Farewell 2012: my pick of cookbooks

First of all, I wish you a delicious new year with great, sustainable ingredients, fabulous ideas, great inspirations… speaking of which, as I find a lot of mine in various cookbooks, here are some I loved in 2012.

It’s a bit conventional to make this kind of recap, it’s very personal and subjectives but I love it (and dive back into the books, drooling at the recipes and pictures).

I chose those books because they’re beautiful in many ways: the design, the pictures, the writing, the recipes… I almost smell each plate by looking at them.

The order of presentation doesn’t matter. I couldn’t pick a favorite anyway!

So here it goes:

“Bouchon Bakery” T. Keller & S. Rouxel (Workman)

The techniques are well explained and you’ll need it to get to most of those recipes. Especially if you want to obtain the same result. What I love about this book is that it pushes you to go further, to get better. It’s motivating. It’s not easy but the result is worth every effort.

Although, if you’re already a cook and know a bit of pastry, you should get around many recipes. 

I can smell the butter cooking and mixing with the sugar. I can feel the crackling of the biscuits under my teeth…


“Japanese Farm Food” Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Andrews Mc Neel)

I guess that finding a book on Japanese cuisine is not a surprise as I really love it. I think Japanese food is not only tasteful, is delicate and healthy. This book is not only a cookbook. It’s the story of the writer who travel the world before marrying a Japanese and staying there. You discover a country to her eyes and her taste buds.

I only wish I could go there myself!

“Jerusalem – a cookbook” Y. Ottolenghi & S. Tamimi

The pictures are saturated in delicious colors, the recipes are easy and delicious, the text is interesting and personal… But what is really inspiring, is the cultural presentation of a country through food and the hope that those food traditions could make people come together instead of fighting each other. 


“What Katie ate” Katie Quinn Davies (Studio)

I liked this book because of it’s paper and layout. It is a joy to get through each page. But Katie can write and cook as well as taking pictures (so many talents!). Those are everyday recipes, easy to follow with available ingredients and it’s possible to get the same result at home without too much effort or fuss. 

“Rockpool” Neil Perry (New Holland)

I don’t know how I discovered Neil Perry. I have almost all his books and I’m happy with all of them! This one is a bit different then the previous one as it is more refine food, restaurant like. The only problem is I live in Belgium and can’t get the same ingredients used. Anyway, I still am inspired by the recipes and I love the tone used in the text. I’m a big fan of Mr Perry… Maybe some day, I’ll stop by one of his restaurant (on my way to Japan, maybe…!).

He has a new one coming in February or March and I’m already waiting for it!


6 thoughts on “Farewell 2012: my pick of cookbooks

  1. I received Bouchon for Christmas and I’m going to break it out this week. I really want to make the bread, but since that takes about 5 days, I’ll get that going and try some shortbread or cookies while the bread process is going. I need to go get the rocks and chain!

  2. I am trying to get back there…I spent about a week in Wallony during Mardi Gras. What an experience. We spent the week practicing drinking (or so it seemed). In those days we danced La Bamba in the streets…I had never seen anything like it. The town was Malmédy.

  3. Thanks Julie! I spent a year as an exchange student near Bruxelles (Wezembeek-Oppem) when I was in high school. I left my heart there. You are always welcome in Japan. I’ve kept up my French so was able to enjoy reading about all of your cooking classes and philosophy. Loved it. By the way Japanese Farm Food is being translated into French and if all goes well will be ready to publish this fall.

    • juliem says:

      It’s so nice reading from you Nancy! I’ll offer the French version of your book to my sister-in-law as we’re both in love with Japanese cuisine, ceramics, knives, materials for clothes… Well, the lot! You’re welcome in Huy (near Liege) if you’re back in Belgium!

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