What's up guys, welcome to the new and improved Letters from the Beard. Our goal going forward is to focus a little less on us and a little more on you. So with that being said, the first thing we wanted to focus on is a little closer to home.
I have spent the last 15 years in the food service industry and in that time, I have had the pleasure of running several kitchens. So that is where I want to start this journey... So let's roll up our sleeves and get started. First off, I want to let everyone know this; you don't have to be classically trained to master these recipes and become a culinary badass. All you really need is the ability to read a recipe and apply the concepts. Some of these books may require a little bit of conversion but don't worry, you have an awesome man beard so you can figure it out pretty easily... Alright, let’s get started with the list of cookbooks every bearded dude should own.
5. Heritage by Sean Brock; I chose Heritage because it speaks to my Southern roots. I was born and raised in the South and this book is chock full of recipes with heavy southern influence. Using recipes that he has perfected in his restaurants, Husk and McGradys, this James Beard award-winning book sets the standard for Southern cuisine. The recipes in Heritage include all of the comfort food and high-end restaurant food for which Brock has become so well-known. This is a very personal book, which explains Brock's background and gives context to his food and essays in which he shares his admiration for the purveyors and ingredients he cherishes. Want to check it out? You can grab it here
4. The Silver Spoon by Phiadon Press; With contributing names like Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Tony Mantuano, this book makes its way onto the Bearded list. This book is massive, featuring over 2,000 recipes and 400 amazing images. But it’s the best feature is it goes beyond just the food thought and touches on how to compose a traditional Italian meal, food traditions of the different regions, and how to set an Italian table. Needed by all of those aspiring bearded chefs to up their game in Italian cuisine and impress those around him with traditional Italian dishes. Want to master the Italian kitchen, grab your copy here
So why did I decide to do a cookbook blog? What about this blog says Man Beard?? It’s simple, gentlemen. Cooking is one of the most intimate things that you can do when on a date with someone new or even the one that you married years ago. It is your personality on a plate, your creativity, and you are leaving yourself open. Food is one of the universal languages and something that as a bearded dude needs to be in your bag of tricks. Do you need to be a master of every recipe? No, obviously not, but you do need to be proficient in the kitchen. Let’s face it, you can be the manliest of men, but if you burn water trying to make Mac and Cheese you are going to get laughed out of the room. So with that being said, let's get back to the list.
3. Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey by John Currence; For this particular tour-de-beaded-food, we head back to the south, and to the King of Oxford Mississippi’s food scene, as well as James Beard award winner, John Currence. He knocks out 130 different recipes with 10 different techniques, from grilling meat to pickling anything that you can think of... literally anything. John even breaks it down behind the bar with some amazing southern cocktails that will have you and the boys telling stories late into the night... True or Not... Only you know. Do yourself a favor and grab this Southern cooking Badassery. You can grab it here.
2. Franklin Barbecue A Meat Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackey; So this manifesto isn’t really a cookbook, although it does have a few recipes, it is way, way, WAY, more than that. So why would I put a book in a top 5 cookbooks list that isn’t really a cookbook?? Because, this is the Godfather of Barbecue, Mr. Aaron Franklin. People line the sidewalk at his restaurant in Austin, Texas for hours before he even opens for a chance at the opportunity to maybe grab a bite to eat there for lunch. This is Aaron’s Manifesto to all smoked meats, a literal how to, to get the best results - his results. Don’t believe me? Here is what the late Anthony Bourdain had to say about Aaron:
“Aaron Franklin makes the finest barbecue I’ve ever had, barbecue worth waiting for. His work and his words express a truly rare level of commitment and expertise. With Franklin Barbecue, he shares it all—in a book that, fortunately, you don’t have to wait for.”
If you smoke meat and you don’t have this book in your arsenal, then are you really smoking meat?? Make sure you grab this book today.
So by this point, you may be wondering where the books from Guy Fierri, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay or any of those other famous celebrity chefs are. While I respect those guys greatly and the food that they produce, you can very easily head over to any channel and see them cook their food or tune into whatever show they have going on. Or even easier, you can head over to YouTube and have it on demand. We wanted to curate books that I use regularly but also focus on regional cuisine. Again, I love all of the guys listed above, and honestly, Gordon Ramsay’s video on the perfect scrambled eggs will change your life... but like I said, I wanted to show you some guys who you have probably never heard of who also happen to make some badass food.
1. James Beard’s American Cookery by James Beard; This is it, my bearded brothers. If Aaron Franklin is the Godfather of Barbecue, then James Beard is the King of Food. He is the pioneer of food as we know it today. Chefs and Restaurateurs all over the country covet what an award in his name will do for their businesses. Over 1500 of his own recipes fill this book. There are no fancy pictures. You will probably have to do some converting from his classic style of writing, but this is a must-have for any bearded kitchen. Do yourself a favor and grab this bible of food now; you won’t regret it. You can get it here.
So there you have it bearded badasses a small list of cookbooks every bearded dude should own, something a little different from us over here. Did you like what we had to say, or do you want us going back to talking more about us? Comment below and let us know! We are going to do more stuff along these lines in the future so make sure you keep an eye out. Not always about books but definitely things we as badass bearded gentlemen need to know and focus on. So until next time, stay bearded and # PunchTheBear
Really though, go check out Gordon Ramseys’ egg video... click here.