embroidered cover of Maggie's Harvest

From the Things I Love files today: Beautifully covered cookbooks.

Sure, the other cookbooks get pulled out plenty for their content. Mrs Beeton’s, the C.W.A. Cookbook, The Cook’s Companion, Complete Vegetarian, How To Eat, 101 Muffins, Trattoria Pasta, the Women’s Weeklies – all these get plenty of bench time and are suitably be-dripped and bedraggled.

But every time I get out Thompson’s* thai food or Maggie’s Harvest, I have to stop to admire and stroke the cover, spend just a moment with it, before opening. Embroidered trees and birds! Hot pink silk! They’re the whole package.

If we’re right into confession time, every now and then I get them out just to admire and stroke the covers.

pink silk cover of Thompson's Thai

(* Ever notice that we tend to call these cookbooks “Stephanie”, “Charmaine”, “Maggie”, and “Nigella”; but people typically don’t refer to “David”?)

Tell me about your cookbooks and recipe repositories, or your favourite strokable book covers. Or both.

Categories: Miscellaneous


12 replies

  1. Like any good Kiwi, obviously my mainstay for all baking is the classic Edmond’s Cookbook (which has a lot more recipes than just baking! It just … naturally falls open to the page with Pikelets on it).

    But my absolute pride and joy is Ladies, A Plate by Alexa Johnston (and its sequel!), for the amazing photos and wonderful classic recipes and aaaaaaaaawesome social history. Any cookbook that captions its images with things like “This gingerbread is based on Mrs Myra Smith’s recipe. She also crocheted the cloth it is served on” has to be superb, right?

    [cover art added by Lauredhel]

  2. No, but people do say Jamie… maybe it’s just because there are a lot of Davids?

  3. My favourite cookbook is my phone. Calling up my mother or father for ideas – they’re both fantastic repositories of knowledge in the kitchen.
    My other favourite is the blue binder I keep all the scraps of paper, printed internet recipes or scribbled notes from ideas I’ve come across or knowledge that’s been passed on. Just one of those one-dollar plastic-sleeve folders that you use for projects. But it’s the conversations that have led to me poking my nose into a new ingredient, or the sudden burst of – “that might work” that leads to a new favourite, oh. Don’t they make the food taste better? I think that’s why I love my cookbooks so much – by and large they’re all gifts, so they’ve got the taste of whoever gave them to me in them, you know?

  4. I have my parent’s battered paperback editions of Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Food

    and Buwei Yang Chao’s How to Cook and Eat in Chinese.

    I love the anecodotes as much as the recipes – the story of the bird thought to be stuffed with risotto but in fact infested with (now roasted) maggots always runs through my head whenever I cook rice. The orange almond cake in ABOMF is the nicest I have ever tasted and the veal paupiettes are scrum and surprisingly easy. I think I have only made the Red cooked chicken and white cut chicken from Buwei’s book but they are delicious!
    I bought Isobel Carmody’s Little Fur for my niece on the strength of its strokable cover. A book with such a cover is bound to contain lovely things.

  5. Anything by Paul Bocuse.

    Nothing special about the covers, but the food is heavenly.

  6. It’s not a cookbook, but my favourite book cover is David Mitchells ‘Cloud Atlas’.
    It’s also one of my favourite novels – an amazing story. Read it and marvel at the mans imagination…

  7. I never before realised that my life was lacking a strokable cook book, but now I know. Perhaps I’ll have to remedy this situation. I see plenty of tasty options here to entice me.

  8. I don’t really cook much, but when I do, I take my inspiration from Vegan cupcakes take over the world. The cover’s pretty dull, but it has a great title.

  9. I get a lot of my recipes–like I get a lot of everything–off the internets. And then don’t follow them. Which is why my attempts at baking (and laboratory chemistry–pity it was such a large part of my uni career) are so disastrous. So I don’t use cookbooks much.
    But texture-wise, I’m fond of the hardback cover on my copy of Sandman: The Season of Mists. It’s pebbly, and I like keys. 🙂

  10. I’m like Keri – I do the plastic binder thing, because I find things on the internets. I’m on my second, but the original one is blue, too!
    I found a copy of Bell Hooks Communion on sale at a giveaway price when at Academic and General buying textbooks. I can’t normally buy hardbacks so this is a real treat. The dust jacket is lovely but the inner cover is really purty too. I’m also really stoked of course at finding something by Bell Hooks as I’d seen her mentioned by many US bloggers but she’s not stocked in book shops here as far as I can see.

  11. I don’t know why, but everyone I know who has one picked blue, Helen.

  12. I have a copy of the translated Kama Sutra that I got sheerly for the red silk embossed cover and wooden toggle closure. I mean, it WAS good for a laugh when I was at Uni, but these days it just gets displayed on my bookcase! XD

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