There are about two dozen cookbooks in our home. Some of them are stored in our study rather than our kitchen and are rarely opened these days; these books include two very old Women’s Weekly cookbooks, which contain a few handy recipes that rarely appear in contemporary media.
Of the cookbooks kept in our kitchen, the one we open most frequently is the original edition of The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander (published in 1996 by Viking, part of the Penguin Group). Although we use several of its recipes, there are many more which do not suit us from a taste or dietary point of view. The book’s main continuing value to us is as a source of information about numerous ingredients. The information includes varieties; storage and preparation options; and lists of what-goes-with-what. We use this information to enhance our own techniques and creativity.
Since May 2013, we have been making extensive use of My Umbrian Kitchen by Patrizia Simone (published in 2012 by Lantern, also part of the Penguin group). We purchased this lovely book at a Mothers Day luncheon that featured some of Patrizia’s recipes. To date, we have used more than a dozen of the recipes in the book, including three dishes which featured rabbit, trout and quail, respectively, all boned by Maggie. We will include some of the recipes once we have committed to their ongoing use and settled on any modifications.
The authors of the other books that we open quite often include David Herbert, Maggie Beer, Beverley Sutherland-Smith and Karen Martini. We also use a couple of contemporary Women’s Weekly publications.
Our cookbooks are supplemented by recipes and cooking tips published in newspapers, magazines and websites. Without being voluminous readers, we still continue to come across recipes that inform or inspire us.