If you ask most cooks to run down a short list of their favorite cooking magazines, chances are you would hear â€œFine Cookingâ€ more than a few times. I am no exception to that statement. For many years I referenced Chef Greg Atkinson's Thanksgiving meal from Issue #35 as my instruction manual for getting through the holiday year after year. Now, after 10 years of publishing Fine Cooking the magazine, the editors have brought forth their first cookbook, Cooking New American.
Fine Cooking has made a living writing â€œFor People Who Love to Cookâ€. In my experience I have always found their recipes to produce solid and reliable results. This book is no exception. Can you find a cookbook that would be considered finer cuisine, absolutely. But this book is aimed at the home cook that wants simpler and uncomplicated food they can reproduce nightly, without comprising taste. It is 220 pages of a very nice selection and variety of impressive looking and tasting meals.
The one thing I did find a little odd about the book was the angle it tries to take as a â€œtechniqueâ€ book. The book is described in the introduction as a collection of recipes and â€œtricks and techniques that make a difference between a good dish and a great one.â€ I found the book as a technique book to be a little weak. At times the techniques shown were useful and appropriate, like â€œBraiseâ€, Roastâ€ and â€œSautéâ€ but at other times they seemed a little silly, like â€œAddâ€, â€œScatterâ€, â€œSwirlâ€, and â€œFreezeâ€. As an experienced cook I found it hard to understand why the technique of scatter or swirl would make the difference between a good or great dish. Or why scatter is considered a technique or a tip at all. As a technique book I found it to be formatted for a young inexperienced cook, but as a recipe book I found the dishes to be for the more experienced home cook.
In summary, if you have moderate cooking experience and are buying this book for recipes you can easily make at home, then it is a nice book. If you are buying it to learn more about cooking instruction, I think there are better choices. If you are a novice or young cook, this book would be a good place to start. But regardless of what I think, this book is definitely in line with what Fine Cooking Magazine has been doing for many years, writing â€œFor People Who Love to Cookâ€.