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Old 05-25-2014, 03:59 PM   #1
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"Cook It Right" - Different and Useful

I haven't seen this one mentioned, not that I see every post, but a search doesn't turn it up on this site. I just got a copy, and it's a good one.

Cook It Right, by Anne Willian. Perhaps not so much a cookbook as a cook book. The subtitle is, "Achieve Perfection with Every Dish You Cook." That's the goal. Now, I don't buy cookbook, those that are simply collections of recipes. Space on my kitchen book shelf goes to books on technique, food theory, and philosophy. Cook books.

Now, this one has some great recipes and delicious photography. But the meat is how to approach different classes of foods and the causes and fixes of can go wrong, even quick fixes, what to do after something goes wrong. Screwed up and spoiled that nice whole bird, overcooked that steak, or muffins came out like rocks? Quick fixes provide an alternative presentation, a balancing companion dish, or a dish for which the munged dish can become a part that conceals or even makes the mistake a virtue. (No fix for fruitcake. Who's gonna know, anyway?) Very wide range of foods from meats to sorbets. 320 pages. New cooks so often ask what book to begin with. This may be my new first recommendation.

The author founded Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, but this book isn't on the school's web site, and as a 1998 publication is likely out of print, but it is readily available very cheap on Amazon and Half.com and other used book sites. Mine was 75-cents plus postage on Half.

The techniques presented are pretty much about the application of heat or cold or combining ingredients. You won't find how to debone a duck or extract the skeleton of a trout. But there are plenty of books and videos to teach that. If perfection in cooking is avoiding mistakes, this book is believably titled.


"Kitchen duty is awarded only to those of manifest excellence..." - The Master, Dogen
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:50 PM   #2
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that's interesting!

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Old 05-26-2014, 03:52 PM   #3
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Ann Willans has been on so many TV shows. As you said it was not about a recipe, but the reason it was a success. A lot of times she doesn't even cook. Just shows the difference between doing it right and doing it wrong. A really interesting person to listen to.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:45 AM   #4
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I haven't heard of her but I sure will be checking to find out about her.

Your post reminds me a lot of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country TV shows on PBS stations. In the 30 minutes, they prepare two dishes and explain why they chose a certain preparation.

I've learned it isn't just about the recipe but about the way the recipe is prepared.

I've learned a lot over the years from great cooks and have improved my cooking skills. Reality TV Cooking is so worthless.
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