As my cooking skills continue to improve so does my confidence in the kitchen. While I have no problem with a roast chicken recipe or putting together a delicious plate of pasta, I’m a little less likely to attempt anything that’s trickier than that. There are certain things that I’ll attempt to cook at home and others that I deem only meant for restaurants (a.k.a letting someone else do the cooking). A good example of these restaurant-only things would be Asian food and Indian food. I love both of these cuisines (I like all cuisines, really) but cooking them in my own home is a bit intimidating. Anyone else with me here?
That all changed, however, after I bought Phaidon’s worldly cookbooks. I started with Mexico: The Cookbook and fell in love with it. The recipes (over 650 of them!) are truly authentic and oh-so-delicious. I started making all kinds of things (the tortilla soup is divine) from that one. Once I was hooked, I decided I needed to invest in all four countries: Thailand, India, and, the latest addition to the lineup, Peru. With all four, I’ve got my own mini-collection. The books are large, almost resembling encyclopedias – but don’t let that intimidate you. Each one offers an endless variety of recipes – from street food to snacks to cocktails – each presented in a straightforward, simple manner. The only tricky part can be getting the ingredients. Since these cookbooks offer truly authentic recipes, the grocery-shopping list can be robust, full of things you’ve probably never heard of before. I’ve managed to find all the ingredients I’ve needed at my grocery store – albeit I had to look in aisles before which I had never even ventured.
I should probably also mention that these are cookbooks you can absolutely judge by their covers. These are coffee-table-worthy cookbooks. (I’d be lying if I said my initial reasoning behind purchasing the Mexico one wasn’t so I could have that gorgeous pink and turquoise cover on my bookshelf.) Each cover is seriously more gorgeous than the next, and the illustrations inside are stunning, too. These books have made excellent gifts for my foodie friends. The Mexico one is always a crowd pleaser (I’ve given at least four as gifts), but it’s also fun to select one for someone who loves to travel – or someone who just wants a beautiful, new book on their coffee table.
You can check out five of my other favorite cookbooks here!