About a decade or so ago I purchased a few cookbooks that I consider the best books (of any type) I own. Culinaria series of "cookbooks" are the best cookbooks ever. I use quotations on cookbooks because I think they go beyond the definition of your typical cookbook. They are a travel book, a history book, a cookbook, a culture book, among other things all wrapped into one. These books are high quality in all aspects. Superficially the books are made with quality thick paper and well laid out. More importantly though the books are excellent not only in its recipes but also in its photography, and writing. Some of these books are close to 500 pages. Within those pages are interesting historical background on the culture's love of food or product. One complaint I've read is that to fit all that information within the book, font size may be too small for some but I didn't have that issue.
These books aren't just for home cooks or gourmands but for anyone interested in European culture. Hunters would like these books too. There are several game recipes and sections regarding game in that particular country, with the Spain edition having the most game recipes. In each book there are several recipes for quail, partridge (chukar is a good substitute), rabbit, hare, pheasant, duck, boar, venison and much more. In addition to the recipes the books discuss hunting culture within that country with great pictures too.
Currently I have four of the books of the series-France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. I intend on including the Hungary and Russia books in the near future. The French book is where I actually learned about Laguiole
knives. Just that article made me want to buy one. I loved the knife and its history so much I bought one for my father for his birthday.
These books are originally from Germany and are translated into English. Translation is good. I wish an American publisher would copy this format and start making our cookbooks like this. I don't think it would ever happen. I've read that the German publisher is no long in existence, that's a shame as this series is the best cookbook ever produced. Period.
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