A stack of books on Marketman’s bedside table…


I have been meaning to write about the stack of books on my bedside table for a while now. I took this photo a few weeks ago but most of the books remain in the same place… plus there are new books on the floor lined up waiting for some attention. I don’t read a cookbook and put it away… I tend to browse and keep it bedside until books2I have had my fill. I sometimes re-visit old favorites and I sometimes have books in queue that I should read but have been too lazy to do so. But before I get to my “stack,” I have recently received and read this paperback cookbook “Namit Gid” which is a collection of favorite Ilonggo dishes published by the HS Class of 1980 of the St. Scholastica’s Academy – Bacolod; recently sent to me by a reader, Maddie. It is an interesting collection of recipes from old classmates and other people closely related to the class, including their cooking teacher, and was published with the intention of raising funds to benefit the school. It is like a recipe index card “exchange” and many of the recipes look like they are family favorites…I will be trying some of the recipes in the months ahead. Many thanks to Maddie. It is similar to a recipe book recently published by an Assumption Class also with favorite recipes of class members and a more involved book on the Hidalgo family recipes…

On to the stack – from the bottom up:

The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea. This is a terrific cookbook with over 250 recipes which are well-written and include some background information on a dish, a region or ingredient. I have tried 3-4 recipes from it with very good results. Photos, layout and print are nice and simple though many dishes do not include a photo (which I prefer). This will be a frequently used cookbook in our home.

The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. I have several books by Ms. Berenbaum and I like them a lot. I am looking forward to the holidays and hope to make some new pies. I haven’t spent too much time on this book yet but it does seem quite comprehensive with very detailed recipes and instructions. Pictures are grouped together in the middle of the book and I dislike this cost saving measure with a passion, it’s so 1970’s. Nevertheless, this looks like a very useful addition to my cookbook library.

The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser. Published in the early 1990’s, I have had this book for at least ten years and I remember enjoying it immensely though not sure if I read it cover to cover. I have it back on my bedside table. The book “explores every aspect of our eating rituals” and it is amusing, enlightening, surprising, intelligent, humorous and educational. Every foodie should have a copy. I am just re-reading certain portions…

The Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi. Recently translated by Kyle M. Phillips III. Both this and the previous book were gifts from my sister, who plies me with terrific food reads. One of Italy’s most celebrated chefs in the mid to late 1800’s, Artusi wrote a wonderful cookbook made up of recipes he loved to eat but he couldn’t find a publisher so he published it himself. The book La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte Mangia Bene (“The Science of Cookery and the Art of Eating Well”) remained untranslated for many decades…this book is a wonderful translation. The book is a serious compilation of recipes and makes terrific reading. No photos. And frankly, I have never cooked anything from it though I really should. No fan of Italian food should be without this book in their library.

The Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition by the University of Chicago Press. This is a reference book for writers, editors and publishers and includes everything that a writer or someone who uses words should know. I ordered it in an effort to try and improve the quality of my writing/posts but it has stayed on my bedside table for at least 3 months…unopened. I just look at it as “homework” and find excuses to open any other book in the stack instead. I have to hunker down one week and read it. My writing style may read like I talk, but the mechanics of my English language skills reflect the poor quality of my basic English curriculum from elementary and secondary school and a predisposition to reject anything language related (I have studied English, Filipino, Spanish, French, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian, but only speak English relatively fluently).

The Associated Press Stylebook. This was ordered at the same time as the previous book and it is another reference guide for journalists, students, editors and writers. Sort of like a dictionary for writers, it helps with rules on grammar, spelling, abbreviation, etc. It’s something all local newspaper correspondents SHOULD read but probably haven’t. I have opened it several times simply because it DOES have interesting one word entries such as “Dr Pepper – A trademark (no period after Dr) for a brand of soft drink.”

Artisanal Cooking by Terrance Brennan and Andrew Friedman. Mr. Brennan is the figure behind two superb New York restaurants, Picholine and Artisanal. On my last trip to New York I really wanted to try Artisanal but couldn’t get a table on short notice; so we just ogled the cheese chillers and their contents instead. This book reads well. I haven’t perused it long enough to cook a recipe from it yet but the simple recipes and the nice photographs make me feel it was worth the money to purchase it instead of a main course at one of the two restaurants. Many of the ingredients are unavailable locally. But when I get my ice cream maker out the next time, I am trying the book’s recipe for Plum Ice Cream.

The New American Steakhouse Cookbook by David Walzog and Andrew Friedman. Mr. Walzog is the proprietor of three steakhouses in New York and Mr. Friedman has collaborated with several chef’s to help write their cookbooks (see previous Artisanal book). I was attracted to the book for its simple and straightforward recipes which seemed like they would be great for a home cook. I like photographs and this book doesn’t have many… Actually, with a quick flip through it now, I think my money would have been much better spent elsewhere…

Eggs by Michel Roux. A three star Michelin Chef writes a book on just one incredible ingredient…eggs! I am often wary of one ingredient books but the more I write for Market Manila, the hungrier I get for reference materials. I like this book a lot…organized by method of cooking from boiled/poached to fried, scrambled, baked, omelettes, crepes, creams and custards, it is a comprehensive and educational read. If you asked me if it was possible to write a 300 page book on eggs, I would have probably said no…

Choice Cuts by Mark Kurlansky. A birthday gift that I haven’t read yet. It is a “selection of food writing from around the world and throughout history.” This book I should be working my way through as selections can range from a paragraph on stuffed dormouse to several pages for a short story on carp. I need to move this to the top of the pile…

Pig Perfect by Peter Kaminsky. A book on pork and swine. History and recipes. I haven’t opened it despite receiving it as present last Christmas. Plus I just recently acquired another book on pork as well by Bruce Aidells that has jumped my reading queue. Maybe I will read them together. I look forward to this one.

Confessions of a French Baker by Peter Mayle. An easy read by Mr. Mayle whose books are a great travelogue and foodie favorite from the South of France and nearby vicinities. This book includes breadmaking secrets and tips and has more paper than ink, but I like the author and will pay the price of the book happily as I am hopeful that 1-3 recipes will make it worth the expense…

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. A memoir of Ms. Reichl’s time as a food critic for the New York Times. Haven’t started it but it got good reviews.

Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany by Ben Schott. This has been bedside for at least 18 months and I love it. It compiles the most interesting and inane food related trivia or facts. He lists the artists featured on Mouton Rothschild’s wine labels, shows the relative hotness of different chili peppers, describes ingredients, etc. I love this little book.

The Curiosities of Food by Peter Lund Simmonds. Also referred to as The Dainties and Delicacies of Different Nations Obtained from the ANIMAL KINGDOM. First published in 1859, this book covers some of the stranger or more obscure foodstuffs from around the globe. Tough reading stylewise but interesting nonetheless. Read it in small doses.

Phew, when am I going to get to the books that are lined up on the floor beside the bed…


36 Responses

  1. Hey MM! You are truly most welcome! And many thanks for featuring “Namit Gid” here. Hope you get to enjoy trying out some of the recipes there.

  2. Dang, MM, those books cost a fortune!

    Couldn’t help laughing out loud at the mention of those stylebooks among the cookbooks. And those stylebooks look heavy too! Try Strunk and White’s — only a hundred or so pages and definitely not as intimidating as the ones you have.

  3. On it’s way to you “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Somewhat prescient in light of the recent Spinach E. Coli problem and the possibility of the spinach being tainted by corn-fed cows.
    Well, I guess I have enough reading material for my next trip if I borrow your stack.

  4. Hi MM. I don’t think you should feel guilty for not having gone through the Chicago Manual of style for your writing. I mean, it’s a book with info on punctuation, quotations, captions, tables, typography, equations, etc. — all the stuff in a book/publication besides the actual writing! He he.

    Put it away and read your cookbooks!

  5. Wow, nice pile of books you have there, MM. But cookbooks on the bedside table? Most of the people I’ve met have magazines or hardbound/paperback novels on theirs. Just shows how much you love food and cooking. I also prefer cookbooks with photos mainly because those sort of give me an idea of what the food would look like if I try to re-create the dishes.

    Will try to look for ‘The Rituals of Dinner’. I got interested by the way you’ve described the contents. Do you think they still publish the book?

  6. Hello,

    I found your blog via Googling up “sugarcane”, which turned up with your October 2005 entry about the history of sugarcane. Well, being a bit desperate… may I please ask for a bit of help, recipe-wise? ^_^;;

    A friend has recently given me a small, 2-foot length’s worth of sugarcane, and I quite honestly don’t know what to do with it. I’ve been trying to look up recipes for it, but I’ve found that a lot of them involves shrimp and/or grilling. Now, I’m just a 22-year-old working girl in Makati, renting a small apartment. I’m on a tight budget and I can’t grill anything without setting off the building’s sprinkler system (not that I’ve tried…). Would there happen to be any low-budget recipe that you could point me to? I’d really appreciate it. :)

    It seems like such a shame to just throw away the sugarcane, but I’ve never used one before at all. So far, I’ve managed to peel off the bark and cut it up into small sections which can fit into a plastic food container (had to do it since it seemed to be attracting insects onto my kitchen counter). It’s now sitting inside the fridge, confused. Hehe.

    Thanks in advance! :)

    —- K

    PS… I’ve been trying to send ask the question via the Contact link, but your webform seems to be broken… it keeps telling me that all fields are blank…

  7. The rest of the books seem interesting as well; I appreciate your short descriptions of the contents.

    MM, can i get The Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition and The Associated Press Stylebook at Powerbooks or any other bookstores in the metro?


  8. I read both The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum and Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. They are both very good books. Both authors are highly acclaimed and known in the culinary world..

  9. Thanks for the tip on Margaret Visser — just requested a couple of her books and looking forward to reading them.

  10. wow!! nice stack you have there!! where can i find “Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany by Ben Schott” & “The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser”… it seems like i’d have to start writing down my wishlist for xmas! hehehe!

  11. Hi guys, the Visser book was published early 90’s but is considered sort of a “classic” so it is probably available on-line in the States or second hand re-sellers. Schott’s Food & Drink and most other titles (except Artusi and style books) are available at Powerbooks if not on the shelves through a special order that takes a few weeks. Larees, the Chicago Manual of Style I ordered from Amazon and my sister brought it in I think. I haven’t seen it here but I suspect Powerbooks would special order it for you. The Rituals of Dinner is quirky but interesting… Kristine, I have replied to your questions re:sugarcane in a separate email…thanks.

  12. MM, have you read/used Rose Berenbaum’s CAKE BIBLE? If so, what do you think of it? Also, is there a classic Filipino cookbook you would recommend? Thanks.

  13. Mitch, I have Ms. Berenbaum’s Bread Bible but not the Cake Bible yet… There are so few Filipino cookbooks around… I will review about to be released one next week or so… stay tuned.

  14. Hi MM! I recently got interested in brick ovens and is interested in having one made.(Lots of info on the web) Most recommend a couple of books for the ultimate bread and pizza maker. Try looking it up.

    The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart

    The Bread Builders : Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens by Alan Scott

  15. Hi Erleen, I have heard of the first book you mentioned…will have to add more to the pile of books on the floor… Actually, I have been curious about a brick oven as well. My grandparents had a bakery in Cebu with two huge wood fired ovens… It all sounds so romantic…but the reality may be a little more difficult…where to find the hardwoods to burn, the smoke, etc.

  16. Just chose Garlic and Sapphires for my book club choice of the month (we are recovering from an Umberto Eco mistake so need something light and airy!) Late last week, when most of Manila was without power, I spent every afternoon at Fully Booked. I picked up The Silver Spoon Cookbook because I have been hearing alot about it and The Art of the Table by Suzanne Von Drachenfels..Both interesting so far. After reading your comments I just have to find The Rituals of Dinner and The Art of Eating Well. They sound fantastic. Thanks for the recommendations.
    I also just wanted say that as a big fan of Terrance Brennan, Picholine being a favorite and his now closed Steakhouse, I was dissapointed the one time I ate at Artisanal. Hope you have a better experience..let us know .I may have to try in again.

  17. Choice cuts must be a new one by Kurlansky, I’ve read Salt and Cod. Did you read Reichl’s other books? I love her first two books.
    You can sometimes find the Chicago Manual of Style at Fully Booked or A Different Bookstore, they’ll also order it for you if you need it. I only open my copy when I need to debate the point of using a comma before an “and” with my boss (she’s of the old school, Oxford style of punctuation).

  18. Brick ovens seems to be so easy to make. Lots of oven owners offer free plans and have chronological photos of how their ovens are made. I’ve joined a yahoogroup that is dedicated to this.

    A slight problem seems to be that some materials are unavailable here in the Philippines.

  19. hi! i’m a cookbook fan too and i’m interesting in getting a copy of namit gid from you or maddie. i hope it would be possible. it would make me very very happy. my cel number is 0916-5492729 just in case you need to contact me. or please email at singkit_ann@yahoo.com. thanks very much! looking forward to owning a copy soon…

    ann =)

  20. Hi Marketman, the Chicago Manual of Style is really a reference for publishers and editors. Its simplified version–Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations–is more user-friendly and geared toward the writers themselves (e.g. college students). Give it a try. :-) Also, I’m one with Erleen on The Bread-Baker’s Apprentice and with Mila on Ruth Reich’s earlier books. I think they’re both way better than Garlic and Sapphires. Has anyone read Julie and Julia yet? Am contemplating purchasing it.

  21. My god MM, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to have to clamber into bed! :p I’m pretty much a neat freak, everything in its place and all that, so all my food books go into the library.

  22. Hi Ann! I’ve emailed you separately on your interest in Namit Gid! To anyone who’s interested in purchasing a copy, you can email me at mmcv10@yahoo.com. Thank you Marketman!

  23. That is a gorgeous looking stack you’ve got there! I actually love having my books around me in bed (yes, on the bed beside me)…now that I’m married there is less space for them so they have to go on the night table…

    My mom has Teresa Barrenechea’s The Basque Table…we ate her restaurant in NY, Marichu…yummy Leche Frita :)

    That “Pig Perfect” sounds, well, perfect!

  24. Wow, very nice titles! I’m the same way, MM. I have books on my bed, on my night table, on the shelf, in my bathroom, in the car, on the shelf of my TV table, in the kitchen…everywhere! It’s quite a mess, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

  25. i can totally relate. my books are all about bread and desserts and the science that goes into it. one good find is by James Beard. get a copy of any of his books. he tells story so simply and truthfully that you’d rush up reading a recipe and bake it!!! yah. he’s my favorite. try “Beard on Bread”. i can’t get enough of it. i’ve read it thrice and it really makes me appreciate the art of making AND eating GOOOOOD bread. hey, his recipes are accurate. just play around with the flours. the flours available are not as strong as the ones in the states i think.

  26. Hi! I just discovered your blog today and I’m thankful that i did.

    I borrowed this entry and sent it to my friends and posted it on my blog as well.

    Kudos to all food lovers!

  27. I LOVE cookbooks and have tons of them in addition to foodie mags likes Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food and Wine, etc.! My husband questions what with all the cookbooks and magazines that I have, why in heaven do we eat the same food every week??? I like to read them- not necessarily cook from them! LOL!
    One of my very favorite cookbook-Flabreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid takes you into an extraordinary journey through many continents and the people and their delectable food.

  28. I’m a cookbook addict myself. Actually am going to post the answers to the cookbook meme about it soon on my blog . I have read Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphire’s. I would like to recommend Bill Buford’s Heat.

  29. I too have a stack of books piled by my bedside. I like the nice cozy inviting feel of it, plus if I can’t sleep they are just an arms reach away. Here are some books I have in line to be read or browsed at liesure, no particular order:
    1. Baking From My Home to Yours–Dorie Greenspan
    2. Cradle of Flavor– James Oseland
    3. Whole Grain Baking–King Arthur Flour
    4. Tartine– Elisabeth M. Prueitt
    5. Spice– Ana Sortun
    6. Basilica– R. A. Scotti
    7. The Cuisines of Spain–Barrenechea
    8. Artisan Baking– Maggie Glezer
    9. Bread: A Bakers’s Book of Techniques and Recipes– Jeffrey Hamelman
    10.Mangoes and Curry Leaves–Alford and Duguid
    12. The Foods of the Greek Island– Aglaia Kremezi
    13. One Hundered Years of Solitude– Marquez
    That’s my baker’s dozen, so to speak. Ok, so what are you guys reading out there? I would love to see what some of your other blog visitors are reading too!

  30. Was wondering where can I buy the namit gid recipe book. I asked my sister to get it at the showroom (my friend said she got hers there) in Bacolod and she said it’s not there anymore. I have the older version maybe 10 to 15 years ago by St scholastica,s Academy and enjoyed it very much. If you please email me at graceforjesus@sbcglobal.net and I will advice my sister where to get the updated one. Thanks.

  31. Grace, a few comments up in this thread is a comment by Maddie, who was the reader that sent the cookbook to me. If you email her at the address she gives, she can probably arrange for a copy somehow… thanks.



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