The Art of the Cookbook

Always start out with a larger pot 
than what you think you need.” 
― Julia Child

Even as a child, I remember thumbing through the pages of my parents' cookbooks, discovering new dishes and finding foreign ingredients.  Back then, cookbooks seldom looked the way they do now.  No glossy full-page photographs or food stylists or assumption that the reader was a foodie--just the words of the chef, perhaps a drawing or two and the trusted recipe.  

Today many cookbooks are practically art books.  After all, we do eat with our eyes first.  Filling these gastronomic editions with visual feasts is of utmost importance.

Certainly the home cook can turn to the internet to find a bevy of culinary instructions and insights, but for me, there are few things as pleasurable as taking a long look through a cookbook.  Rather than going in with a specific idea of what to concoct, I adore the serendipity of stumbling upon something I might not otherwise consider preparing.  Pastitsio instead of lasagna? Madeleines over those fail-safe Toll House cookies? Trying a new recipe is good for the mind and good for the soul.

Two of my favorite French cookbooks as of late have captured me with their scrumptious images and stories of France. Both La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life by Beatrice Peltre and The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo are as lovely to look at as they are delightful to read.  Like Sophie Dahl's Voluptuous Delights which I've raved about here before, these petite volumes are cooking treasures. 

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