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Old 07-16-2007, 11:25 PM   #1
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Getting Started - What Books

When it comes to cooking, I always rely on my mom or a friend to make me my meal. I know it sounds pathetic, but sooner or later I am going to have to start to learn how to cook myself.

So for starting off from the complete basics, does anyone have any books that teach the art of cooking? I am not talking about some fancy cook book full or recipes - I mean something that teaches the fundamental building blocks of cooking.

Any suggestions.

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Old 07-16-2007, 11:38 PM   #2
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People will have a ton of suggestions for you. My suggestion is to go to a big bookstore and gather up some cookbooks. Look at them and see if one suits your needs and fits your skill level. I STILL love a cookbook with pictures. It always helps to see what the finished product looks like and it makes it more within reach when I can see it.

Basically, all you have to do, is just pick a recipe and follow the directions. But, like I said, the book with the recipes that suit your skill level will be used the most. Before you know it you'll be altering one recipe and merging it with another and life will never be the same!
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:33 AM   #3
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Check your local bookstore for James Peterson's "Essentials Of Cooking". It is a book filled with techniques to do just about anything. Everything from peeling veggies to making chicken stock. It may be a bit overwhelming for a complete beginner but if you use it as a reference book along with a good recipie book, it'll be a great asset. I suggest trying to bowse through it before buying to see if it seems appropriate to you.

Amazon.com: Essentials of Cooking: Books: James Peterson


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Old 07-17-2007, 09:13 AM   #4
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I "started" on Southern Living's ultimate cookbook. Any Southern Living book is good! It is very step by step and just gets you started. For me, the dishes turned out great so it built my confidence to prepare more complicated dishes later on. I also think the books by Ina Garten, the Barefood Contessa, can show a beginner how to make a fantastic meal.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:21 AM   #5
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Don't forget to make use of the good old public library! They often have a good selection of cook books as well as magazines. I borrowed "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" last year - I had time to really go through it and liked it so much I bought it. Also, ask your mom to write out a few of the things that she makes that are your faves.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:27 AM   #6
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I second what kitchenelf says, matsco. I recently had the opportunity to review a copy of "The Taste of Home Cookbook" and was very impressed with it. It was organized very well and had wonderful photos and photo-explanations. I would definitely give it to a new bride or to someone beginning in the kitchen. See if any of your area book stores have it so you can thumb through it and get an idea of what I'm talking about.
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:33 AM   #7
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When I have the opportunity to gift a beginning cook with their first book, my choice is always Julia Child's "the Way to Cook." It's very basic, and very patient in its instruction. She anticipates questions, and filled the book with hundreds of instructional photos so you can see the steps in a recipe.

She takes you through basic recipes step by step and then gives you suggestions for substitutions to make the same dish different next time.

All the new cooks I've given it to love it, and even years later, still find help and comfort between the covers of "The Way to Cook."

YOu should be able to check it out at your public library before you purchase... this or any other book of this type.

and good luck!~ There are lots of folks right here on DC who will be happy to give you the benefit of their experience. That's what we're here for!
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:43 AM   #8
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The GoodHouse Keeping Illustrated CookBook is a great starter book.It has step by step illustrations and a color photo of the dishes in the front of book.Nothing in it is really complicated also shows different cuts of meat etc.
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:59 AM   #9
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I DEFINITELY & STRONGLY second ChefJune's recommendation of Julia Child's The Way To Cook. It's a fabulous text full of basic "building block" recipes without any froufrou. My copy is virtually falling apart I use it so often, & I've been cooking for about 35 years now.

In fact, as basic as it is, Julia's recipe for Roast Goose in this book has been our Xmas dinner standard for as many years as the book has been out!! Easy, delicious, & makes you look like a "magic chef" - lol!!!
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:33 AM   #10
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While I don't have a specific book/author to suggest I totally agree on the recommendation of going to the library. Great place to start and try a variety of books. Pick several that look good to you and start reading and experimenting. Have fun.
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