Monday, November 8, 2010

What Makes a Cookbook a Coffee Table Book

Knowing how much I love cookbooks, Erin a blogging friend of mine passed on this link. It lists her 40 Top Coffee Table Cookbooks for Foodies. It made me do more than just drool... it made me think.

For one thing, I own probably close to 200 cookbooks - and , no... I do not think that's excessive! But I was surprised to note that only two of her books are actually on my shelves.

Which then made me think of every visit to really good cookbooks stores ... three branches of Chapters/Indigo in Toronto make me smile - the Eaton Center, the World's Biggest Bookstore & the Bayview Village... Actually most of the TO branches have large cookbook selections. Unfortunately I live in Halifax and the branches here have slim selections... but I digress.

Another shop in Toronto that sells ONLY cookbooks and other foodie favorites is The Cookbook Store. and the reality that my collection is like a grain of sand on a Miami Beach! The point is... there are so many books - picture books that show off places and recipes, history or cultural tomes that showcase different cultures, books on baking, books on grilling, vegetarian, fish & seafood... and don't forget the ones for each appliance a person might own or every conceivable diet out there.

Lastly, Erin's list made me wonder what classifies a book as a coffee table book. It's a given that the books should be filled with beautiful photos. There are books like Beyond the Great Wall, by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, which is a stunning travelogue of remote Asia with awesome recipes.

Books like Blackberry Farm Cookbook, by Sam Beall
and Blue Eggs & Yellow Tomatoes, by Jeanne Kelley
will have you quitting your city life and trading it all in for life on a farm.

But what about books that capture your imagination in other ways? Do you have a favorite culture you like to display?

I often have a rotation of my favorite Jewish Cookbooks that share, not only great recipes but a history lesson as well.

Truthfully, what usually happens around here is, that when guests come over, they take a book or two off the shelves - depending on what they're interested in and then I pull off a bunch more.

I'd love to hear what your favorite coffee table foodie books are and why.


Kirsten Lindquist said...

Hi Ruth, love the post except the link to the 40 coffee table cookbooks has been hijacked by some ad. Can you repost? Thanks!

Ruth Daniels said...

YIKES and thanks for catching that totally gross ad! It's all fixed.

And what is your favorite coffee table book?

Cate O'Malley said...

The Blue Eggs one is a favorite of mine too, and I completely agree, definitely has me dreaming of owning a farm. Maybe one day.