There’s a common question out there of if you lived on a dessert island and could only take “X” with you what would it be. Well in that same vein I would posit the question/statement, “If you could only have one cookbook which one would it be?” For me, it would be, Heston Blumenthal at Home.
Why? Well, this cookbook changed EVERYTHING for me. I knew of Heston. I knew him as a world renowned three star Michelin Star chef and a food TV show host. So when I discovered he had a cookbook and it was deigned for the home cook this was exciting!
This 400 page cookbook is a bit of a beast but it is worth every page and every penny. This cookbook is also one of the more expensive cookbooks I have ever purchased. (His cookbook on The Fat Duck, his restaurant is the most expensive by far!)
What I love about his cookbook is he talks to you. There’s no short quick intro and then a bunch of recipes. He takes you through the hows and whys. He explains it in a way that anyone can understand. He give you knowledge as well as great recipes to put that knowledge to use. He arms you with basics like Chicken Stock but then he takes you on wild rides like Licorice Poached Salmon and Cauliflower Mac N Cheese. (For the record that mac n cheese I could eat every day!)
He turned my understanding of basic rules, techniques and recipes up on their head and not only gave me a better recipe but he took the time to tell me why it’s better.
I don’t know if I will make EVERYTHING in his cookbook and with the recipes being based on British ingredients the don’t always translate to their American counterparts, but I continue to try because each recipe either inspires me or terrifies me. Cauliflower Mac N Cheese is a great example. There’s no way you would have convinced me that puréed cauliflower that was boiled in milk would make for an amazing backdrop of creaminess for this mac n cheese but I did it anyway. I know he understand flavor and ingredients better than most and as I stated I loved it and could eat it everyday!
One thing to note is that he does everything by weight so if you’re feeling bold and want to learn a whole new approach to cooking get this book and a digital scale. You won’t be sorry!