I hated the bank writing too. At one point, I belonged to a consulting firm who kept trying to sell me back to the same bank. I kept turning down the job...
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- itemHow To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Foodtagged by System, 2/7/11
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"Must Have" Cookbooks? - Page 2
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I knew about it before hand. I'd seen the job postings. There's even a national professional organization, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Technical_Communication
An entire industry I knew nothing about. Interesting
Interesting, Phil, that your first technical writing job was in the banking industry. So was mine. One of the worst experiences of my life!
This guy had written a book: Mini- and Micro-Computers In The Banking Environment. Shows you how far back we're talking. The editor who hired me hands me the manuscript, with no guidelines of any kind, and goes off on vacation.
Literally every time the guy referred to the equipment he used the term "mini- and micro-computers in the banking environment." And he referred to it a lot. Never said "small computers," or "the equipment," or even just "computers." Mini- and micro-computers in the banking environment every damn time. Very boring. And all my attempts to make it more interesting were overturned by the editor once she came back.
Suffice to say, I've never again written anything for the banking industry.
I imagine being a food writer is a lot of fun. And, you are so knowledgeable on the subject. You have been a great source of assistance to me on this forum. Thank you
Shssssh, MissyJean. We never admit that it's fun, or they come and take the money back.
Always reminds me of General Joe Engels story about growing up to first become a pilot, then a test pilot, and finally an astronaut. Finishes up by saying, "and they did. They put me in a rocket ship and sent it out into space. And you know what, they still paid me." He looks around conspiratorally and says, "Don't tell anyone, but I'd have paid them!"
+1 on dissing Rose's cookbooks....recipes didn't work for me
In the Sweet Kitchen b Regan Daley or any of Maida Heatter's books are wonderful.
I threw out Bittman's and the new Joy of Cooking... I only give and use older versions.
Joy has got to be the most used book in my library. Everything else is piecemealed for specific recipes...ie John Folse's biegnets, Paul Prudhomme's Mama's rolls,
Wolfgang Puck's Caramel, Amaretti from Julia Child's baking book, Lavosh from an old cuisinart magazine, Mayo from Prudhomme, Lemon curd from a newspaper 30 years ago, etc....
99% of the time I rely on the techniques gleaned from years of reading and cooking from many of the cookbooks you list....At some point you learn what flavor profiles you enjoy, how to prep and cook food....needing recipes occasionally to remind you proportions and in some cases ingredients. When you work with chefs they just list off ingredients, give shorthand directions and assume you know when it's done.
That's one of my favorite inside jokes with a restauranter-farmer friend, " cook until done".
I was really disappointed when i read Bittman's How to Cook Everything. The only, ONLY thing i got from it is to fry something by first dipping in yoghurt and then flour, which he mentions for chicken pieces but it's wonderful for anything.
I call the book "How to cook everything you already know how to cook". I don;t mean that in a snobby way, after all after some 45 years of cooking and researching recipes I do know how to cook most of the usual things, it's just a result of many years cooking. However, it was a disappointment in my expectations, because i expected to learn to cook all kinds of new things. Everything, in fact. Also when someone calls their book "how to cook everything" I don't expect him to say "well, i really don't much like baking and you don't really need to bake much so here are just a couple of recipes".
As for Cook's Illustrated Baking, I have mixed feelings. Some stuff is great and some stuff is not. I don;t think mine came out wrong but i think the way they intended it was not great. But others are really great, no question. I do add more salt in the case of that cookbook, it seems the things are undersalted to my taste.
However some things are just WAY too fussy. I was persuaded by my daughter to try to use their recipe for french toast (recipe for french toast? weird already, but it was indeed a recipe). This was from their american family cookbook i thin, not Baking and i don;t remember what i made from Baking that i wasn;t happy with but it's the same people. For me french toast is: you mix egg and a little milk and some salt. You cut some bread and dip them in this eggy stuff. Heat a frying pan - add some butter, let it foam and then cook the bread. (and that's the complicated complete version of the recipe.) But this was full of stuff , flour, sugar, it was very complicated too, and dirtied many objects in the kitchen (not a problem in a test kitchen, but we have no one cleaning up after us, and my daughter has no dishwasher). And in the end, i really didn;t like it. Too sweet, too much. Not in the cookbook but in the magazine was a recipe for banana bread - put the bananas in a microwave and extract the juice. Extract the JUICE??!!?? I make banana bread and it really tastes of bananas but i don;t have to go doing acrobatics to get it. It seems like the recipe of someone who has nothing better to do.
I find Rose's recipes are perfectly explained and come out very well. Not sure if her science is correct since i'm ignorant of that, but her way of writing is certainly very confidence-inspiring. (I made my daughters 6 layer 3 tiered chocolate fudge wedding cake with white chocolate cream cheese crumb coat under the home made fondant, and raspberry dark chocolate ganache between the layers. I felt the book guided me completely and it came out beautifully, praised by everyone as the best wedding cake they ever ate, and some said the best CAKE they ever ate. All done in 95 degree heat without air conditioning, with some added suggestions from rose herself on her website. In fact, every cake i;ve tried has come out well, though I don;t like all the cakes that she has (you can take genoise and use it to line the rubbish bin, but that's not her fault, that's just genoise, and just my taste). Some were wonderful surprises, like the cordon rose banana cake with chocolate ganache. And those elaborate caged cakes, the way she writes it looks like i could probably pull them off if i followed the recipe.
I find however, that she is too fussy sometimes about ingredients. In one of her bread recipes (bread i say!) she has something like two cups plus one tablespoon flour. Now really, come on. I think that level of precision does put people off and bread making is SO forgiving. So much room for error.
And if i ever do write a cookbook, i know what the first criticism will be. TOO VERBOSE. sorry guys.
I was really disappointed when i read Bittman's How to Cook Everything.
There are some of us here, Siduri, who find anything Bittman writes to be disappointing.
He's definately a legend in his own mind. However, it's not your years of experience that's at fault. Unless you've been living under a culinary rock your entirely life, Bittman doesn't teach you how to cook anything, let alone everything. And he does it in a long-winded, rather boring manner. About the only cookbook I know that's worse than How To Cook Everything it's his sequel, How To Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Surely you're not gonna just let us hang, ChefBoyarG. Why are those particular titles on your must-have list?
Nose To Tail Eating because it's such a simple approach to much neglected foods. I'm not saying I would eat everything he provides a recipe for (I have no interest in eating fish semen), but he does make a strong case for most of those iggly squiggly bits. I enjoy the humorous and light hearted descriptions of the dishes as well.
Momofuku, because it is a little bit of insight into the man known as David Chang and his cuisine.
The French Laundry Cookbook for inspiration and motivation.
Dessert Fourplay for the same reason as the French Laundry Cookbook but well, for dessert reference.
The Joy of Cooking because it seems to contain a recipe for nearly everything in creation. And then 2 or three spins on that particular recipe.
Italian Blend - http://www.food.com/recipe/emerils-italian-blend-161435
Italian Blend - http://www.food.com/recipe/emerils-italian-blend-161435
FWIW, essence is a good blend (not as much a fan of the Italian blend). However, I usually add 1 tbsp of garlic salt and increase the cayenne to 1.5 tbsp. I like food with a little more salt and a little more spice.
I don't want to get off topic too much, so I will say that I got a copy of Larousse Gastronomique off of eBay a couple of days ago for cheap. Can't wait to get it in and dive in. Also found my old copy of Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen in a box from when I moved a few months ago. I had forgotten that I had it. Louisiana Kitchen has to be one of the greatest regional American cookbooks ever. Not that I have a huge amount of experience with regional American cookbooks, but this particular book is an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to Cajun and Creole food. I would suggest everyone check it out if they haven't already.
Anyone interested in Louisiana cuisine should also check out Cajun and Creole Cooking with Miss Edie & The Colonel. Not so much for the recipes, which tend to be samee-same and often boring, but for the extensive historical and cultural background that makes these cuisines what they are, and the approach they take to cookery.
How many cookbooks have you seen, for instance, which recognize that cajun and creole are not the same, and define the differences? This one does.
Not many. And that is frustrating. I'll have to find this one.
Does anyone know of a Cook book that teaches basic cooking techniques?
From things like sauteing and which ingredients are used for basic dishes.
So the Joy of Cooking, is it just a recipe book?
I am mostly looking for a book that teaches cooking techniques.
-- Julia Child, June 2004
I guess I will be purchasing the Joy of Cooking later on. Thanks!
The Bread Bible by Rose Beranbaum
La Cuisine by Raymond Oliver
And Time/Life cookbooks: Cooking of the Viennese Empire and The Cooking of Spain and Portugal as I happen to just like their recipes.
Best and I'm a foodie. I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.
I always hated joy of cooking. I use it only for a couple of things.
The books I keep going back to are:
Joy of Cooking - for all the reasons stated earlier
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood - recipes are good, instructions are clear and the pictures are very helpful
Vij's at Home by Meeru Dhalwala & Vikram Vij. They are a married couple who run two restaurants (Vij's & Rangoli) in the Greater Vancouver area .
I got this book last Christmas and have made several recipes from this book and everyone was tasty. The recipes range from easy (Steamed Marinated Halibut) to a little more advance (Celery Root and Bulgur Wheat Koftas), but none of these recipes should be beyond a home cook.
I must be in the minority, but I use Bittman's How to cook everything a couple time a week. It's losing its cover and covered in every cooking liquid out ther from use. I love it for its practical uses, similar to the Joy of Cooking which I also use.
I also have Keller French Laundry and Ad Hoc. These are more for inspiration, allthough Ad Hoc is a bit more approachable.
I have the CIA proffessional chef book as a reference tool as well.
But I have to say, I do love my Good Eats, early years and middle years.
My mantra is "Keller inspires me, But Alton taught me how to cook".
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