Even the occasional home cook should have a few useful reference books on hand. In many cases, it is easier to locate needed information quicker than searching on the internet and if you select your reference books carefully, chances are that the information, in a published book, is more likely to be accurate.
The first book pictured is The Penguin Companion to Food by Alan Davidson, which is a soft cover book. It is out of print, but it is very findable. The Oxford Companion to Food, is the hardcover version. The Oxford Companion is still in print and it is easy to find either new or used.
Here is what The New York Times said about the Companion to Food by Alan Davidson … “A masterly work with a variety of voices, from the straightforward, almost dry, to the quirky and witty …. It’s not hard to be awed by these pages dense with extremely thorough and well-written entries, enhanced by cross-references and indexes and larded with anecdotes and strong opinions.”
The Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst was first printed in1990 and has updated several times. It is a soft cover book that measures 7 inches x 4 ¾ inches x 1 ¾ inches. The cover has changed and it is now a soft rust color instead of white. There is a hard cover “deluxe” edition. In my opinion, the soft cover version is a book that easily fits in a kitchen drawer, on a shelf or standing in a cabinet … it is my go-to-book.