If you're surfing the web in the next few days, you might want to check in with the food website eGullet, which is doing a forum on the world's best cookbooks. Why? Because lists are inherently fun reading, and also because eGullet numbers among its members many of the noted cookbook writers who probably deserve to be on that list. This last discussion picks up the thread, which began in 2004, with entries on Shirley Corriher's "Cookwise," Heston Blumenthal's "The Big Fat Duck Cookbook," and James Beard's "Theory and Practice of Good Cooking." (Post #144 gives a handy list of the titles so far.)
EGullet is an eclectic food site, with myriad rabbit holes: in addition to forums, there are recipes (to date, 1991 recipes submitted by 496 members), blogs, spotlight conversations (Dorie Greenspan, José Andrés, etc.) and short pieces written by members, like one called The Kitchen Scale Manifesto. (They even have their own store.) For those weary of the hegemony of many food sites, eGullet has interesting range.
Among this morning's topics, in addition to World's Best Cookbooks: Bing cherries, Fine Dining In Kracow, London hog roast recommendations, wine bargains, distilled apples, and (my favorite) What's Your Favorite Teapot?
EGullet, which bills itself a Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, can also act as an online test kitchen. When cookbook author and eGullet member Paula Wolfert was working on the revised edition of her 1983 classic, "The Cooking of Southwest France," a few years ago, she enlisted eGullet members to test recipes. How's that for a communal kitchen?
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Although you do not have to become an eGullet member to travel its site, membership in the not-for-profit society is free.