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What five cookbooks would you keep?

Hi TDQ,

I am traveling, so I don't have fragrant rice with me right now, but the Balinese recipes that I use the most are the fish skewers (because I don't eat meat, though I'm sure those ones are just as tasty), rujak (fruit salad with sweet/sour/spicy sauce), banana pancakes made with rice flour and coconut and topped with palm sugar syrup (I'm not 100% sure if this one is in the book), and gado gado (vegetables with peanut sauce). Her peanut sauce is my favorite peanut sauce recipe.

I know there are a lot of other recipes that are easy and very good that I only remember when I am flipping though the book. Have you been to Bali? I think it can be a little hard to know where to start sometimes if you haven't been exposed to the cuisine too much.

May 16, 2010
GabiL in Home Cooking

Have you had foods flown in to satisfy a craving?

I have had espresso flown in from some obscure brand in Costa Rica that wanted way too much personal information in order to process the shipment. But costa rican espresso is the only type I have found that doesn't pick up the slightest hint of bitterness when brewed with American water.

As far as traveling, I regularly arrive in Italy with a nearly empty suitcase and pack it with the most mundane things that former residents of the boot miss: mulino bianco cookies, hot chocolate mix, anchovies and tuna packed in oil, etc. Ever since the ban on liquids in carry-ons though, I have been deprived of my favorite Tuscan olive oil because the producer is too small to ship here.

May 15, 2010
GabiL in General Topics

Have you had foods flown in to satisfy a craving?

Although when you come back from or travel to Hawaii, you are not supposed to take any plants or produce, so an unassuming lime or two in your suitcase can be problematic. They actually x-ray carry-ons specifically looking for food right before your board the plane.

May 15, 2010
GabiL in General Topics

Have you had foods flown in to satisfy a craving?

I came back from Spain with chorizo and had no problem getting it *into* the country, but when I tried to take it to California, the TSA agent tore my whole bag apart and took out practically everything I packed to run again, because it looked like a "liquid."

May 15, 2010
GabiL in General Topics

What five cookbooks would you keep?

I find that between sites like Epicurious and food blogs, there are so many recipes online now! I think the cookbooks worth keeping are the ones that are most enjoyable to own, whether for the photography and layout, voice of the writer, or additional articles.

Dave_c: Do you not do a lot of ethnic cooking? Your list seemed to center on the general/French.

If I were really going to scrap my collection, I would keep:

A Platter of Figs by David Tanis - I only just recently picked it up, but is so delightful to just sit and read. It always gives me writing and menu ideas, even if they are only inspired by something in one of the narratives and not an actually recipe.

Small Plates by Jennifer Joyce - A constant source of inspiration, this book lists meals by topic (tapas, middle eastern meze, etc.) and provides quickly thrown together, purchased, and homemade options to create a dinner spread for a group.

Fragrant Rice by Jane De Neffe - I have heard this compared to Under the Tuscan Sun, but that completely undervalues this book. It is a complete window into a rare and under-appreciate cuisine which is both delicious and incredibly healthful.

The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery - Apart from its long unchallenged position as my favorite source of baking recipes, this cookbook is drop dead gorgeous. If there weren't recipes on the backsides of the photo pages, I would cut them out and have them framed.

Handwritten Italian recipes from my first cooking class - while not a cookbook per se, these are so precious that I don't know what I would do if they were lost. C]They chronicle essential cooking techniques like the proper way to make gnocchi, tiramisu, and mousse and some of my most popular dinner recipes.

I'm glad I came across this thread because I have had a blog post about 25 Inspiring Cookbooks to Get You in the Kitchen percolating for a while and had nearly run out of books that fit the strict standards I had set in my research. Thanks for the additional ideas!

May 15, 2010
GabiL in Home Cooking

The Top Four Worst Coffeehouse Faux Pas

Hi Helena,

I love the choice of topic! I just wrote a series on this specific to Boston, and on the East Coast several baristas complained to me about the "Dunkin Donuts" phenomenon. Instead of ordering Starbucks style, as you mentioned, people order like they are in Dunkin Donuts, and are often irritated that there isn't flavored coffee available or that the barista doesn't add the cream and sugar for the customer.

May 15, 2010
GabiL in Features