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Help me choose

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am considering re-joining the Good Cook bookclub and it sounds like the Professional Chef 7th Edition is a must [counts as two choices] but please help me decide between some of my other choices. I can choose up to 3 more.

In no particular order:

think like a chef (Tom Coicchio)
The All New Joy of Cooking
How to Bake (Nick Malgieri)
Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking
How to Cook Everything (Mark Bittman)
Essentials of Cooking (James Peterson)

and I've always rather wanted the Cake Bible, but don't suppose I would use that very much as a diabetic.
post #2 of 12
What a dilemma Nancy! It’s hard to make up your mind when facing so many choices. I have a few of the books you mentioned.

I like The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking. The book is divided into menu for each season, I’m not sure I like this format but the recipes do work and some are very elegant, like the tomato tart and others will make you happy on a Monday evening. Plus once you understand how they cut down fat and calories you can apply the same principles to your own recipes.

I have to mention the pastry recipe made with cottage cheese. I use it, minus the sugar, for my onion tart or quiche. This dough is very crisp even after the tart has been in the fridge for three days. It makes a nice contrast to the moistness of the onion or leeks.

How to Bake is a book you can trust. It sounds simple enough but you can not say that of every cookbook. Malgieri will talk you through the different kinds of dough from muffins to puff pastry. He talks about techniques and offers hints. I do love the way he pipes his meringue top on tarts.

I do have Think Like A Chef, I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.


P.S. Have you consider Alfred Portale’s Twelve Season Cookbook? There are similarities between Portale & Colicchio’s Think Like A Chef. Between the two I would choose Portale’s book.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #3 of 12
Nancy,

Essentials of Cooking’s will be helpful providing you do not have another techniques book like Le Cordon Bleu’s Complete Cooking Techniques. What areas of cooking are you interested in ?

When I joined the club I choose books based on my interest, obviously, and the price. Knowing I would have to buy a number of books I made the list so the most expensive books would be free. I also went to the book store to look some over and I read cookbook critics on the net. Then I made my choices. What can I say I’m maniac when it comes to cookbooks. ;)

I haven’t used Alfred Portale’s book I just got it last week. I can’t comment on the recipes except to say they look good. It might not be for a Monday night but they don’t require a whole day in the kitchen either. The premise of the book is that each month brings its produces and we should take advantages of them when they are at their best. This will be a book I’ll use often.

Colicchio really like butter, you’ll see lots of it in the first chapter of Think Like A Chef. The first part is devoted to techniques, roasting, braising, blanching, stock making and sauce making. You may well be familiar with those techniques but continue reading the rest of the book is fascinating. Colicchio walks you through his thought process and how he creates different dish. You really get into his mind as he build his menu and explain his philosophy of cooking. He really like what he calls trilogies, groups of flavours i.e. ingredients who are particularly suited for each other. The recipes he creates for each trilogy is an eye opener, no doubt it will inspire you to create your own trilogy, based on your favourite ingredients.

One book I really like is Simple To Spectacular by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman. They build on one ingredients starting with a very simple recipe and built up the complexity of the recipe and sometime the cost of it too. They give you Keys To Success for each sections and advice for each recipes. I would choose this book over How to Cook Everything, but that’s just me.

One last thing, Bugialli On Pasta was another of my choices. Every pasta recipe you ever dreamed of will be in this book. Sauces, home-made pasta, what sauce to use with what shape. You will find all the answers in this book. You’ll find recipe made in under 15 minutes and other that need to simmer for hours. Provide you like pasta you’ll love this book.

Ok I better stop now I could go on forever when it comes to cookbooks. :D
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Iza. You are making my choice a little easier...I had not really considered Portale's book as the description didn't sound that interesting. Glad to hear that it is a good resource. Perhaps I should add that I am not looking so much for new recipes as I am looking for books with tools and techniques which will help make me a better cook.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow Iza! I'm not narrowing down, I lusting after more books!

I'm interested in a lot of different areas. I will never make puff pastry, but most other areas are open season. I try to cook healthy but with flavor. I've got a few good books, but I pared down my books when I went veg a number of years ago. I'm just building up new books again. Have Baking with Julia, Jaques and Julia, and Cookwise, which are all pretty good on technique. Have a few good recipe books like Culinary Institute and a few fun books like Juniors and Emeril's. Basically, I really like to read cookbooks.

Thanks again for your input. You really are helping me weigh the options. You are such a help.
post #6 of 12
What's wrong with puff pastry, Nancya?

You are making me soooooo sad... :(
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
post #7 of 12
If you like to read cookbooks Nancy definitely get Simple To Spectacular and Alfred Portale’s 12 Seasons. Both are available through the club, if you need their code let me know.

On pastry you definitely should get In The Sweet Kitchen. The first part, over 300 pages I think, is a discussion of ingredients and their role. The best reference on dessert and pastry.


Let me know what books you’re getting.

[ September 20, 2001: Message edited by: Iza ]
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Kimmie, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. I make a horrid pie crust and it is hard to work up the motivation to try again. Every time I attempt croissants, I end up with hard little dinner rolls. I just know that puff pastry wouldn't be a good idea. I know my limitations. :D

Iza, are you changing your vote on the Salute to Healthy Cooking? Can I order books that aren't in this catalog? The Sweet Kitchen is not there but I could always order it later.

I am so indecisive. I've got the Jeopardy music playing in my head. Thanks again for your help. :)
post #9 of 12
You’re just like me Nancy, agonising over what books to get. What you need is not a wish list but a priority list.
;) Isn’t it enjoyable though?

Healthy Cooking is a good choice Nancy. It's a good book, it will inspire you to have a healthier diet and most recipes can be done fairly quickly. It's just that it doesn't have the excitement of 12 Seasons and Simple To Spectacular.

You can't order In The Sweet Kitchen yet since they don't offer it at this point. You just have to wait and be patient. ;) Trust me it will be worth the wait.

About pie dough, you should try a French crust recipe like pâte sucrée. It’s a lot easier to work with than a shortening recipe and more forgiving. If you don’t want to roll it you can grate it in your pie plate. This works only for a one crust pie obviously. Don’t give up already, I used to be the worse pie maker until I discovered French pie crust. The part butter and shortening recipe in Baking With Julia also works very well.


Ok enough said. Have you made up your mind yet?
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #10 of 12
Nancy,
I have only one of the books you listed in your first post. "How to Cook Everything". It's a good book, but, if you want more technique than recipe I would choose a different one. It has alot of good basic info. like how to choose and store produce and some of the recipes are interchangeable. Let us know what you decide. :D
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking. I'm thinking. I will make a commitment by Monday. Afterall, I can always order some of them later.

post #12 of 12
Remember Nancy, it will take four to six weeks for you to get those books. You might need to go to the bookstore during this time or you'll have book withdrawal symptoms.
;)
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
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