[Sca-cooks] Good Basic Cooking References

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Tue Mar 18 07:05:00 PDT 2008

Let's see Master A. suggested "TJoC, a couple of books by James Beard... 
Food For Fifty and the textbooks of Wayne Gisslen to be enormously 
Mistress Brighid added Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking" or 
"Cookwise" by Shirley Corriher."

I have been asked this question again and again over the years, both as 
a librarian and as a
SCA member. I think it depends a great deal on the person. There's no 
point recommending
a text that they will never use. And use the book, they must because 
they need to know this
book's ins and outs or when they haul it into a feast kitchen and refer 
to it, they won't know
where to look, how to look, which recipe to use as a standard when that 
question comes up
about how much to add or how long to bake, etc. This needs to be a 
"kitchen bible."
Also for those just starting out in SCA cooking, there's a wide range of 
experience. Some have grown
up in households where the meals were take-out or prepared in the 
Some have basic skills; some have never cooked at all. Some can read a 
recipe; other can't do that. Others have
grown up watching the Food Network and are ready to plunge into the unknown.
So Joy of Cooking, Doubleday, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Fannie Farmer or 
Boston School,
or any of those massive CIA publications might do. Or might not.

Then add something illustrated like James Peterson's Cooking or 
Essentials of Cooking
or Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques
or perhaps those volumes that made up The Good Cook series from Time-Life.
(And McGee and Corriher are great as is an older volume of Food for 50.)

They can go to Jessica's Biscuit and scan the professional section and 
come up with titles.
Then take those titles and go browse a bookstore or a good public 
library and check the volumes out.

Lastly if they want to specialize in certain foods, then they need to 
buy the books associated with those
items. There are specialist books in baking, sauces, candies, desserts, 
etc.Those can help immensely.
They don't have to be purchased but reading through such works can help 
in developing a background
and adding to a person's general knowledge.

Hope this helps,


Lilinah wrote:
> So i'd like to have some good basic cooking reference books 
> to recommend. snipped
> I use my 1970s edition of "The Joy of Cooking". What do other people use?

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