A Book for Cooks

Thursday 14 November 2013

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I must apologize ahead of time for the strange hue to my photos today.  I don't know what was up with the light but it was not the best for taking photos, but I didn't want another day to go by without telling you about this fabulous book I read recently!

As you know I am a cookery book enthusiast!  I just love cookbooks.  I go to bed with them and I really enjoy them.  I have some that are really old actually which I cherish a great deal.  New . . . old . . . in between I have never met a cookbook that didn't have some value to me.  They are like good friends.

This book here today is not a cookbook, but a book about cookbooks!   In short it is a compendium of 101 classic cookbooks, compiled and edited by  Leslie Geddes-Brown, selected by her for their influence, for their unusual recipes or simply for their beauty.  It is clear that this is a woman who is a cookbook lover too, and as she says quite rightly that this is a person collection of her own favourite cookbooks, which might not be the same as your favourite cookbooks . . . but I have to tell you from the outset . . . Leslie has great taste because a lot of her favourites were MY favourites too!

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Looking at her cooking space, you just know this is a person who loves all aspects of cookery . . the tasting and smelling, the touch and sight . . . and of course the sounds of food cooking.   There is not too many other things you can do that involves all of our five senses in quite the same way and that is the approach Leslie has taken in this book . . .  these are cookbooks that incite you to run into the kitchen and immediately get stuck in, they set your taste buds to tingling and your fingers to itching to be in the kitchen chopping and beating and . . . cooking.

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Each book listed is complete with a cover shot and a few pages from it's interior to whet your appetite and a totally edible description of it's contents, complete with interesting facts about it's author.

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There are some very old surprises such as The Gentle Art of Cookery by Mrs D F Leyel and Miss Olga Hartley, published in 1925 . . . which I found quite fascinating . . . and am now on the look out for . . . (You would be surprised what you will find in old used book shops.)

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There are some not so surprising new comers . . . such as The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver . . . (I still regret giving my copy of this away.  Never, ever give away a cookbook.  You will instantly regret it.  Trust me on this.)

And of course everything in between.

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I was not at all surprise to see Nigel Slater included.  As you know he is my all time favourite.

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There is also a fascinating section which is devoted to Cooks and their books, which is a small list of some really good cooks and the cookery books which inspires them.

I have quite, quite enjoyed going through this and have spent many hours in the days since I received it going through it again and again . . . each time finding something new and discovering some book which is new to me and which I covet owning. 

With more than 500 colour illustrations, lively text, including a short history of cookery books, and an elegant design, A Book for Cooks is a culinary delight for all foodies.  This is a  stylish compendium of 101 of the world’s best cookery books, from the seventeenth century to the present day, showing covers and several inside pages of all featured books.  I would consider this to be a welcome addition to any true foodie's cookbook library.  I think any foodie on your Christmas list would be quite happy to find this under the tree on Christmas Morning!

A Book for Cooks
101 Classic Cookbooks
Leslie Geddes-Brown
Published by Merrell Publishing

224 pages
ISBN  978-1-8589-4579-8
UK £30.00
US $ 50.00 

Many thanks to Helena for sending me this book to review.  All opinions are my own.


  1. I love them too. I have so many.

    This looks like a really neat one to have.

  2. Nice book. I have a collection of more than 200 cookbooks and I love them all. I'll never give them away :)

    Regarding the hue of the photos - Have you tried to change the White Balance?

  3. I've got that book! It's fantastic, I love looking in it for ideas of cookbooks to buy. I also have a small but growing collection of 19th and early 20th century cookbooks and they are fantastic too look through, not just at the recipes but from a social history aspect too!

  4. Dan, I am not that tecchie saavy! (Probably can't spell either!) I don't know what white balance is. It was just a really poor day for natural light with heavy cloud and rain. I always take all of my photos on the table in front of our dining area window.

    Ramona and Nicola, I am glad to know I am not the only cookbook obsessed person!

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