Trying to decide the world’s best cookbooks is a futile endeavor. As food critics Jay Rayner, Bill Buford, Rachel Cooke and Allan Jenkins write in this weekend’s Observer Food Monthly “After all, one person’s sauce-stained personal favourite is another’s shelf-filling waste of space.”
But the team of writers, along with several other noted foodies, made an honorable effort when they compiled “The 50 best cookbooks.” The list, which is dominated by Brits, spans the earth’s cuisines, including Chinese, French and American fare. And, in a pleasantly surprise, it lists Claudia Roden’s 1996 “The Book of Jewish Food” at number three. Jay Raynor, the toughest critic on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters praises it: “In truth it is less a cookbook than a cultural over view of the entire Jewish diaspora, with appropriate recipes attached.”
Other classics, including Julia Child’s original “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and Alice Water’s “Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook” come in at 21 and 11 respectively, not even breaking into the top ten.
Israeli/British chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbook “Plenty,” which debuted in the UK earlier this year, rings in at number 40.
For excerpts from several of the books, check out Eater’s coverage of the list.