Parker’s Book Selection

Building your cookbook library can be an enjoyable project as well as providing you with excellent sources of reference.  In the next few weeks I’d like to talk about some of the books that I believe are basics; books that provide information about products and techniques rather another new recipe.

I’ll start by mentioning a book that was published nearly 25 years ago.  It was not a best seller but it is still in print.  It’s available at Amazon and it is available at the library in case you are not ready to make the purchase.

Lilies of the Kitchen by Barbara Batcheller is a book devoted to the use of onions, garlic, leeks, scallions and chives all of which are lilies.  In this case we eat the bulbs rather than enjoy the flowers that come from the bulbs of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.

I want to mention that more and more of us cooks are using garlic in all three of its form.  We pull the bulb from the soil before it has fully divided into clove.  We refer to this product as green garlic.    Cleaned and peeled this small bulb can be minced fine for a garlic cream sauce or as an addition to a salad.  The scapes, the long and curled shoot that would become the flower if not removed are the second garlic product.  The third, of course, is the bulb or head of garlic that we all cherish. An anonymous quote in Barbara Batcheller’s book says, “Garlic is the catsup of the intellectual.”

I would also like to recommend Elizabeth Schneider’s book Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables:  A commonsense guide.  This book would be a great addition to any kitchen collection.  It could easily become the most popular title for the Fresh Fork Market crowd.  If you don’t know what to do with that weird product in this week’s bag you’ll find the information you need in this book.  From Arugala to Yuca says it all.

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