Well done, I say! Though I love my Williams-Sonoma New American Cooking , with its close-up pictures of well presented delectibles, I find the photos can be distracting. So many cookbooks now are becoming photographic show ponies rather than culinary work horses.
Where Bittman presents a technique that is hard to visualize, there are small, well drawn and useful illustrations. I think that's how it should be. Heck, even Cook's Illustrated only uses one postage stamp size color picture for each dish. I guess what I mean to say is that I not only don't mind, but rather like the lack of pictures in this cook book. I love this book and will always keep it.
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Even though I am certainly no longer a novice in the kitchen, it still comes through for me all the time. View all 4 comments. Apr 02, Louis rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Those who do not have much experience cooking but want to learn and dreams of becoming good. Shelves: food. There are many different types of cookbooks. The most basic type is a collection of recipes, presumably built around some theme. Another type is the picture book, filled with pages of pictures of beautiful gourmet dishes.
Then there are the celebrity chefs, with books that promise something akin to what you can get from their restaurants, or results like their TV shows. I have one cookbook that is basically a travelogue, beckoning the reader to distant exotic lands. But the one that every househ There are many different types of cookbooks.
But the one that every household is supposed to have, is the big, basic cookbook. The one that has a general range and, more importantly, general instructions on cooking technique and everything that has to do with a kitchen, without assuming that the reader has learned everything at her grandmother's knee especially the readers that are not a 'her'. Mark Bittman opens the book with a general statement of philosophy which identifies his audience.
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In this case, his audience are precisely those who are starting from nothing, new households of people who did not grow up learning from their mothers and grandmothers on how to cook. Second, it is aimed at those who desire to cook, not necessarily gourmet, but food that is good, and not complicated. And because his readers are assumed to be starting from no base, Bittman takes on the role of teacher, not just a publisher. And as a professor lit. The assumption is that people who want something like this, will also know how to find it elsewhere.
The first section is basically a tour through the kitchen, equipment, basic ingredients, and basic techniques. All this with advice on what was necessary, and what was optional. No doubt there is room for disagreement. But for someone starting from nothing, the opinions given are useful.
And once people learn more and gain more skills, they can form their own opinions starting from what he gives.
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So, how are the recipes? There are many cookbooks that I avoid because their too complicated, many due to the shear number of ingredients required. HTCE does not have this problem. It does not go as far as a 5 ingredient list, but the ingredients are constrained to a number that someone without a full spice rack could conceivably have. Throughout the book, there are tips on how to work with various ingredients. In addition, there would be a small essay for major meat and vegetables. So far, I've probably done a couple dozen recipes over the past couple years. Some for myself, some just me and my fiancee, some for a group.
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I have found the recipes to be complex enough to be interesting and worthy of something nice, but easy enough so I can gauge difficulty and effort from reading alone, I only have limited background in cooking. In contrast, I find most cookbooks on the market to be way to simple and just a list of recipes or overly complicated and impractical especially for someone who lives alone and would end up throwing out most of the purchased ingredients as they spoiled.
I think HTCE a very good baseline cookbook. For the starter, Bittman teaches without intimidation, the recipes are complex enough to impress if that is the goal , but basic enough to be achievable. The advice and options given are enough that the reader can understand how to adapt and experiment, and thus learn how to cook to a level that should satisfy anyone, and a jumping off point to learn in the future. View 1 comment. Jul 03, Leslie rated it really liked it Recommends it for: butter lovers, people who need a general reference cookbook.
I first saw this cookbook in the kitchen of one of my favorite families, the Gambells, in New Haven, and the pages were falling out of the binding from extensive use - a pretty good recommendation. The reviews that say, "hm, these recipes are simple Many friends of mine have complained about this, that the book doesn't go far enough beyond three-ingredient recipes. But from m I first saw this cookbook in the kitchen of one of my favorite families, the Gambells, in New Haven, and the pages were falling out of the binding from extensive use - a pretty good recommendation.
But from my time as a kid in my parents' house forward, I've always had some kind of super-basics cookbook in my kitchen, and although the copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I inherited from them has an awesome 70's kitsch factor bound as loose leaves in a red-and-white checked ring-binder and full of recipes for cocktail wieners and jello-mix cake , I had to get updated at some point. So I asked for this one for Christmas, and was not sorry.
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Not only was the book useful, but it inspired my mom to get me another giant cookbook of the same color and shape The Gourmet Cookbook: More Than Recipes. Bittman does have a few problems - his prose can get repetitive by the end of the book, you feel like he's declared everything from fish heads to green tomatoes to be "a revelation". And as some have said, he does lead you astray once in awhile with slightly off proportions, and encourages overdoses of butter regularly, but if you love butter like I do, you'll forgive him. I've had this for a few years Thanks Santa and have done more reading than cooking, my fault, probably a crime.
I've renamed it How to Cook Nothing, but now that my wife is returning to work soon I'll be trying out many more recipes. I expect success. I already know the little food essays that dot the pages and open the chapters are excellent, because the writing is clear, learned, and vivid. Like familiar ingredients that combine to create something scrumptious or surprising, the simple chapt I've had this for a few years Thanks Santa and have done more reading than cooking, my fault, probably a crime.
Like familiar ingredients that combine to create something scrumptious or surprising, the simple chapter titles, such as "Eggs, Breakfast and Dairy" and "Beans", suggest the possibilities without really revealing the full experience, which includes linking arms with ageless tradition, rebelling against our processed foods culture, and demonstrating love for others in a practical, daily ritual.
I want to keep writing but the kids are hungry and I have to cook. Grill cheese sandwiches, page Wish me luck. View all 6 comments. Oct 31, Jennifer rated it really liked it. When I got this book, it was being billed as the new Joy of Cooking maybe it still is , a basic cookbook that covers everything from how to cook to what to cook.
And, for the most part, it is. The directions are simple, Bittman clearly explains everything from the type of pots and pans you should have to the basics of cooking meat. At the same time, I find that I rarely use this book, unless I'm looking for a simple recipe for vegetables or salad dressing or something else that is to serve as a When I got this book, it was being billed as the new Joy of Cooking maybe it still is , a basic cookbook that covers everything from how to cook to what to cook.
At the same time, I find that I rarely use this book, unless I'm looking for a simple recipe for vegetables or salad dressing or something else that is to serve as a complement to the main course I'm making. There's a fine line between simple and bland and unfortunately, Bittman seems to have crossed over to bland for many recipes. The recipes I've tried all turn out just fine, but they're usually in need of much more flavor.
I find it's best to use these recipes as a base and then to add to it, according to your taste. That said, I wouldn't want to do without this book. It's handy to have in the kitchen since it truly does seem to have a recipe for anything I've needed. Except tea sandwiches View all 3 comments.
Nov 29, Mischenko rated it it was amazing. I absolutely love this book. It's never let me down. We keep it on our kitchen cookbook shelf and that's where it's staying! Highly recommend, especially for the younger ones just starting out Aug 25, Steven Peterson rated it really liked it.
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On page xi, Mark Bittman lays things out: "Anyone can cook, and most everyone should. It's a sorry sign that many people consider cooking 'from scratch' an unusual and even rare talent. In fact, cooking is a simple and rewarding craft, one that anyone can learn and even succeed at from the get-go. Then, to the recipes. The first section here focuses as one might guess on appetizers. One of these is stuffed mushrooms, which provides a recipe close to that of my wife's family. I can say that the end result is delicious the key: making sure that it does not get too dry when being cooked.
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The section starts out nicely with a description of how to make stock. You use bouillon cubes? Bittman says page 44 : "As for bouillon cubes, forget it. You're better off with water and a few extra vegetables. He begins by nicely identifying where the different cuts of beef and pork are, and the characteristics of each with beef, from chuck to round, from brisket to loin.
The recipes for beef are straightforward. This is not Emeril Lagasse or Martha Stewart each of whom plays a useful role in providing information on cooking. The recipes are "everyday" stuff. For example, his "Grilled steak, American-style" could not be easier to make. Pork chops? On page and after, he describes how to sautee pork chops eight different ways. With apples or with sherry and garlic or with dried fruit or.
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