I filled out a survey and won a $100 gift card to Amazon. The problem is that it's for amazon.com and I live in .ca, so my choices are limited and first few items I tried to buy ended up being things that won't ship to Canada. But books are usually a pretty good bet, provided they're being sold by Amazon and not a third party seller, so I thought I'd take this as an opportunity to enhance my cookbook collection.
I tend to prefer books that are strong on instruction (I love reading the parts of Joy of Cooking that are things like "how to break down a rabbit" or the Cooks Illustrated "your pie sucks, here's why" explanations), rather than just being a collection of recipes. I have Joy, How to Cook Everything and several Cooks Illustrated books that cover a broad swath of this territory, so things that go deep into some specific technique or ingredient (braising? fish? braising fish?) might be good.
Introductions to a given world cuisine that cover the basics of how to set up a pantry, flavor profiles and cooking techniques for that cuisine are also generally great. I have a not great Brazilian book and would like a really good one if one exists. I was also thinking about Hot Sour Salty Sweet, since I get the impression it's a good introduction to a selection of cuisines I've never really tried to cook. I'd also be interested in a book covering some of the Mediterranean / Middle Eastern / North African cuisines -- I was thinking maybe Arabesque based on the CotM archives, but reading back it seems like a lot of people found the recipes underseasoned or boring, so is there a better choice?
I'm not particularly looking for books that cover American or general western cooking techniques and recipes, since I feel like I have that covered pretty well already, unless they're really strong instructional books. The exception might be a book on slow-cooking, since I'm trying to use my slow-cooker more. Most of those, though, are super generic '150 slow cooker recipes' -- if there's a really good instructional book on slow cooking, I'd be interested in that.
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