Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Five Cookbooks Meme

I have to say, I am beet red with embarassment. Three writers whom I have the utmost respect for, Kirk from mmm-yoso!!!, Pam from Daily Gluttony, and Mealcentric from Mealcentric has tagged me for the Five Cookbooks Meme that has been floating in the blog ether. It is a topic that I've enjoyed reading about.

I'm embarassed because, as I have confessed to Kirk: I own no cookbooks.



I must sound like the ultimate foodie poser or something! I have no explanation as to why I own no cookbooks. Truth be told, as soon as I enter a Barnes and Noble or Borders, I head straight for the cookbook shelves. I squat myself down next to them and start perusing for recipes and ideas, and to gaze longingly at all the pretty pictures. But I have not yet bought one in all of my years. I've instead culled recipes from anywhere I could find it from FoodNetwork.com, sometimes Chowhound, and most of all, my mom.

So I'll toss my hat into the meme with responses that aren't totally and necessarily wrong, but are probably not in the spirit of what the original facilitator had in mind. Here goes:

1) Total number of (cook)books I've owned:

None. But I will count two particular books that my mom owns, since I seem to read it everytime I visit my parents' house.

Savoring Southeast Asia (Williams-Sonoma)
This is a great looking cookbook with insightful stories on the background of each dish and has ingredient lists that are never dumbed down. I hate it when Asian cookbooks say they're authentic and then they go and suggest substituting ketchup for tamarind paste. This one doesn't do that. I have attempted and succeeded in trying a recipe for a lip-smacking Tom Kha Kai from this book, eventhough I tweaked it by adding a special Thai chili sauce I found at a local Vietnamese market.

Japanese Cuisine (Wei-Chuang's Cookbook)
This one I think my parents bought at a Chinese bookstore in the 99 Ranch plaza in Rowland Heights. It's got a laminated cover (the bookstore's doing) and is all about Japanese food, written by a Chinese woman, and published by a Chinese company. But it has the pretty pictures that I love to drool at and the recipes seem authentic enough. Haven't attempted any dishes from it though. Maybe soon.

2) Last cookbook(s) I bought:

Um...ok I bought two cookbooks as gifts for two friends...so I'm definitely wiggling around the true intent of this topic here.

The Star Wars Cookbook - Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes
I bought this as a birthday gift for a friend who was both a Star Wars nut and an aspiring cook. Suffice it to say, she flipped for it! She thought it was hilarious as did everyone else at her party. I don't know whether she has tried any recipes from it, but I guess that really wasn't the point, was it?

Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai
I bought this for another friend who had a crush on Ming Tsai. She liked the book, but later said that his recipes turned out to be too complicated and abstruse. I doubt she's made anything from it, but I think she still enjoys looking at the pictures of Ming's chubby face.

3) Last food book(s) I read:

Again, this is me reading *at* the bookstore. Leafing, actually, is more like it. Haven't learned actual recipes from them.

Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook
I love his stuff in general. He seems to me as a person who is as literate as he is irreverent. A smart guy, and from what I can tell, a worthy chef. I have all of his "A Cook's Tour" episodes archived. But I agree with Pam: Gotta love a cookbook with profanity.

Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook
This is simply the most beautifully photographed cookbook I've ever seen. The recipes are like the words of God transcribed on paper. Hmm, I guess that'd be called a "Bible" wouldn't it? Anyway, there'd be no freakin' way I'd have enough cojones to attempt to cook anything he's got in his book. Nevertheless, this tome is one that I actually might cave in and buy for myself. If anything, it's a great coffee table read.

4) Five (cook)books that mean alot to me:

None really since I've kind of gleaned cooking knowledge bit by bit from a variety of sources. But if I had to pick one place that I have learned the most from, it would be my mom.

She has taught me that it doesn't matter what you cook, as long as you cook it with love and care, and serve your food to people you love and care about. They will appreciate that you've done it for them, no matter what the dish is. If they don't appreciate it, then you've got to seriously reconsider why you love and care for those people.

It is through her that I finally understood how satisfying it is when you cook something for someone and they finish every morsel and then ask for seconds. It is one of the best feelings ever!

5) Which 5 people would you lost like to see fill this out in their blog?

Since I think this one's been around the block and almost every blogger that I know of has written on this meme, I'll tag those who haven't already posted on this topic:

Simon from Low End Theory
Diamond Dog from Eat OC
Professor Salt from You Gonna Eat That?


At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elmo - I guess if we keep bugging you..... Nice post, love the cooking philosophy. BTW I've made some recipes from Blue Ginger - they came out pretty good! Of, course I made adjustments for my taste.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Daily Gluttony said...

then mad props to you for cooking with out books...that's pretty awesome!

i totally agree with the cooking with love thing; makes a big difference in my book.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


One thing I gotta say about Ming Tsai is that trippy white knife of his...so mesmerizing watching him cut and slice with that thing.


Hehe...I'm not as good a cook as I make out...but I manage to eek by. Your green bean recipe is another one I'm going to crib! Muahaha! Thanks BTW!

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Xericx said...

Did you meet Bourdain at his book signing for Les Halles at Book Soup @ South Coast Plaza? Great experience....

Awesome stuff....I have all the cook's tour on TiVo....now to get that DVD recorder.....


At 10:34 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Rats...I missed it. Would've definitely bought the book then, if only to have him sign it!

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

I like Ming too. He is a pretty nice guy. That Roy Yamaguchi guy who owns the Roy's is a dick. He also comes off as kind of a dick on TV. I own the Ming Cookbook too. Too complicated. I would go out and get it at a restaurant before I would get those things.

I have Ming's white ceramic knife. Is weird using them. Light as hell and feel like you are cutting with a cedit card. Very sharp. Good for slicing things like tomatoes. But you need a steel knife for chopping and more general use in my opinion.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Xericx said...

Yeah, I even got a picture taken with Borudain...that was worth the price of the book itself and then some!

At 2:55 PM, Blogger jun said...

Have you tried to make Hoth Chocolate??

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Edwin Goei said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Sounds like you have the book! What's in a Hoth Chocolate?


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