Weekly Geeks 2009-14: What’s cookin’?

What shall we cook today? It seems that for most of us, a bit of our book obsession would carry over to the cookbook genre, so this week for Weekly Geeks, let’s talk cookbooks! Here are some ideas to get you started:
–Describe your cookbook collection. How many cookbooks do you own? A lot? Just a few? None at all?
–Do you even buy cookbooks? Or do you gather family cookbook compilations and/or recipe files instead?
–Do you like to collect certain types of cookbooks? Say, from certain chefs? From places you visit? From a particular food group or style?
–When buying cookbooks, what do you look for? Does it need to have pictures? Spiral binding? A specific type of font?
–What is your favorite cookbook? Tell us the story behind it.
–Tell us about your most well-used cookbook. Is it different from your favorite cookbook? Or are they one and the same?
–Take a picture of your collection. How and where do you organize it?
–Share a recipe from one of your favorite cookbooks. Include a picture if you can.

OK, cooking. I didn’t think I’d ever blog about cookbooks, but, I suppose I will after all…

My cookbook collection
I probably have around 30 cookbooks, none of which I really use. I have a few basic cookbooks that I sometimes refer to, but other than that I hardly ever try out new dishes from cookbooks.

Where do I get cookbooks from?
I usually buy them. I have a little binder with a few recipes that I collected over the years, but I hardly use those either.

Do I collect certain types?
No, not at all, I buy whatever catches my eye. Usually mediterranean or other ethnic cuisine.

When I buy cookbooks…
…I look for books with enticing covers and good photos. A cookbook without photos must be something different for me to buy it. A few examples would be Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop, which I bought in Colonial Williamsburg, A book of famous old New Orleans Recipes, that I got in the French Quarter or The Amish homestead cookbook, that I picked up God knows where. But those are more travel souvenirs than anything else.

My favourite cookbook?
I don’t think I have a favourite cookbook. Ah, not true. I sort of like the Culinaria series. They are not so much cookbooks than books about the various types of cuisine, facts, interesting tidbits to know, specialties etc. I’ve got the European and the USA one. Another book I like is Cooking A to Z, which is a wonderful reference book. I bought it years ago at Books for Cooks. That shop is a dream come true for cook book lovers.

My most well-used cookbook
is probably Basic Cooking.

A picture of my collection…
can’t be taken. They are all over the place. Some in the kitchen, some on various bookshelves. I don’t organize them in any way. Only the most helpful ones are in the kitchen on the window sill.

A recipe

I chose a recipe from Sophia Loren’s recipes and memories. I love Pasta and especially Carbonara dishes, but often they are not done properly.

Bucatini alla Carbonara


1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs unsalted butter
4 oz. pancetta or bacon, diced
Minced Italian parsley
5 or 6 egg yolks
2 tbs light cream
3 tbs freshly grated Pecorino or Parmigiano, and more to serve
1 1/4 lbs bucatini

Heat oil and butter in pan. add pancetta and parsley. Sauté over medium heat to brown pancetta well. In a bowl beat together egg yolks, cream and cheese.

Meanwhile boil the bucatini until al dente. Drain well and turn it out into a serving dish. Working quickly, pour first the pancetta mixture, then the beaten egg mixture over the pasta. Toss quickly to coat the strands with the sauce; the eggs will cook in the heat of the pasta, Serve immediately while still hot. Pass additional cheese at the table. Enjoy!

6 Comments Write a comment

  1. Great recipe. And I appreciate great photos in my cookbooks also, but as you stated, have a few without including the one you mention from Colonial Williamsburg. Actually have a few from there as I went to college in the town. Will have to check out that Culinaria series. Happy reading!


  2. Is the Cooking A to Z a whole set of books, like an encyclopedia with recipes? I remember we used to have that in my mom’s house! I love carbonara, too. That was the thing I ate almost everyday when I was pregnant with my first child. My sister did the cooking. When she moved and I moved, I didn’t realize until now that I haven’t made carbonara in years. It’s like in my mind that recipe was only done by her in the family. I always make Alfredo, though. I’ll try your recipe, will bookmark it, thanks!


  3. Claire, no, the cooking a-z is only one book. It is like a cooking encyclopedia where ingredients, cooking techniques etc. are explained (with recipes). It is very, very informative.
    Carbonara when pregnant? That would have been probaly too risky for me. After all, the eggs are not 100% cooked. But then, when you have a craving, you have to give in, haven’t you, :-)?
    Fettucine Alfredo, oh, yum, haven’t had that in ages. I love cheese, though.


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