23 January 2010

Books For Inspiration

Regular readers of this blog will know of our passion (obsession?) with cookbooks, we greedily snap up the latest titles and hoard a substantial amount of books, to the extent we run out of room! These books come in most useful when researching dishes or ingredients, when looking for a particular cooking technique, or just to help us decide what to cook on a Sunday. The books above though, and books of that sort, often help us in more ways than a cookbook. When creating dishes or designing new creations we find books on food science, art & design and historical books an inspirational source of ideas. The science books help us determine the best ingredients to use for a specific technique, for example 'Food - The Chemistry Of It's Components' highlights new and interesting uses for hydrocolloids. It also has invaluable nutritional information which helps us decide quantities of fats, carbohydrates, sodiums and so on in developing a balanced dish. Cookbooks, depending on the author, can't always be trusted to provide the most accurate information. Usually a cookbook is the product of one chef/cook's opinion and as you know opinions are not always based on fact. The research we conduct, partly utilizes fact based food chemistry book reading and we find this really helps our understanding of ingredients.
We find art & design books fascinating and it is surprising how much a chef can take inspiration from these. On a practical level some of these books help us here at Burch & Purchese, in forming new ways to package our products. Sometimes the packaging helps to evolve product but making us think 'outside the box' so to speak. The design material we have also provides excellent examples of shape and structure, these help us in creating new designs for a cakes and dishes. Just as nature can inspire structural design, eg. Gaudi, structural design can inspire pastry chefs in their creations. These books help us in our work.
Books by chefs/cooks from another era are also immensely useful, not to mention enjoyable. The works of Careme, Brillat-Savarin and even further back Apicuis provide astounding facts on nutrition, dish construction and ingredients. It is amazing they were able to conclude things that we take for granted because of technology available to us. We take inspiration from these chef's notes on seasonality, menus and other subjects and try to incorporate their teachings in our work. In all it helps to broaden your reading spectrum, you may be surprised at what you discover! Below are Amazon links to the books mentioned.













lostpastremembered said...

As you know, I am a history nut... great to spread the word about the treasures that await in the old books... just finished the bio of Careme.. what a life!!
His recipes are not that hard to follow. So many great books on your list plus those on the chemistry side which are fascinating for us amateurs... great post!

Burch & Purchese said...

Yeah we know you're a history nut! Careme was out there, fascinating life story. Thanks for the comment, Darren & Ian