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How to Cook Everything, 10th Anniversary Edition

post #1 of 7
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Most people remember the cookbook that they learned to cook out of. For most it was either their mother's Joy of Cooking or the Betty


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post #2 of 7
I spent most of yesterday in the bookstore trying to decide which cookbook to buy. I did look at this one because I previously read an outstanding review. However, I didn't buy it.
post #3 of 7
I've never liked Bittman's books. i've gone through older editions of this book and wondered how it ever got published. He tends to dumb things down to the point they're no longer what they're supposed to be. And he rarely explains how and what he dumbed down so you can learn from the adaptation process.
post #4 of 7
Glad to hear I'm not the only one, Phil. Never could understand what anybody saw in him.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 7

Cookbooks for foreign visitors

We had four visitors from our laboratory in China recently. After a month in Chicago they had a lot of experience with local fare so I wanted to give them each a cookbook to remember and perhaps attempt some of what they had seen and tasted here. After skimming over my collection af several hundred cookbooks, I gave two of them the new edition of "Joy of Cooking". This seems to me the standard for the American home cook (I learned from this when just a child in the 50's and I think that most American cooks have a copy of this on the shelf) and two others were given "The America's Test kitchen Family Cookbook" which seems to me to give broad coverage with clear instructions on technique which can be helpful to someone who has learned to cook in a different food culture. When we talked about foods the group sometimes had difficulty understanding what fruits and vegetables I was talking about so I called "Johnny's Seeds" in Winslow, Maine and got them each a well illustrated seed catalog which describes and pictures the vegetables common in the US to help them conceptualize the descriptions and recipes in the cookbooks and makes it easier to be sure that they have the correct translation when looking for a Chinese analog. They also enjoyed Mexican (Tex/Mex) as seen in Chicago so I gave them a couple of Mexicn cookbooks to share among the group but I think that any attempt at Mexican style cooking will require major adaptation to use locally available (Guangzhou) Chinese ingredients.
Are there other cookbooks that represent American cooking that would be good gifts for English speaking foreign visitors to take home.
post #6 of 7
I like this book quite a bit. It's not necessarily for chefs though.

One could make the argument that the recipes are "dumbed down" but I find that his focus on using simple techniques with excellent ingredients results in clean flavors that balance well with other elements of a meal.

I've worked with Mark on a couple occasions and find his style relaxed and approachable, yet he combines foods in surprising ways. None of the recipes are fussy-it's just not his style-and clearly not for everyone. His column in the Times is titled "The Minimalist" and that's his focus.

I liked his series where he cooked with well-known restaurant chefs, taking their recipes and simplifying them for the home cook. The chefs he worked with seemed to enjoy his perspective too.

If I want to make an impressive meal, it's not my go-to reference. But if I have hungry people at home and only a few things in the larder, this book inspires the cook to produce something great without a lot of time and fuss.
post #7 of 7
Interesting post, GumGuy. I only wish you had thought to use it as the start of a new thread, cuz you'd probably get more responses that way. Perhaps one of the moderators will move it to do that?

Anyway, there are many books that would meet your needs. Two I would consider are:

The Williams-Sonoma pub, New American Cooking. It's subtitled "the Best of Contemporary Regional Cuisines." I don't know it the recipes actually are the best, but there are some great inisights into regional American cuisine. Oxmore House is the actual producer of the book.

James Peterson's Cooking. Although not, strictly speaking, American cooking, it can be summed up as Western for sure. And the near encyclopedic coverage of ingredients, techniques, and illustrated how-tos (there are something like 1,500 photos) might be perfect for your guests.

For an understanding of American ingredients and how they are used, I would definately take a look at Wiley's brand new, The Visual Food Lover's Guide. This lavishly illustrated book includes info on buying, preparing, and storing more than a thousand types of food.

Hope this helps.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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