Author Topic: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"  (Read 10329 times)

Trudie

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I enjoy cooking an baking, mostly at home for family and friends.  I enjoy working with basic, whole foods -- learning to do things from scratch (i.e. breadbaking) to eliminate "crud" from my diet.  I am not strictly organic, but I try to buy locally-sourced and organic ingredients when I can.  I have long thought that in retirement it would be fun to enroll in culinary school at the local community college, but I would be doing it just for myself.  I really don't enjoy making a business of it.  I enjoy throwing parties, though.  Well, maybe I could muster a food truck, but that's about it.  I have no interest in having a restaurant.

I would like to put together a booklist/resource list of my own course of study.  I'm wondering if there are any chefs who lurk in these parts (formally trained or not) or just advanced home cooks who could add their suggestions to this list??

I have access to a great public library system and an academic library.  I have a friend who works in interlibrary loan, so she can get me about anything!




Fonzico

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 02:20:11 PM »
I'm just a home cook (although I flatter myself a pretty good one), but I found Jamie Oliver's "Cook with Jamie" to be an excellent primer on a wide variety of (English) foods and cooking methods and techniques. It's a broad overview on many things, with more in depth bits on this and that. Good focus on whole, local foods, and he doesn't use processed foods. I would say it's a good resource for someone who's beyond the basics, but not quite at the gourmet chef stage.

mak1277

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 02:24:03 PM »
#1 has to be Joy of Cooking.  Covers the basics really well including stuff like basic butchering techniques.

darkhorse

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 02:40:51 PM »
Get yourself a subscription to Cooks Illustrated. Much more than just incredible recipes, it's an excellent resource that walks you through recipe invention, the chemistry behind it, etc. I consider it my own at-home culinary school.

rocklebock

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 02:46:46 PM »
I would just get in touch with the instructors at the community college and ask if they'll share their syllabi/reading list. I looked at a friend's culinary school textbook once, and it was certainly nothing like any home cookbook I've ever seen. My impression is that being a good chef requires a completely different approach than being a good home cook. A chef should really chime in about this, though.

swick

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 04:20:30 PM »
If you want to DIY and go in depth I would check out "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute of America.

I have the 8th Edition, bought from a book sale for $1.00. It is a super hefty and rather unwieldy tome, but has all the info you could want to learn with recipes, as well as all the science behind it. It is definity a textbook.

zinnie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 04:49:54 PM »
I am only a wanna-be chef type, but Larousse Gastronomique is a great resource. It has cooking techniques for just about everything imaginable, and also has a lot of information about identifying and choosing ingredients as well as the history of foods. It is basically an encyclopedia of foods, recipes, and techniques. I believe earlier editions were focused on french cooking but the current edition has information about most types of cuisine around the world. I imagine if you got through all 1300 pages you would be quite the expert! :)

http://www.amazon.com/Larousse-Gastronomique-Prosper-Montagne/dp/0609609718

SummerLovin

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 05:45:44 PM »
I'm not a chef but occasionally like to entertain. I do have a friend that is a chef and recommended the following to me:

Le Cordon Bleu's Complete Cooking Techniques
The Flavor Bible
The Professional Chef
The Making of a Chef -Mastering Heat

The Wine Bible if you have the inclination.

My first cookbook given to me by my grandmother (I still reference it today):
Culinary Arts Institute, The American Family Cookbook
Although it is huge, and many of the recipes are dated, it taught me all the basics including the different cuts of meats, measuring devices and basic kitchen supplies.
I know you said you'd start at the library, but when you find the ones you want to own, before you buy, check out the local goodwill. I can't believe how many cookbooks are available, almost new.

Trudie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 05:56:54 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions.  I already own copies of "The Joy of Cooking."  I also just purchased an ATK cookbook (after borrowing it through interlibrary loan first) on the science of good cooking.  I like their overall approach.

I followed some recommendations here and also looked at some other lists and went to alibris.com to purchase decent used copies through Better World Books (supports literacy - -a good deal all around.)  I purchased a copy of Larousse Gastronomique and "La Technique" by Jacques Pepin...as well as another small book.  Total cost, with shipping, was around $15.

I have quite a bit here to keep me busy for awhile, but I would like to hear your additional ideas.

G-dog

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 07:37:43 PM »
I actually took a class at a local culinary school (it's part of a community college p, but fairly reputable). Taking classes could be expensive, so keep that in mind. There may be local places that will do a one session cooking class - I don't recommend those other than for socializing.
 There are several cooking shows on TV, especially public television -
I like Julia Child  - she is good at explaining and describing how something should look/feel/smell
Rick Bayless - mexican food
Martha Bakes - she is also good at describing the steps and appearance at various steps
Cook's Illustrated America's Test Kitchen - they get into the science behind cooking
Caprial cooks
You can probably watch some of these online, or possibly get them on tape or DVD from a library.
Mark bit an from the NYT does short videos
On commercial TV -Alton Brown's Good Eats - LOVE Alton, he also gets into the science, and is very entertaining
Also, Tyler Florence.
Both Alton & Tyler had shoes on the Food Network - there may be DVD's at a library.

 I like the binder format of the Better Homes & Garden cookbook - it's a good general go to cookbook.this is more convenient when you need it to stay open and lay flat as you cook.

Trudie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 08:13:55 PM »
@G-dog

Thanks for the recommendations.  There's a reputable culinary school at our local community college, which I might do in semi-retirement... or maybe not.  It CAN be expensive.  It's interesting to read about others' roads to becoming professional chefs and whether or not they felt culinary school was worthwhile.  Many agree that culinary education is outrageously expensive compared to the expected ROI.  Many great chefs apprenticed or grew up in family restaurants (Mario Batali, Jacques Pepin).

For me it's just personal interest, so even if I took a couple of classes I wouldn't do a whole curriculum.  I like researching and dabbling.

Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks I already own:

Better Homes and Gardens Best Recipes -- basic, but surprisingly good
Joy of Cooking
Byerly's - old grocery chain in Minneapolis that is sadly now out of business
Lynne Rosetto Kasper of "Splendid Table" fame -- 2 cookbooks, which are a pleasure to read -- great history
Various ATK publications

Basically I've banished anything "church cookbookish" from my cabinets to save space.  It has its place, but there are plenty of places online I can find recipes with processed ingredients.  I constantly cull my cookbooks and do consult the internet a lot for recipes, especially when I have ingredients to use up.

garth

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 08:46:44 PM »
If you want to DIY and go in depth I would check out "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute of America.

I have the 8th Edition, bought from a book sale for $1.00. It is a super hefty and rather unwieldy tome, but has all the info you could want to learn with recipes, as well as all the science behind it. It is definity a textbook.

I think this is best answer. They have an iPhone/iPad app as well with video and other bells and whistles.

Cressida

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 10:52:21 PM »
Get yourself a subscription to Cooks Illustrated. Much more than just incredible recipes, it's an excellent resource that walks you through recipe invention, the chemistry behind it, etc. I consider it my own at-home culinary school.

I agree with this (it's the only subscription I kept after discovering Mustachianism), although I do think CI has gotten slightly less useful as it's aged. They used to tackle the basics; now they've done all that and they cover more eclectic recipes that might not be to everyone's taste.

For that reason, you might consider picking up their giant cookbook The New Best Recipe http://www.amazon.com/Best-Recipe-Cooks-Illustrated-Magazine/dp/0936184744/ref=sr_1_1 as an alternative. It would be a one-time cost and might help you decide if you want the subscription.

Just my 2 cents.

greaper007

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2014, 12:15:23 AM »
Fanny Farmer and Joy of Cooking are THE cookbooks that everything else is derived from.    I remember an Alton Brown podcast where he said that you shouldn't buy anything before you buy those two.   I have to agree and I tend to use Joy more.

You can also find them fairly cheaply as they've been in print for so long.

surfhb

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2014, 03:05:31 AM »
Read Kitchen Confidetial by Anthony B.    I realized I don't have the personality to be a professional chef and this book confirmed it.   Great book

chouchouu

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2014, 04:09:21 AM »
I'm not a chef but my brother is and we grew up in the food industry. Our mother supplied produce for high end restaurants and I learned quite a bit from some famous local chefs, Neil Perry, David Thompson, Martin Boetz and Kylie Kwong, back in the days when kids were allowed in the kitchens.

Personally I think you grow most following your passion. So if you don't like French Cuisine it's useless learning mostly European classics. Phaidon has a great selection of books from different regions, I love "I know how to cook" by Ginette Mathiot and The Silver Spoon for Italian. Both classic French and Italian books that teach you the basic recipes which you can personalise to taste. David Thompson's Classic Thai cuisine is considered the gold mark for Thai cuisine. The problem is that he uses all the correct ingredients, which are a pita to source, so you're mostly better off with a less comprehensive book. Ie, whatever Thai cook book you pick up in the bargain bin, since most recipes can be pretty basic and require seasoning based on amounts rather than set quantities. (Ie how much palm sugar you add to balance out like juice depends on how sour the line juice is-which varies by each lime)

Trudie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2014, 05:45:00 AM »
@samisugiru (and everyone) thanks for the additional suggestions -- especially about cooking in a way that you "follow your passion."  I agree.  There are foods I'm curious about, others not so much.  I have no desire to pull a "Julie and Julia" and cook an entire cookbook.

Here are a couple of my favorites in the culinary realm -

Anything by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, especially her first cookbook which was a James Beard Award winner.  She is accessible and her cookbooks are a joy to read.  She stresses good ingredients, an "unfussy" approach, and her books are so full of history that they pull you in.  Her "Splendid Table" show on NPR is fantastic as well.  She demystifies food and has a lot of personality.  The Splendid Table website is also a good resource.

I also just read a book by Kathleen Flinn called "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School."  She writes about the intimidation many feel about cooking (and therefore rely on processed foods).  She's not snobby about it, but rather talks about her experience educating students in the basics (how to roast a chicken; how to make a sauce) - -techniques that are doable and economical.


Worsted Skeins

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2014, 05:52:34 AM »
Lots of advice about cooking, I see; less about baking.

King Arthur has a helpful website and I see they offer classes in Vermont for both home bakers and professionals.  I have also found KA's anniversary cookbook to be one of those solid, basic books to have around for bread baking.  Pastry is really another issue.  I have an over the top one that was given to me, Tartine. 

http://www.amazon.com/Tartine-Elisabeth-M-Prueitt/dp/0811851508

It is not a book that I would recommend buying unless you are really serious about pastry but fun to borrow from the library just to look at the photos.

garth

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 06:27:09 AM »
Pepin's Complete Techniques is another good resource. And look into Ruhlman's stuff (eg Ratio), he teaches technique Moreno than recipes.

frompa

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2014, 06:51:47 AM »
On the baking front, I recommend Mastering the Art and Craft of Baking and Pastry, put out by the Culinary Institute of America.  It's enormous but immensely useful for high end ridiculous items.  More sedate on the bread front are Peter Rheinhart's books.  On meat making, I recommend Molly Stevens' books All About Roasting and All About Braising; both are excellent for basic skills.  For making your own sausages, bacon, etc., I recommend Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's Charcuterie  I also recommend the big cook book put out by Cook's Illustrated. (The one I have is called Cook's Illustrated Cookbook.)  I used to get the magazine, but I couldn't keep up with the steady paper coming into the house, and although I used these mags alot, over time I couldn't remember which one had the recipe for thus and such.  The book makes it way easier, and is a fabulous resource.  ENJOY!

NumberCruncher

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2014, 07:36:20 AM »
Many good recommendations here!

I'm not a chef, but my husband is a cooking geek.

I didn't see this book mentioned yet:

On Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012

nereo

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2014, 07:39:25 AM »
here's my input (FWIW I spent a decade working in restaurant kitchens before going back to school full time)

books are great - I'll list my own at the end - but if you really want to cook like a professional you need to cook.  A lot.  You need to repeat the same dish dozens of times but also cook widely and broadly.  Most people can't accomplish this in a short time frame cooking 10-15 meals per week for 1-4 people.  To become a really proficient cook (forget becoming a "Master" - that can professionals decades) you need to prepare several hundred meals.

A few ways to do this are:
1) enroll in culinary school.  Your life (at least 40 hours/week) will revolve around cooking, but this is an expensive option. 
2) cook at home, and constantly challenge yourself. Throw dinner parties and frequently make dishes you've never tried before. Read up on your ingredients and recipes. This is a great method, but progress will be very slow.
3) Latch on to someone who does this professionally and offer to help him/her.  Be persistent.  It's basically making yourself an apprentice and in the industry this is known as a "friend of the kitchen." In exchange for doing lots of grunt work like clearing and stacking dishes you'll be tasked with food prep, and as your skills improve you'll steadily be given more complex tasks.  It's likely you'll have to start by volunteering your time, but within a few weeks you'll either be asked to move on (read: "your usefulness is not worth the trouble") or you'll be given a near-minimum-wage.  Still, you're learning what most people pay thousands for in culinary school.

I highly recommend #3 and #2.  I personally started out when I volunteered to help a chef-friend put on a cookout for 200 people at a charity event.  I spent the first 3 hours de-beaking squid and preparing tilapia for the grill, then the next three hours chopping cabbage, potatoes and onions for sides.  After the event he agreed to take me on whenever he was short-handed, and within 6 months I was working part time at his restaurant as a prep cook and standing in at grill during off nights.  I may not be a true pro but within a year my skills were lightyears ahead of where they were before.

In terms of books/references, I like:
On Food and Cooking (Harold McGee) & Cooks Illustrated  - both great for knowing the science behind your cooking
Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child) - simply great explanations
The Professional Chef - a tome to be sure, but covers most everything the CIA will teach you anyhow.

TV - Good Eats (Alton Brown) & America's Test Kitchen & The French Chef

OSUBearCub

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2014, 08:40:20 AM »
+1 on Larousse Gastronomique - I work from the first edition (1961) and the technique is solid
+1 on Lynne Rosetto Kasper's work - The Splendid Table's, How to Eat Supper is a great read and her radio show The Splendid Table is free to listen to online - her style is basic technique paired with on-the-fly creativity/ingredients

And I'm sure someone's already given a shout-out to my gal Julia Child.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two (1970) are phenomenal resources for technique lessons and recipes.  They are also really pleasurable reads.

Lastly, as a collector of vintage church and community fundraiser cookbooks, don't be too quick to rid yourself of these gems.  Classic, regional recipes are dying away as we all move toward convenience foods and quick suppers.  These are the last surviving record where you can find multiple variations of a single recipe.  I've got a great one from Georgia that has seven variations on pimento cheese.  I hate pimento cheese with every fiber of my Yankee body, but it's neat to see that seven different ladies had seven unique twists on the recipe.  (And I imagine all seven worked the church social politics to ensure their version made the cut!)  :-)

Trudie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2014, 08:55:33 AM »
@OSU Bearcub

Cookbooks are an interesting history  subject too.  Increasingly organizations are archiving historical cookbooks.  I live in Iowa, and Iowa State University has multiple historical cookbooks in their electronic archives.  Many of them are tied to the works of famous alums George Washington Carver and Carrie Chapman Catt (woman's suffragette).  I stumbled upon several cookbooks that were published to raise funds for the women's suffrage movement, and what's particularly fascinating is that recipes were submitted for the volumes by some famous people -- Jack London (risotto Milanese), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (custard).  I mean, who was making Risotto Milanese in the early 20th century?? (Thanks Jack London!).  Of course, some of the old cookbooks are pretty light on technique.  You can't tell how long to bake something, which is where new technique books are helpful.


Trudie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2014, 02:03:36 PM »
I actually took a class at a local culinary school (it's part of a community college p, but fairly reputable). Taking classes could be expensive, so keep that in mind. There may be local places that will do a one session cooking class - I don't recommend those other than for socializing.
 There are several cooking shows on TV, especially public television -
I like Julia Child  - she is good at explaining and describing how something should look/feel/smell
Rick Bayless - mexican food
Martha Bakes - she is also good at describing the steps and appearance at various steps
Cook's Illustrated America's Test Kitchen - they get into the science behind cooking
Caprial cooks
You can probably watch some of these online, or possibly get them on tape or DVD from a library.
Mark bit an from the NYT does short videos
On commercial TV -Alton Brown's Good Eats - LOVE Alton, he also gets into the science, and is very entertaining
Also, Tyler Florence.
Both Alton & Tyler had shoes on the Food Network - there may be DVD's at a library.

 I like the binder format of the Better Homes & Garden cookbook - it's a good general go to cookbook.this is more convenient when you need it to stay open and lay flat as you cook.

@G-Dog
I noticed you from the CR thread -- we both live in Iowa.  Did you go through the DMACC program?  I've heard it's pretty decent. 

I love the PBS cooking shows, but most of them are on the "Learns" network, which we can't get on our satellite dish.  I'm going to explore getting them on DVD.  The Jacques Pepin website is also very good and has lots of visual lessons that are helpful.

I've decided I'm a pretty competent home chef, but have lots to learn.  I do think technique is important and understanding food science can only help.  Also, a person needs to be comfortable with lots of "fails."  The birds and critters seem to be fond of my bread fails, so at least they're of some use.  You have to know when to cut your losses, and I think good bread is particularly challenging.  That's my current obsession.

deragun

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2014, 03:12:40 PM »
I am not a professional, but for the last few years I consider cooking to be by far my primary hobby.  I am also a very technical/science minded person, so your mileage may vary:

+1 - On Food and Cooking
+1 - The Professional Chef (I got my 8th edition copy for $10 at a used book store)

Someone mentioned "Charcuterie" by Polycn/Rhulman.  I branched into charcuterie myself about 2 years ago, and that was my starting point.  However, after picking up a few others, my recommendation on the topic would be "In The Charcuterie" by Toponia Miller and Taylor Boetticher.  For the best science oriented (plus many good recipes...just no fancy pictures) option I would recommend "Home Production of Quality Meats And Sausages" by  Stanley Marianski & Adam Marianski.

For Japanese cooking, there is nothing that even compares to Washoku and Kansha (both by Elizabeth Andoh).  This is my current obsession...probably because I just got back from Japan where I took a 3 day intensive cooking class run by Mrs. Andoh.  My first actual class experience (otherwise completely self taught to date), and it's REALLY upped my game in Japanese cooking.


The only other thing I'll add, is that I've found a lot of success focusing on a specific dish and searching good blogs and youtube videos to see how other people have written about it and presented it.  After a few years of doing this, I've found that I can quickly identify something that will work for me when searching out something new, and there's a good dozen or so blogs that I can really rely on (No Recipes, Smitten Kitchen, Frugal Gourmet, Cured Meats, etc).  It's all about finding sources that you can easily relate to and absorb information from.


GOOD LUCK!

OSUBearCub

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2014, 05:00:32 PM »
@OSU Bearcub

Cookbooks are an interesting history  subject too.  Increasingly organizations are archiving historical cookbooks.  I live in Iowa, and Iowa State University has multiple historical cookbooks in their electronic archives.  Many of them are tied to the works of famous alums George Washington Carver and Carrie Chapman Catt (woman's suffragette).  I stumbled upon several cookbooks that were published to raise funds for the women's suffrage movement, and what's particularly fascinating is that recipes were submitted for the volumes by some famous people -- Jack London (risotto Milanese), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (custard).  I mean, who was making Risotto Milanese in the early 20th century?? (Thanks Jack London!).  Of course, some of the old cookbooks are pretty light on technique.  You can't tell how long to bake something, which is where new technique books are helpful.

I'm taking this a little further off topic but I really appreciate your comment!  The Ohio State University is also working on a cookbook collection but specifically tied to their women's studies archives.  The cookbook was one of the few literary resources for middle class women and there's a fascinating subtext in many of the "home economics" and "housewifery" volumes in the 18th-20th centuries.  While mustachianism isn't going to leave me much to pass on monetarily, I someday hope my cookbook collection will inspire future generations of food nerds like me! :-)

Trudie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2014, 06:11:50 PM »
@OSU Bear Cub

I think there's some irony also in using a domestic vehicle (the cookbook) to promote more options for women.  But it's important to understand the context -- I think the aim of many "home economics" programs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was to give women -- who previously would have had no other options than to marry off for their survival -- a skill that they could hire out and be paid real wages for.  One of the goals was self-sufficiency. 

Feel free to post any links you're aware of on historical cookbook collections.  It's on topic (sort of!)  I also find ethnic cookbooks fascinating.  At the turn of the century it seems many ethnic groups used them as a way to fund social services as well as a way to maintain their foodways and traditions.

CNM

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2014, 06:18:38 PM »
I'm a pretty advanced home chef, and I really like Tamar Alder's The Everlasting Meal.  It's less of a recipe book and more of a general how-to cook meals by feel based on whatever you have around.  It gives some preparation advice for all sorts of things that make components for various meals.  It doesn't really explain HOW to use a whip or any of that, so if you're at that stage in your cooking, maybe a more straightforward book would help with technique. 

My mom had a Cook's Illustrated subscription and I catch America's Test Kitchen on TV a lot.  It's nice to have that level of detail and precision when you want it.  But, for me, I cook more by feel based on whatever things I feel like eating/what looks good/what's on sale at the store or market.

Trudie

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2014, 06:24:49 PM »
@CNM  Yes - the Adler book is great!  You're right, it's not heavy on technique, but I think it's inspired.  The idea of imparting confidence to cook with what you have on hand is Mustachian and creative.  I almost describe the book as a meditation on cooking.

swick

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2014, 07:23:22 PM »
@OSU Bear Cub
Feel free to post any links you're aware of on historical cookbook collections.  It's on topic (sort of!)  I also find ethnic cookbooks fascinating.  At the turn of the century it seems many ethnic groups used them as a way to fund social services as well as a way to maintain their foodways and traditions.

If you are interested and can find a copy "We'll Eat Again" - a collection of recipes from the war years by Marguerite Patten, is a really interesting slice of history. She worked for the Ministry of Food in Britain during WW II and was responsible for developing recipes and teaching people how to stretch their rations and keep them interesting.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2014, 04:26:50 AM »
ATK is kind of meh, to be honest. Most of their recipes require significant modification and their Asian cuisine is atrocious.

For baking, I have heard very good things about Tartine No. 3 for whole grains but I just got it out of the library myself. Whole Grains for a New Generation is excellent.

Modernist Cuisine at Home looks amazing but I've never wanted to plunk down the cash.

For dinner recipes and whatnot, I tend to freestyle most things, just checking online recipes to get a basic sense of scale/ratio of ingredients, especially during growing season when it's all about what I just picked, not what some recipe tells me I need. I think this has made me a much more creative cook, but it also invalidates a LOT of cookbooks.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2014, 07:22:35 AM »
@CNM  Yes - the Adler book is great!  You're right, it's not heavy on technique, but I think it's inspired.  The idea of imparting confidence to cook with what you have on hand is Mustachian and creative.  I almost describe the book as a meditation on cooking.

I learned more from that book than any other, and it's really how I cook nowadays. I'm very staple intensive, using seasonal produce as the flavoring/nutrient component. One day I need to buy my own copy of it.

A long the lines of the WWII book listed above, read MFK Fisher, specifically "How to Cook a Wolf". I only know of it via Tamar Adler, but it sounds very similar.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2014, 08:41:09 AM »
A long the lines of the WWII book listed above, read MFK Fisher, specifically "How to Cook a Wolf". I only know of it via Tamar Adler, but it sounds very similar.

How to Cook a Wolf is awesome!  In the darkest days of World War II, she was determined to help the typical housewife thrive on very meager rations and difficult home conditions.  Her prose is pragmatic, uplifting, and even a little glamorous.  Another title, The Art of Eating, is a treasury including that book with four additional tittles: Serve it Forth, Consider the Oyster, The Gastronomical Me, and An Alphabet for Gourmets.   This collection is usually only $5-6 dollars more than ...Wolf but totally worth it.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Eating-Anniversary-Edition/dp/0764542613/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y

Gimesalot

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Re: Any chef types out there? Need booklist for "DIY culinary school"
« Reply #34 on: August 21, 2014, 10:06:04 AM »
My husband, chef at two restaurants in New Orleans and is formally trained, said that you should focus on French technique.  All of the major schools in the US teach French exclusively.  The reasoning is that the French developed a system, where you can eat any cuisine and replicated it using their techniques.

Focus less on buying cook books and focus more on basic technique books.  Focus more on learning cooking techniques and practice.

For example, learn the different ways to cook meat, what textures they produce, and which type of cooking technique is best for which types of meat.  Knowing this information will save you tons of time and money.

By the way, we have a lot of cook books, but most of them get used very rarely because my husband can just know how to make things based on how they look and taste.