Here's the second meme that Tara tagged me. With. (Ugh, hate that "never end a sentence with a preposition" rule.)
How many cookbooks do I own?
I just counted (which is hard to do because they're spread out all over the house) and it's not that many -- a mere 31. Unlike many people, I do not collect cookbooks. I rely on a few good ones and then supplement with the occasional "can't resist."
The last cookbook I bought?
David Thompson's Thai Food. I bought it because I was researching Thai food and I'd heard that Thompson's book was the authority on the subject. I've only cooked from it once, and the dish turned out pretty well, but I don't like the way he writes the recipes. You can tell he's a snob.
The last food book I read?
A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain. How can you not love the guy? His prose hits you like a comic book fist ("POW!" "ZING!" "BAP!") and his irrepressible sense of adventure, undying hatred of vegetarians and undisguised romanticism make for a fun ride. Who else would drink a live still-beating cobra's heart or eat lamb testicles in the desert?
Five cookbooks that hold a place in my heart?
How to Eat by Nigella Lawson. She's the one who made me realize that I needed to learn to roast a whole chicken, and her bountiful bosom and wicked smile make me think she's the kind of girl I'd get along with quite well. (Not that all my friends are big-breasted, it just implies a certain joie-de-vivre and sensuality, n'est-ce pas?) Plus she's English, and I've been accused on at least one occasion of being an anglophile.
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers is probably the most gorgeous cookbook that I own. The pages are thick and creamy and your fingers slide over them so smoothly when you turn the page that they almost slip between your fingertips, lost. Her writing, too, is gorgeous, and the recipes simply put forth. Some of the ingredients are hard to find, and the techniques can be laborious, but if you pick and choose there's something for everyone. Plus, it's my favorite restaurant in the City (most of the time) and it's lovely to have it on hand to remind me that it's time to go back.
Joy of Cooking A classic and a must have in any kitchen. My go-to when I want to make anything new from a paella to a pavlova.
The Cook and the Gardener by Amanda Hesser. Though Hesser herself elicits strong responses from the food world -- like herring, you either love her or hate her -- there's no denying that the way she puts down words on a page, gently, elegantly, makes you yearn for something not right in front of you. This book is Hesser at her best, in an idyllic French countryside trying to make friends with a crusty, gnarled old French gardener who'll barely give her the time of day, much less a bunch of baby carrots for her supper. How gratifying, then, to watch him soften to her friendship as the seasons pass.
Moro the Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark. Perhaps because the food they cook is a sexy, exotic blend of Spanish and Turkish cooking, perhaps because the introduction sucked me in with expressions like "hairy-chested matadors" and "hedonistic sultans", perhaps because the coarse paper resonates so perfectly with the simple peasant food, perhaps because it was a gift from an English friend -- this is the cookbook I have put down all the others for. I haven't yet cooked from it (it's still too much a treasure for anything so mundane) but the "poached eggs with yoghurt, sage and chilli flakes" and "lomo con leche" (pork cooked in milk with bay and cinnamon) whisper to me. Soon I'll heed their call.
(sigh) Everyone I thought to tag has already done this. Any volunteers?