So you’re looking to build out your culinary library or you’re looking for a gift for a sophisticated palate, and you’re just not sure what books to get. I have curated a list of books that I consider foundation books in a variety of areas. Any one of these books would make a great gift for the budding food lover or seasoned eater. I do know several of the book authors, and I can attest that their personalities make the books even more enjoyable.
The Bar Book:Elements of Cocktail Technique by Jeffery Morgenthaler and Martha Holmberg is a book about a technique that includes a MacGyver juicing section. There is even a section on how to shake a cocktail. It isn’t just blending flavors of spirits in a hand held vessel. It is a passionate dance that infuses the drink with the maker’s personality. If you don’t believe me, you’re not drinking the right cocktails.
Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State by David Alan is a dedication and celebration to spirits in the deep south. I consider this book a guide on how one should approach marrying fine spirits with fresh ingredients.
The amazing David Alan: Founder of Tipsy Texan.
The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food by Garrett Oliver is one of my favorite starter’s book to beer. However, this book is really comprehensive in the coverage of beer as food and beer with food. You’ve probably seen in my previous posts about Garrett Oliver. He’s a catalyst in both arenas and a much deserved winner of a James Beard Award.
The Flavor Bible: the Essential Guide to Culinar Creativity, based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg was recommended to me by Bill Norris, and it has been a great reference book for cocktails, cakes, and savory foods.
Ratio: The Simple Code Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Rulhman is a great book to have on hand whether you’re just beginning to cook or an experienced chef. For those who are strict recipe followers, this is a great catalyst to help you start experimenting with recipe changes or developing your own.
Some of the best ice cream from Jeni's. And no, it isn't enough.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer is hands down the best ice cream recipes ever. The ice creams are also available for purchase, but you’ll have more freedom to create what you like at home. Cooking for Engineers has made a roasted garlic ice cream that is delicious, and I used the chocolate recipe to make a Balcones Brimstone (smoked whisky) chocolate ice cream. Also, I had some of their ice creams at the Austin Food and Wine Festival along with the semi-sweet chocolate topping. It was chocolatey orgasmic.
Washoku: Recipes for the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh is a lovely introductory book to Japanese cuisine with extensive philosophy on food and Japanese traditions. This book is best paired with the Uchi: The Cookbook by Tyson Cole and Jessica Dupuy.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen: Celebrating the Tastes of Texas by Jack Gilmore and Jessica Dupuy is essential for every Texas kitchen. This book will make you proud to be in the Lone Star State with recipes that make you yell “YEHAW!” Also, I love Jack Gilmore. He is a great man. In the photo below, he presents yet another check to the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.