Sunday, 9 November 2008

THE BOOK PEOPLE

I love cookbooks. I can't help myself. I love glossy pictures, I love matt pictures, I love pages and pages of words all dedicated to food. I love food styling. I love hard backs, I love paper backs, I love big heavy tomes. I love page-marker ribbons. I love to read them from cover to cover like a novel and I love to salivate over the photography. This is a habit I seem to have inherited from my mother who has the equivalent of a small library of literature dedicated to epicurian delights and I am managing to build up a fair collection of my own (though alas, mine is not yet as impressive as Gemma's whose shelves of cookbooks I lust after and envy in equal measure...).

The problem with cookbooks is that a) there are literally hundreds I want, b) there isn't a week goes by when there isn't a new one to add to the list I already want, and c) at an average price of around £25 each, if I were to buy them all I'd very quickly be declared bankrupt (and some). And so it is I have to be satisfied with buying them slowly and one by one, resigned to the fact that unless I suddenly come into a fortune of millions the probability is that I'll never own all the cookbooks I'd like to.

However, Sylvie recently referred me to a website called The Book People which offers 50%-75% discount - they don't carry thousands of titles but they do have a good selection (particularly children's books incidentally) and so it was that I found myself perusing their choice of cookbooks. The discounts are unbelievable - to give you an example, the RRP on the new Clarissa Dickson Wright book 'Clarissa's Comfort Food' is £19.99 but you can buy it at The Book People for £6.99. If that's not enough to convince you to have a look then you're a lost cause.

Anyway, a few days after my ponder through their titles I took delivery of a great big red box containing four fabulous new cookbooks and a box set of a further eight classics - The Best of Mrs Beeton. Updated for a modern audience but still charming, these books come presented in a wee kitchen cupboard and include titles such as Jams, Pickles and Preserves and Household Tips - so cute.

Gordon Ramsay's Cooking for Friends is beautifully styled and worth it for the black forest cake recipe on page 246 alone, My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell has gorgeous photography and more importantly THREE ribbons and Cook Yourself Thin sounds a bit wrong really but it takes some traditionally calhorrific dishes and suggests ways of making them less so, which is a useful resource.

However, I am particularly excited about Leon by Allegra McEvedy, inspired by the London-based restaurants of the same name. This book is bursting with energy, information and recipes for the most amazing and mouth watering food. The design is fabulous and the book features cute surprise bonuses like a pull out cheese map of Europe. It's great fun and has two ribbons - what more reason do you need to buy?

Like I said, I can't help myself. My only problem now is where to start...

6 comments:

Manuel said...

It's funny you mention Leon as I was having a wee peek at it the other day. Looks great. My current favourite is Ways with Noodles - The second Wagamama book. Top drawer and all very doable....remember I struggle with pancakes....

carine said...

Oh yes Wagamama - marvellous.

I do remember your foray into the land of the pancake. I've got plans for pumpkin pancakes soon so I'm afraid you'll just have to look and salivate...

Gemma said...

The Leon cookbook is great isn't it. I was just looking at a Book People catalogue the other day and thinking about buying the John Torode book, I don't normally like him but I do like his recipes and this one is all about Beef, yum! My finger is also hovering over buy on the El Bulli book and the new Tessa Kiros - her books are so pretty. Um, is there a clinic for book buying addictions?

Gemma x

Jennie Landels said...

Loving your post- I am right there with you!! I LOVE cookbooks!!

I was working at the goodfood show 2 weekends ago and got great discounted books- I think it may have even been from formentioned Book People... I shall def be looking up the website!

I got the cook yourself thin cookbook and have used it loads!! The stirfry recipe tastes amazing and like it has 3 times the calories it does and the banoffe pie pots became a staple for quick desserts in the summer...

I adored your wee box of mrs beeton books... I read a biography on mrs b earlier in the year- Can't believe how young she was when she wrote the books!!

Hope you are well lovely. Def have to catch up soon.

Take care love Jen x x

carine said...

Gemma - Oooooooooh the El Bulli book... I was also tempted by John Torode but alas had to limit myself. Leon is marvellous! I feel my bank balance decreasing already *sigh*

Jennie - you should check out the Mrs Beeton set on The Book People - it's reduced from £64 to £17!

x

Manuel said...

oooohh just got a copy of Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson....nice! Totally bonkers but nice

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