What’s On Chef Bill’s Bookshelf
One of my favorite ways to enjoy food is out of the kitchen and into a book…a cookbook of course! A good cookbook is like having a dear friend nearby, telling you a few of their secrets and offering a peek into their creative process in the kitchen. Often guests will ask me what my favorite cookbook is, or which one do I use the most often…(as you can imagine, I have quite a collection on my bookshelf.) I do have some favorites though that I would love to share with you. Each has it’s own story and reason for finding its way to my bookshelf, and I do consider them my “essentials.”
First and foremost is “The Fanny Farmer Baking Book” by Marion Cunningham. “Marion’s touches” on Fanny’s recipes and techniques have been around almost as long as Glen Ivy, and it is simply the best for the basics of baking. Her methods for baking are the cornerstones of many of my own recipes, and my friend Marion, a great chef in her own right is a native of Southern California.
Margaret Fox of Café Beaujolais in Mendocino, California has been quite an influence. Her book is now a page worn, food splattered version of its original state. I have always loved that Margaret has an eclectic approach to preparing food that utilizes everything around her—an incredible variety of local produce, the nearby ocean and wonderful dairies that you find in Northern California. Her first cookbook broke new ground with it’s comfort recipes and the way she expresses her joy and wit in the making of the day’s first meal. Even if you are not a morning person, you will love “Morning Food.”
Thomas Keller, another Native Californian, is a chef that I have great respect for. He is simply amazing in the kitchen and has a natural talent for teaching others. On top of that, he is a very nice guy. He has some beautiful books with great tips and techniques as well as some of the best food photography around. His newest book, “Ad Hoc,” is a recent addition to my bookshelf. I like it for it’s focus on family meals and every day, delicious approachable food—the kind of food that makes you feel good. And if you’re a beginner in the kitchen, or just want to become a better cook, this is a perfect first for your bookshelf.
As we get closer to the holidays, and that great time spend with family and friends, I hope you take some time for yourself and enjoy a little reading and recipe research. You will be surprised at how it gets those creative culinary juices going.
Wishing you a warm holiday season, and remember to keep on cooking healthy!
Your Chef, Bill Wavrin