Anyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite series of cookbooks is the astounding Culinaria series, published by a German company, Könemann. These books are brilliantly photographed, large format cookbooks. They are big, heavy and beautiful, with a wealth of recipes. Most of them deal with the culinary traditions of individual countries and each book is usually split into provincial or regional chapters.
I've received them over the years as gifts and have searched them out or stumbled across them in various places. At this point, I have the following Culinarias: A 2 volume European Specialties, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Caribbean, USA and Southeast Asian Specialties. The Lady just found and ordered Greece for me, and we're still searching for a reasonably priced copy of Hungary.
Which leaves the mystery. And the mystery is this: A number of years ago on Amazon, we noticed that two more volumes were to be published, India and Britannia & Eire.
Well, the publishing dates came and went. No books. We let it go. That was back in '02 & '03.
Today, I got a wild hare to go searching for Culinarias. The Lady and I found Greece; no problem. Very reasonable price from Abebooks. But I wanted to find about those two mystery books. There were ISBN numbers for them, but no record of them anywhere. I found some signs of life on Amazon UK for the Britannia book, but nothing else. They didn't seem to exist anywhere, even used. Very strange. I couldn't find a website for Könemann, the publishers. Eventually, I did, and I've sent them an email asking after the missing books. If I get an answer, I'll update this post.
In the meantime, however, you should really try to find the available books. They're out of print, so you'll have to go the used route, for the most part. Most of them can still be found through Cooking.com. If you go for the European Specialties, be sure to get the double volume in the slipcase. It's a "compilation" of all the other European editions. I highly recommend these books to the serious cook who is interested in foodways. The fantastic recipes are enhanced by the accompanying text on everything from food culture to viticulture.
Plus, they just plain look cool.