Cookbooks that Inspire


The Silver Palate

One of my first loves was cookbooks. I didn’t discover this passion till college. I worked at the library and came across a magazine called Cuisine. I savored every page I read. Not in my wildest dreams would I know that two years later I would be living in NYC and be employed by CBS Magazines where Cuisine would be published two floors above me. Cuisine led me to cookbooks. Books that could inspire one to run out and shop for all the ingredients and spend hours creating that one dish. Back in Sea Gate (Brooklyn), my first husband Chris and I spent many a late night eating dinners. These endeavors led to a Christmas gift from my husband. The NY Times 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey. An inscription inside stated “ya probably don’t’ need this, but you’re always complaining about how long it takes to make dinner…maybe this’ll help. I love ya, whatever ya think-Craig Claiborne.” I still get a chuckle when I read this. To me a good cookbook takes you through a journey. These are the books I keep. I’m embarrassed to say I have over 400 but in the world of food, you can only be a line cook so long before your body gives out. One must have an exit strategy. I decided I would create a food library for a writing career. The Silver Palate is one of these. It was 1984 and I had been living in New York City for 4 months when I stumbled across this cookbook. The shop had been open since 1977 on the upper west side and the original owners ended up selling it in 1988. For me, the recipe Chicken Monterey awoke my taste buds. Incorporating grated zest of an orange and its juice to a chicken dish with squash, tomatoes and fresh parsley just clicked for me. My very first attempt at making pate was with their Chicken Liver with Green Peppercorns recipe which I made for a 4th of July picnic on Coney Island. Back in Wyoming, you wouldn’t see half of these ingredients you needed for the recipes. If you don’t have this in your culinary library, I suggest a scouring of used books stores or a click on Amazon.