I’m picky when it comes to buying cookbooks; I lean more towards ones that focus on methods, rather than specific recipes. Or cookbooks that have one main theme like Italian cuisine, or breads. The Silver Spoon fits into the former. The book has thousands (literally) of recipes, covering every course, ranging from “Antipasti” all the way to “Desserts and Baking” and everything in between.
Being Italian (75% at least) I’m also sensitive to authors interpretations of Italian cuisine (because let’s face it, nothing is better than my ma and grandma’s recipes.). There’s only so many ways to skin a cat, I’m well aware, but I feel that lately recipes are being “remixed” or “turned up a notch” because people are running out of ideas. Don’t people like to spend time learning the essentials, or the basics anymore?
During the introduction, The Silver Spoon mentions that some of the recipes in their book are traditional, though some have been updated, some are contemporary, and I appreciate the heads-up. Let it be known that I am fully on board with cookbooks being “revised” and “updated” for serious culinary changes in society. My ma still has the first cookbook she bought when she and my dad were first married 40+ years ago and she refuses to buy a new one. (By the way go ahead and add that cookbook to the list of things my sister and I will be fighting over in the future.) Her Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, being such an old copy, still has recipes for… less desirable animals…. But for the most part, the recipes in that old copy are still usable today. I can see myself using The Silver Spoon 40+ years from now.
Ok, onto the pictures! The beginning of the book takes time to educate the reader about some (if not all) of the terminology used throughout the book, and different types of equipment that may be helpful to have. (Psst.. you remember that thing about clicking on the pictures to make them better, right?)
This is what I’m talking about when I say I’m picky about cookbooks: The Silver Spoon will never die, or become severely outdated, and it’s not subject to being a part of a trend. For example: I won’t buy cookbooks that have 20 silly design ideas for cupcakes; however I will buy a cookbook that focuses on methods and techniques for cake batters, frostings, and fondant, along with some example ideas. The former will get boring and useless a year after I buy it, or shortly after I’ve already reproduced the silly designs, but the latter will be useful forever because I can use it as a reference for future cupcakes.
Again, something I agree with completely: why does everyone have to take a picture of a bowl of flour and a stick of butter just hangin’ out on the counter? Not hating on any of my fellow food bloggers, it’s a personal preference. They take up as little space as possible for explanations; they tell you what to do, in what order, and that’s it. But it’s not complicated at all, the voice in the instructions is very friendly, and free of frilly adjectives.
Another unique aspect of this book is that it offers the recipes from menus of “Celebrated” chefs, from all over the world (US, Italy, and Australia to name a few.). This could be a great idea for a special date night, or maybe for a holiday feast, and then who would look like a super hero?
As long as you’re buying cookbooks and showing interest in cooking at home, that’s wonderful. I am definitely on the side of “we’re fat because we’re a fast food culture” type of person. If you’re interested in Italian cuisine, whether you’re Italian or not, The Silver Spoon is a perfect staple cookbook to have in your collection.