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Culinary books

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am a home cook that's been told many times to go into business of my own. I would day that cooking is my passion. I love cooking different cuisines. I cooked for my sister's 25th wedding anniversary party with about 75 guests and everyone loved the food.  I would like to really learn the proper techniques to anything and everything that a culinary student might learn in a typical culinary school but I cannot afford to go to ANY culinary school. Having said that, I would still want to learn and I thought that by reading all about it, reading the same books that a culinary student would read and learn from in school would be a start.  I am interested in starting a catering business so I really want to learn the right way without investing a lot of money and time that I don't have. If I can do it with text books and any free internet-based cooking classes that I can find I would be greatful!!

post #2 of 6

In my opinion, most culinary textbooks are poor unless you have the class time to back them up. The Professional Chef from the CIA for example, is a poor cookbook for home learning. Lots of do this, that way, without much explanation and the equipment and sizes of things doesn't translate well to a home cook in many cases. 

 

What I would look at:

 

 The Chef's Art: Secrets of Four-Star Cooking at Home He's written a number of cooking texts, but this one is for the home cook and it shows when you read it. Much better for at home learning and a book that impressed me. 

 

 Cooking  or his 

 

 Essentials of Cooking  This is an older book that to my understanding is updated into the book above.  I've read this one. It's subtle. It's the kind of book that a learning cook should go back through every 3-6 months as you'll get more out of it with your gained experience in between time with the book.  

 

 Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques  is another updated classic. Great book and well worth it. Once you understand the technique behind the recipe, you are freed in your cooking to innovate and create successfully. 

 

The exception to the rule of skipping cooking text books is: 

 On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen  Technical and about what food is and happens to it while cooking. Not much of a cookbook but handy for understanding cooking.  

 

As to why I think the cooking texts are poor for home cooks, 

 The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America   explains his time in an accelerated year at the CIA. Comparing what I learned from his discussions of the courses compared against the textbooks used there, it was night and day.  The books really only work with support from the teachers and filling out the content of the book. I've read most of the CIA textbooks (10 years ago or so) This was better, for me at least.

 

Ruhlman's Ratio

 Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking 

is also a useful cookbook for many home cooks. It sets up many dishes as based on a common ratio of ingredients. This helps you understand how some dishes are related to other dishes. Or when you are looking at a new cookbook, you can develop a feel for if the recipes are on track or off base. 

 

America's test Kitchen recently released two cookbooks that I think would be good for learning cooking as well. I've not read these, only thumbed through them at the book store. 

 The America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook 

 

They have a "Baking School" book too, but I can't pull it up on Amazon. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Wow, great start, lots of resources for reading.  Thank you, phatch, for your recommendations!!

post #4 of 6

I concur with most of those suggestions.  I don't like the America's Test Kitchen though -- too fussy.

 

For baking here is my new favorite:

 

http://www.sfbi.com/baking-supplies/books

 

Also, Bernard Clayton had bread and pastry baking books that are very well rounded.

post #5 of 6

to that, I would add ratio by michael ruhlmann. its not about technique but about ratio's in recipes so you can learn to make basic recipes and then add to that.

like, 1, 2, 3 cookie that is 1 part sugar 2 parts butter 3 parts flour..... same goes for egg based sauces, different doughs, mayo, batters..... really has freed me in the kitchen and got me experimenting.

post #6 of 6

+1 for Ruhlman's  Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.  His 3:2:1 ratio for tarte crust landed me in the ballpark and I've been hitting homeruns with my crusts since then.  However I blind-bake my tarte crust for 45 minutes at 375F in the upper third of my oven in order to achieve a flakey bottom on my crust.  FLAKEY BOTTOM.

 

You'll find that in the 2003 copy of  The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook  on page 390, they've stated that they've forgotten pies left in the oven for 2 hours, only to find the crust beautifully browned and the floor of the crust flakey and not soggy.  Two hours.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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