Best of 2009: Books

December 31, 2009

This has been the year of some fantastic cookbooks for me. I’ve bought them by the dozen at bookstore sales, received them as gifts and best of all, with the start of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, I discovered that I could get my hands on books that are hard to find without having to plead with relatives and friends coming down from the 1st World! ‘Twas the moment of epiphany.
Some books have been exceptional reads and have inspired me either to bake something from it that very moment or live in Paris! Below is a round-up of my favourite books I’ve read this year and what makes them so special:

Best of 2009: Books
Baking From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan – This book is without a doubt, the most special book in my collection. Not just because it’s such a brilliant book and that I don’t need to refer to any other baking book, but also because attaining this book has been so hard. Let me tell you the story, I’d asked my cousin to order it for me and send it with her friend who was coming to India last year. That didn’t happen. So when I went there earlier this year, I got it back with me – and this my friends, was a huge ordeal! My luggage was overweight by almost 40 pounds and playing the I’m-a-young-girl-travelling-alone card didn’t really work. I sat with open suitcases at the airport and got rid of the heavy stuff – bags of nuts, chocolate, tart pans, cooling rack, etc. The book had to come out as well –after all, it weighed almost 5 pounds! But since there was no way I was leaving that behind, I carried juggled with a giant laptop bag, a trolley bag and a box of donuts through three airports. My arms were so sore by the end of it!
Recipes:
Chocolate Chip Shortbread (Dorie loved how these looked!)
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito – This book will make you want to get up and start baking, at least that’s what it did to me – the gorgeous photos along with unconventional ideas is totally worth the book. I always like a book that has personal tones to it, so I enjoyed reading how they setup their bakery. I’ve made their black forest cookies as well as brownies, both of which were phenomenal. I’m surely going to be making a lot more treats from this book in 2010!
Recipes:
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Ina Garten – On the same trip to the States, I enjoyed tuning into Food Network. What I enjoyed the most on Food Network was Ina Garten’s show, so I decided that I must get this book of hers that has received such rave reviews.
Recipes:
Bittersweet, Alice Medrich – Although I’ve just begun reading this book, I have to recommend it because I love how it’s packed with so much information about chocolate. It answers questions like why single origin doesn’t always mean quality chocolate, why you should you cut white and milk chocolate very finely before melting, amongst other things. I like Alice Medrich’s take on bringing out the true flavour of the chocolate by reducing the fat, sugar and eggs so the chocolate can shine (and it didn’t even seem like she’s trying to put me on a diet). This book has such delicious sounding recipes that I ended up leaving post-its on every other page to come back to, truffles being the ones that are on top of the priority list! My only grouse – I wish this book had more photos.
A Homemade Life, Molly Weizenberg – I read this book for so many days on my way to work because just when I thought I’d read too much, I’d stop because I didn’t want this book to end! I love how Molly combines her life experiences with some very delicious recipes. And the illustrations in the book are just so adorable!
 The Art of Simple Food, Alice Waters – This book has taught me that the simplest of things can taste spectacular. This book is full of ideas that will cater to varied taste buds.
Recipes:
 The Sweet Life In Paris, David Lebovitz – Who doesn’t want to live in Paris? The hilarious book talks about the quirky side of Parisian culture and David Lebovitz’s life in La Ville-Lumière and the home of croissants.
The book has got a recipe at the end of each chapter as well! I love that David put a list of resources and places to visit at the end of the book, this was especially helpful when I made a map of places for orangefoodie to visit in Paris for Christmas.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Raj December 31, 2009 at 2:52 AM

im going out to buy a book from this list TODAY!!! you ALWAYS make me want to and this list just made MY book list so much longer!
miss you!
hugs!
raj.

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2 Carolyn December 31, 2009 at 3:50 AM

I just finished A Homemade Life yesterday! I loved it so much, it only lasted me two days and I wish I had dragged it out a bit! Excited to try some of Molly's recipes… and a few of the other books you mention, too.

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3 farida December 31, 2009 at 3:56 AM

Great books. I especially love Dorie's book.Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

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4 Anushruti December 31, 2009 at 10:11 PM

Happy new year Shaheen. May the new year bring in the very best to you!

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5 Kate at Serendipity January 1, 2010 at 2:38 PM

I love your story about dragging the book through the airports. LOL, I thought I was the only one who did that! Thanks for this list–it's wonderful to have a report from someone who's read the books! Happy New Year!

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6 nandini January 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

I always wait for good reviews before i buy any book.Finding reviews for good cookbooks is rare!. Thanx for the list.would like to own some books atleast. A Homemade life and Sweet life in paris sure sounds interesting!!… Happy Newyear Shaheen.

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7 Susan @ SGCC January 1, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Excellent choices! Happy New Year, Shaheen! I hope 2010 brings you good health, happiness and prosperity!

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8 Karine January 1, 2010 at 9:22 PM

I just bought Dorie's book. I am looking forward to explore it! And I should definitively buy a book from Alice Waters :)

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9 La Table De Nana January 2, 2010 at 4:59 AM

I too have A Homemade Life..I loved every minute..Baking From My Home To Yours..was an instant favorite when I got it! Perfection! I see more I would like on your photo..Thank you for reaffirming my wishes:)

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10 Ingrid January 8, 2010 at 1:19 AM

I have two of those and want Ina's. I've made both of her recipes that you posted here thanks to you.
~ingrid

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11 chris January 8, 2010 at 1:31 AM

great info on the diet industry's dirty little secrets!

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12 comfycook January 25, 2010 at 8:35 AM

I appreciate your thoughts on these books. I have been looking into buying Baked and Bittersweet but I did not have any really info on them. Now, I feel, I have a place to start. Thanks.

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13 Yum Yucky January 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

I watched the Barefoot Contessa show for the first time yesterday. I like that woman! The show was all about cheeses.

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