I am a male in my 50''s. I got tuned into these books because there was a copy of "100 Recipes" by America''s Test Kitchen at a B & N store that had been abused and they were offering it for sale for $5. I came home and read it and what an eye opener it was. I simply have...
I am a male in my 50''s. I got tuned into these books because there was a copy of "100 Recipes" by America''s Test Kitchen at a B & N store that had been abused and they were offering it for sale for $5. I came home and read it and what an eye opener it was. I simply have never seen a cookbook that got down to basics in such a way that I could understand. I have known how to cook some things for years, but I rarely cooked, and there was nothing special about my cooking. America''s Test Kitchen has changed all that.
"Cooking School" has further enhanced my interest in cooking enormously. It TEACHES. In each chapter, after you read and learn, there are an array of recipes that will incorporate what you just read about. I cannot emphasize enough how much my knowledge of how to cook has skyrocketed after incorporating the concepts it describes. And somehow, unlike any book I have ever read about how to cook, the concepts STICK. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, meats, birds, vegetables, soups, sautees, pie crusts.
I am now getting a reputation among friends as an excellent cook. People at work are coming to me to ask questions about what they want to cook at their own houses. Women have begun asking if they can come to my house for an afternoon to make and eat a dish (not a date, but better than a date because it can be so casual). I have this huge kitchen with two ovens that has been underutilized for the 9 years I have lived here and I am just beginning to see its potential. I bought a huge (4 foot by 2 foot) cutting board that makes so much cutting and chopping and mixing very easy.
The book has MEGA pictures, it describes in detail the best tools to buy to outfit your kitchen and pays attention to keeping the costs down if you want to. In fact, it pays a lot of attention to budget, which I love. It teaches about terminology, methodology, and each chapter goes into detail about the likeliest places where cooks make mistakes, so you can place extra attention on those areas. There is one little two page section called "How to make food taste better" that is worth the price of the entire book.
I have a roommate who has been in the food service industry for his whole life. He has enormous stores of knowledge in his head. He''s also very particular about what he likes--nothing fancy, exotic, or non-mainstream. He laughs as I talk about insights I am gaining as I learn from this book, and says dismissing phrases like, "everybody knows that." However, I see him glance through this book, always when he thinks I am not looking, and he reads the little sidebar sections that are so informative. He''s broadening his horizons when he tastes some of the more exotic food I am cranking out. And I know for a fact that he has incorporated at least one idea straight out of this book into the recipes his restaurant makes. He wouldn''t admit it, but he is learning, too. And now I find him coming into the kitchen when I am cooking and asking lots of questions about why I am doing something that way as opposed to another way. Because of the book, I can answer, because America''s Test Kitchen gives the reader the reasons why. This might not seem remarkable until I tell you that he is a lifetime veteran of cooking and I have only been pursuing cooking for about 4 months. I am nowhere near as good as he is but I am noticing the respect I am starting to get in my kitchen.
For Thanksgiving, less than a week ago, we both cooked up a feast for about ten people entirely from scratch. He did the main courses, meats, vegetables, stuffings, and potatoes. I did the breads (2 kinds), pies (3 kinds), cakes (2 kinds). Just four months ago, I guarantee there was no way I would take on such a task because it would have been just too intimidating. But thanks to this book, and a little diligence making an effort to learn, my part of this meal was excellent, and didn''t frighten me at all. I knew exactly what I was doing. And even better--I had FUN.
Wanna learn about cooking even if you know nothing? Buy this book. I give it my highest recommendation.