If you have ever been at a festival and tried something from a raw vendor, and were completely amazed by how delicious it was, then this book is up your alley. At least that is what happened to me. This book is not for the faint of heart. Meatloaf made out of walnuts? (It is actally good)
Juliano talks about sprouting, dehydrating, juicing, and pickling. He has some of the tastiest drinks and tea recipes. His restaurant is outragiously expensive. This book is way cheaper. One of the downsides is that the recipes have extensive ingredient lists, but I often leave things out and they turn out fine. I also don't have a juicer, so that hinders me a bit. If you are adventurous and like to spend time in the kitchen, you may really enjoy this book.
Marcella Cucina, By Marcella Hazan
If I had to suggest just one cook's cookbooks, it would be marcella. Lydia doesn't have anything on Marcella. Her recipes are so simple, but the flavors say something entirely different. If you are thinking Italian cooking with rich tomato sauces and pastas, that is just half the story. Marcella's recipes are full of vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Her descriptions alone are so enticing that I actually sit and read what she writes, instead of skipping to the recipe. I have actually left ingredients out many times, made substitutions, and it always comes out amazing. Some of my favorites are the chicken fricasee infused with the scent of bay leaves, the broccoli potato soup, fava bean puree, carrot gnocchi and it just goes on forever.
Mindless Eating, By Brian Wansink
Everyone should read this book! It is full of studies that Dr. Wansink has conducted about what triggers us to eat, and how we can change our environment to help us stop eating mindlessly.
His studies are hilarious and fascinating, including one where he rigged soup bowls to continuously refill when a diners got near the end of their bowl. And another where he observed that the more colours of M&Ms a person sees affects how many they eat.
If you eat, then you will enjoy reading this book.
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore in the Kitchen, By Harold McGee
What is a loquat? Why do the yolk of my hard boiled eggs turn green? How does popcorn pop? How do I make softened water taste better in coffee?
The nerdy/foodie bible. This is my old food science textbook. It will tell you everything you need to know about food. So when your grandma tells you that you need old and cold eggs to make merengue, you can look it up in this book... and then just keep that information to yourself so you don't get yourself hurt. :)
But seriously, this is the kind of book you can open up to any page and get lost in. (If you are a nerd like me)
Food Lover's Companion, By Sharon Tyler Herbst
A quicker, less text book version of my Harold McGee's book. It is pretty much a dictionary for the foodie. There are some things it is missing, but then agan I tend to look up some pretty weird things. Very good for the quick reference about what tzatziki is and where it comes from. I have used mine plenty.
Banana, By Dan Koeppel
Warning: You will desperately want to travel around the world to gobble up all the different varieties of bananas that exist after reading this book. You will also just want to eat regular bananas, before they go extinct!! That is the premise of this book. Scientists are working to find a way to save the Cavendish banana, the only banana we really know of, here in the U.S., because of it is quickly being wiped out by several microscopic invaders.
Koeppel also talks about the rise of the banana industry and how incredibly brutal it was for South and Central America. (Another warning: you may start buying organic bananas) This is a great book for the history buff. I highly recommend it.
Complete Vegetarian Kitchen, By Lorna Sass
This is an amazing cookbook. It just happens to be a vegan cookbook. The food is simple and delicious. Nothing for you carnivores to get frightened by. Yet,at the same time, there are plenty of adventurous recipes for you veggies out there. If you are looking for a tasty way to eat different kinds of grains and legumes, and lots of vegetables, this is the way to go. I have yet to try her other cookbooks, but I am sure it won't be long until I find another favorite. If you want a preview, I adapted the broccoli and noodles with peanut sauce recipe for my blog.
Also, if you are lucky and have a pressure cooker, all of the recipes here have been adapted for its use.
The Continuum Concept, By Jean Liedloff
Ever wonder what humans were like when we romed around the jungle, hunted our food, carried our kids around like purses, and didn't have to worry abou the 9-5, Monday through Friday boredom? The author of this book spent time in the 70's with a South American tribe in the Amazon, observing the dramatic differences between their outlook on life and the process of raising children from that of modern society. This is an eye opening book that I recommend reading, whether you have kids or not. You will be surprised to understand that some of the biggest conveniences in modern society are very much hindrances.
The Good Stuff Cookbook, By Helen Witty
This book is definietly full of good stuff. More of a condiment, appetizer, and novelty cookbook, this would be a great source of gift-worthy presents. There are tons of jams and chutnies and interesting condiments such as cranberry ketchup, honey jelly, wine jelly, homemade mustard, a slew of pickle recipes, bagel, crumpet, pretzel, cookie, and biscotti recipes. There are potted cheese recipes, exciting flavored pasta recipes, dessert sauce recipes and so on. What I like about these recipes is that they are novel. Instead of just plain old one flavor jam recipe she makes things like Purple Plum Jam with Orange Liquer. And there is a Strawberry preserves that is out of this world. The recipe for that is here.
Thje Jungle Effect, By Dr. Daphne Miller
This is a wonderful book about the "coldspots" around the world where people still practice their indigenous lifestyles and enjoy the lowest rates in the world for nutritonal diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. In the back of the book are the recipes from each area, including Copper Canyon, Mexico, and Okinawa, Japan. The recipe section of the book in online, but I recommend reading the whole book, as you will not be able to put it down.