With much fan-fare and attendant articles, The Observer's food magazine, Observer Food Monthly, has released their list of the 50 best cookbooks of all time. Chosen by a panel of food writers, chefs, and Observer staff, the list is very British, despite the number of international cuisines represented. It includes many shorter books by authors who may be unfamiliar to American readers, focusing on simple cooking with few photographs or illustrations.
There are some choices that are heavy on the food porn — The Complete Robuchon makes an appearance at #13, and just barely sneaking onto the list at #50 is David Chang's Momofuku — but in the end, the choices seem to have been made for literary value as much as culinary content, with Richard Olney's The French Menu Cookbook taking first place.
Curiously, some of the panel members have books on the list. Fuschia Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery and Simon Hopkinson's Roast Chicken and Other Stories make the top ten, and Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail Eating comes in at #23. That's not to say these books don't deserve to be on this list, but it is worth mentioning because of possible conflicts of interest. But no matter, there are many great books on the list which are ripe for rediscovery, especially with American audiences which may not be familiar with them in the first place.
Excerpts from Selected Books
· #13: The Complete Robuchon
· #41: Cooking in Ten Minutes
· #47: With Bold Knife and Fork
· #12: Good Things in England
· #20: A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes
· #19: The Rice Book
· Nigel Slater's Favorite Recipes from the Top 50 List
· Recipes From Our Top 10 Cookbooks
· Why There's More to Cookbooks Than Recipes
· Observer Food Monthly's 50 Best Cookbooks
· My Favorite Cookbook: Thomasina Miers
· My Favorite Cookbook: Dermot O'Leary
· My Favorite Cookbook: Fergus Henderson
· My Favorite Cookbook: Bill Buford
· My Favorite Cookbook: Kate Nash
· The 50 Best Cookbooks of All Time: Part 1: Numbers 50-11 [Observer]
· The 50 Best Cookbooks: Part Two, The Top Ten [Observer]
· All Cookbook coverage on Eater [-E-]