Len Deighton's top cookbooks

Len, as this website demonstrates, is no stranger to the kitchen, having written many popular cook books. However, all good cooks will turn to other for inspiration. Here, writing for the Deighton Dossier, he sets out his own favourite, go-to cookbooks:

"Last year, The Observer asked me to resume production of the cookstrips and they are now appear each month in The Observer Food Monthly. My son Alex (Bebop) Deighton works with me and tests and modifies each and every one. I have had many readers ask me what are my favourite cookery books. I possess hundreds of cookery books, so I have listed the books to which I go most often.

Previous cookstrips are available in my Action Cook Book and also in French Cooking for Men. I also did a book called The ABC of French Food which my publishers have, for reasons unexplained to me, not reprinted. It is available from internet retailers and I hope it fills a place in the bookshelves of serious cooks and even those who enjoy reading menus..

Below are some of the books to which I frequently turn. They are not all recipe books. Some, like the books of Harold McGee, Alan Davidson and Merle Ellis and Larousse, deal with food and cookery, while the remarkable Shirley O. Corriher combines receipes with the theories upon which they depend. One of the Pepin books is an autobiography, but wonderfully informative for all cooks.

The books are in no significant order, but are all favourites of mine:

  • The Companion to Food - Alan Davidson.
  • Memories of Gascony - Pierre Koffman
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 volumes) - Julia Child and Simone Beck
  • All About Meat - Leon and Stanley Lobel
  • Cutting Up In the Kitchen - Merle Ellis
  • Keys to Good Cooking - Harold McGee
  • Larousse Gastronomique
  • Great Chefs of France - Quentin Crewe and A. Blake
  • The Apprentice: my life in the kitchen - Jacques Pepin
  • The Complete Guide to Cookery - Anne Willan
  • Cookwise - Shirley O. Corriher
  • The DIY Cook - Tim Hayward
  • Mosimann's World  - Anton Mosimann
  • The Complete Techniques - Jacques Pepin (This is a condensed version of Pepin's The Technique (2 vols) and The Method (2 vols) which are now out of print but well worth searching for."

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