with olives.)
 
Ziedrich, Linda
The Joy of Pickling: 200 Flavor-Packed Recipes for All Kinds of Produce from Garden or Market
Zeidrich removes the mystery from canning in this comprehensive reference, featuring dozens of original recipes for a variety of pickles. Novice and veteran will be tempted by recipes for traditional cucumber pickles, as well as kimchi, chutney, salsa, sauerkraut, and pickled grapes.
 

Updated: August 20, 2009