I happen to have a weakness for well-designed, super tactile books- especially cookbooks. I think most of us graphic designers carry a soft spot in our blackened hearts for the odd well-crafted book, but I’m not sure everyone goes to such lengths for them as I. Herein comes what I like to call book hunting.
My most recent triumph was a French pastry/cake cookbook by Hidemi Sugino that I saw recipes from on Køkken69‘s blog. I think she even wrote an entry about how much she loves this book, it has extensive directions on correct technique, and some ridiculously (complicated looking) awesome recipes. Of course the entire book is in Japanese, and can only be ordered on Japanese Amazon for about $50 + international shipping, but luckily such trivialities don’t stop me.
I spent a few days trying to laboriously translate the Japanese Amazon shipping policy, until I realized Google Chrome does a pretty decent job of translating websites :p Needless to say that made things much easier(my Japanese is understandably rusty), and after about a 2 week shipping time I had my lovely new cookbook!
Of course I’ve had it for probably four months now and haven’t baked a single thing from it yet, but you know I do most things in life just for the challenge. And if it counts for anything, I did take a day at the pool to translate the introduction :p
On my vacation in Iceland I dragged my freezing ass into a bookstore in hopes of a cup of coffee, and was pleasantly surprised by their cookbook isle! I found their pricing a bit prohibitive so I didn’t buy anything, but I took some surreptitious photos so I’d remember to look them up later (ironically I still have a 5,000 Icelandic krona bill burning a hole in my pocket that would have bought like 2 of those books).
My favorite in terms of layout and overall book design was Maturinn Hennar Nönnu by Nanna Rögnvaldardottir. Who knows what that title means, buying an Icelandic cookbook may be a bit of a stretch even for me… but what the hell, I think it’s about baking.
There was also a really interesting looking set of baking books (from Britain?) that I might look up later. They had some really nice foil embossing on the covers and good layouts inside, but the recipes didn’t exactly tickle my fancy (maybe because I can read them?). Go figure.