Cookbook: Madhur Jaffrey's Spice Kitchen

Madhur Jaffrey’s Spice Kitchen

This little book is a powerhouse of Indian cooking. It’s small, it doesn’t lie flat, it has no pictures (except a few line drawings), and it’s far from comprehensive, but this one book revolutionized Indian food for us. Not right away, though.

It was a gift from a friend many years ago, after I had already given J a copy of Yamuna Devi’s Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, and we felt (rather smugly) that we had everything we needed for cooking Indian food. But if you’ve ever used the Devi book, you may have noticed that her ingredient lists are enormous, her instructions are tiresomely exact, and she puts a somewhat intimidating weight on the history and context of the food. We had the book, but I mostly used it to make flatbread and hot yogurt drinks to go with our Patak’s Curry Paste concoctions. Spice Kitchen sat on our shelf, unappreciated.

Then one day we opened it. Continue reading

Cookbook: Baking Illustrated

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J and I have been religious subscribers to Cook’s Illustrated for years. We keep every issue, and occasionally drag the whole pile out and paw through it looking for that really great shrimp recipe we remember seeing – was it last month? Hmm, no, actually, it was two years ago…so we get to see all the old issues again and maybe find something new to try. And don’t get me wrong, Cook’s isn’t always perfect – they know nothing about Mexican food, and frequently their product reviews have not a single thing that’s available on the west coast. But many of their recipes have become gospel in our household, and sometimes you just want to be able to find it quickly.

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