A while back, in The not so humble cookbook, I wrote about cookbooks that literally changed the course of food preparation, interpretation and consumption. Noteworthy as these were and still are, they are not the only items available to all those that adore cooking and eating. There are wonderful movies such as: Chef, Burnt, The Ramen Girl, No Reservations, Chocolat, Julie and Julia, to name a few. And there are exquisite coffee-table book worthy reads on the subject.
What makes these volumes stand out, for me, is the extra layer that they offer alongside lists of ingredients and sumptuous photography. Books in short that are evident labors of love.
For example, my answer to, "What would you grab if your house was on fire?" would be, my copy of Story on a Plate The Delicate Art of Plating Dishes by Rebecca Flint Marx. Within these pages you will be met with what can only be described as artistic still life portraits. A feast of form, texture and color combinations. Soothing, cathartic and sensuous to have the kitchen all to myself with delicate music in the background, an excellent glass nearby and 30 cm of empty space in front of me within which to create my masterpiece. Plating has become an obsession and has taught me that humble fare (a sandwich, pancakes, soup) has the same potential to be divine as pheasant or gnocchi.
Then there is, One Pot, Pan, Planet by Anne Jones who is a proponent of the less is more formula in the kitchen; less processed foods more fresh and raw produce, less quantity more quality, less waste more mindfulness and so on. And as the title suggests, with one pot and one pan you can eat well and live beautifully and healthfully in symbiosis with nature.
And last but not least is The Science of Spice: Understand Flavour Connections and Revolutionize your Cooking by Stuart Farrimond. Superlative illustrations and detailed insights elevate your aesthetic and will wow your palette with sensational pairings ranging from the conventional to the outright surprising. A feast of flavours! I guarantee you will never look at your spice rack in the same way again. Respect!