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Basic culinary text

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi. I've been looking into purchasing a basic culinary textbook that could help me learn more about cooking properly. I've done research and the two that seem to be used by most culinary programs are Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen or The Professional Chef by the CIA. After looking through both briefly, I think I like the one by the CIA best. I love food and cooking and don't plan on making a career out of it; I just want to learn the proper way good cooking is done. If anyone can offer any opinions on which book would be best for me, I'd appreciate it. Thanks! :roll:
post #2 of 19
Can't argue with the CIA.
post #3 of 19
I bought them both, and think they compliment each other very well. I find that I look up a technique or the ingredients in a recipe in both, and then kind of merge what I like about both into one dish.

But if I had to choose one, I'd go with the CIA.

doc
post #4 of 19
I refer to my old battered and foodstained cia text constantly. That and the larousse.
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My life, my choice.....
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post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I'm bidding on a used copy of the latest edition of the CIA book on eBay. I hope I win it! Beth:D
post #6 of 19
Amazon has the CIA's Professional Chef for $44 (reg. $70) and free shipping, so I wouldn't go too high on a used version.

Good luck.
post #7 of 19

Techniques

"Complete Techniques" by Jaques Pepin, the price is reasonable, and the photos are excellent.
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If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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post #8 of 19
Believe it or not, I happen to like "Essentials of Cooking" by James Peterson, $24.95 U.S. And, call me biased, but my tattered copy of Julia's "The Way to Cook" $60.00 U.S. has has served me very well. However, I do hope you were able to get a copy of the CIA's.
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #9 of 19
Both the CIA's and Gislens books are excellent. Also "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee.
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post #10 of 19
CIA. Solid book.

In regards to Pepin', he has two books "La Methode" (ISBN: 0812908368) and "La Technique" (ISBN: 0812906101). Which do you guys recommend?
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Consume food. Consume drinks. Consume life.
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post #11 of 19
"On Food and Cooking" is an excellent book. I have both the old and new versions and have/am read/reading them cover to cover.

However, it cannot be thought of as a "basic culinary textbook." It is more of a food science reference that can supplement the info in the "how to" books and help solve real world problems.
post #12 of 19
I agree about McGees book. I like to know the "why" about things too. It helps to know how a recipe will turn out.
I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
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I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
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post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's input. I still have 2 more days left on the eBay auction for The Professional Chef and I'm still the highest bidder so hopefully I'll win it. If not, I'll just order it from Amazon. I already purchased On Food and Cooking and am just waiting for it to be delivered. I'll check out the other books mentioned. Thanks again for your help!! Beth :roll:
post #14 of 19

difinitive book

I you have any skills already the book is Larousse Gatronomique

otherwise if just begining and need real hardcore recipes like you said the professional chef or the other book is good

I couldnt believe one day a cook told me at his previous job the new chef had to use a cookbook to make veal stock
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live to eat dont just eat to live
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post #15 of 19

another one

new making of a cook

madelien kamman

excellent science behind this as well as talking about muscle breadowns and such for meat fabrication

best gift i ever got from my ex
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live to eat dont just eat to live
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post #16 of 19
By now it may be too late, and you may have bought the CIA book. :cry: As I said here, that is a book written to be TAUGHT by a chef-instructor; it is not a book for a home cook to read and learn from fully on his/her own. Ditto the Gisslen book (which we used where I went to school, and which I consider the least of all the school texts I've seen). These are books written with the assumption that terms will be explained repeatedly by instructors, and that the instructors will be able to figure out what the students don't know and therefore be able to direct them to the information.

If someone insists on trying to learn from a school text without benefit of an instructor to ask for explanations, my favorite is Sarah Labensky and Alan Hause's On Cooking (and the new companion On Baking). Those books have much clearer explanations of the what, why, and how for people who do not yet know the professional terminology.

However, for bethap's purposes, I think Madeleine Kamman's and Jacques Pepin's books are far better. Or Essentials of Cooking, by James Peterson, or Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham, or even Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything are better choices for the home cook. Why? Because they are specifically written for home cooks who have no one to ask, and who must rely on the book 100%. They are written in the language of the home cook, not that of the professional kitchen. The recipes are written for people who buy their food in supermarkets a pound or two at a time, not by the case from purveyors, and who cook for 1 or 2 or 4 or 6, not in batches for 10 or 20 or more, people who need to make 1 cup of sauce, not 1 gallon.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. :talk: ;)
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #17 of 19
A book I've had for a long time that sits on my shelf and I refer to lots of times is "The Joy of Cooking".

It's a farily simple and straightforward book.
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post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Reply to Suzanne

While I respect everyone's opinions and consider all advice given to me, I couldn't help being offended by your post and the accompanying article. You seem to have assumed quite a bit about me from my post and I will clarify myself to show how your implied assumptions are wrong. First of all, I found what texts are used in culinary schools by researching programs while I was seriously considering culinary school but with thorough soul-searching came to the conclusion that that path is not for me. That being said, I still have great respect and admiration for good food and those that can create it. I feel that cooking is an art form and should be appreciated as such. Yes, I am an amateur cook and do not desire to be a professional. I do not want to work in a restaraunt (done that) or any other professional cooking arena. I'll leave all of that to the pros.

In purchasing The Professional Chef, I don't expect to become a high caliber chef just by reading the text. I know I won't become a high caliber chef in my lifetime, nor do I care if I do. I just want to prepare healthy and delicious meals for my friends and family the best that I can. I know there is no substitute for the knowledge of an experienced professional by your side when needing help. My intentions all along are to use the text as a go-to reference and an accompaniment to my other cookbooks which, by the way, don't include any from a celebrity chef.

In reading your article, it seems you have disdain for those wanting to gain more knowledge of your craft and how to do it correctly. I'm sure there are many people fitting the description of "Jenny". I assure you, I am not. For one, I do know how to turn on the different elements of my kitchen stove. Unlike "Jenny", if I don't know what a certain ingredient or a utensil is, I do know how to obtain that information AND without the use of pictures. :suprise: Are my advanced mathematical studies in chemistry and physics too basic for the math needed in recipe calculations? Just curious. I assure you, an out of focus photo, or God forbid-no photo, wouldn't prevent me from trying a recipe and I do own a dictionary-several in fact, including a French dictionary to look up those oh-so-hard culinary terms-and I do know how to use them.

In conclusion, I'm a fairly intelligent person, even managing to earn degrees in biological sciences and English-wow. I do have enough intelligence and common sense to know the limitations in using a text without the advantage of having a pro chef helping me along the way. I also know how to obtain additional information when necessary. I've found ChefTalk to be a great resource with a lot of nice people willing to help an amateur with a passion for food and cooking. I have no desire to be a big name chef with several restaurants on both coasts and a line of cookware. I just want to enjoy good food with the ones I love.

Suzanne, I appreciate your suggestions and will check out the books you recommended. I know your post was well intended but it really did offend me, mainly the review. I'm sorry if my post seems rude, but it made me feel better writing it. I'm sure there are many people like "Jenny", but don't assume all amateurs are like that. Unfortunately, I didn't win the copy of the CIA's book on eBay, but I fully intend to purchase it and when I do I'll take your advice into consideration.
post #19 of 19
Beth, so maybe you're not "Jenny." I guess a little more info on your background and requirements would have made it a little easier. FWIW I had the 6th edition and never used a single recipe out of that book, nor did I ever use it as a reference book.

Le Cordon Bleu at Home, that's a cool book.
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