Books for Cooks

Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals
By Jamie Oliver ($64.20)
Despite winning a TED grant to revolutionize school lunches and starring in a reality food show set in America’s fattest county, the affable British chef still manages to publish a cookbook almost every year. What’s more, each bubbles with his can-do attitude for even the the most timid would-be chefs. (Although, we’re secretly glad he’s lost The Naked Chef nickname somewhere along the way.) This time, it’s 30-minute meals—not dishes, but entire meals for your whole family—and it’s already the UK’s fastest selling non-fiction book of all time. Recipes come in sets of three or four, with a main, salad or side and dessert. Easy-to-follow instructions rotate from dish to dish, so we hope you’re adept at juggling different activities as you’ll be working on all of them at once.

The Big Book of Noodles
By Vatcharin Bhumichitr ($53.95)
Owner and chef of the Thai Bistro in London, Bhumichitr’s, periodically latest offering is a must for noodle lovers, featuring recipes and how-to guides for all kinds of Asian noodles dishes from countries including Japan, the Philippines and of course, Thailand. The anecdotes are a paragraph long, so there’s little heavy reading aside from the recipes themselves, though there is a preliminary section going over the basics of equipment, noodle types, and more, which is helpful for tackling foreign recipes as well as pretentious conversation (take that you pompous snobs).
The Book of Tapas
By Simone and Ines Ortega ($32.11)
Those new to Phaidon publications will be pleased to discover that their books are part reference, part works of art. You’ll be drooling over these vibrant red and yellow pages, at least as much as the recipes contained therein. The Ortegas are already iconic in the world of Spanish cookbooks for their seminal classic 1080 Recipes. Here they arrange a more manageable 250 tapas recipes by ingredient (veggies, fish, meats and such) and even by temperature (cold and hot). Particularly useful for the uninitiated is the glossary of Spanish ingredients, while the final chapter of tapas recipes by new and famous Spanish chefs is both impressive and refreshingly unique.
Thai Street Food
By David Thompson ($119.95)
Admittedly, it’s unlikely that anyone but the most principled DIY chefs will attempt the recipes in this enormous book. Especially as the dimensions and weight prove a little unwieldy for stove side reading. Size aside, the smaller, more focused number of recipes makes it a lot more accessible than Thompson’s previous encyclopedic publication, Thai Food. Even if you are the type that no amount of food porn can lure into the kitchen, you’ll still love having the Michelin-starred chef and Thai food historian’s new tome on your coffee table, thanks to its gorgeous photos of street scenes shot in picturesque Thailand.
All books are available at Borders (#01-00 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Rd., 6235-7146).