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Old 11-07-2006, 03:28 AM   #1
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Cookbook for novice in college


I've just recently had to start cooking for myself. I've gotten basic ingredients and spices but I honestly have to look up how to cook a baked potato, lol. Could someone recommend a beginners book that I could buy that would include american recipes I suppose, southern cooking would also be great.


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Old 11-07-2006, 09:48 AM   #2
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The Fanny Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham (no, not Richie's mother!), which is available in hardcover for 20 bucks at Amazon, or in paperback for around half that. It has every recipe you'd ever want to make, plus great instructional information you will appreciate while making those recipes. It's the best investment you'll ever make in learning how to cook. Trust me, it's the only cookbook I've ever needed for the last 35 years.

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Old 11-07-2006, 10:06 AM   #3
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How about the New Joy of Cooking? I've heard raves about it and it's a great 1st cookbook.

Here's a link to a thread discussing it.

I received my new "JOY OF COOKING" today
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:10 AM   #4
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"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. I like its more contemporary feel.
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jennyema
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. I like its more contemporary feel.
Is that a beginner's book? The executive chef I work for keeps a copy of that around b/c he likes us to use that as a starting point for dishes that we have never attempted before. It's a huge book, at least his copy is... I always assumed it was more for the professional.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:58 AM   #6
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When I want to learn something new I seek out how professionals begin their training. For instance, I buy a lot of college textbooks when there is a field I want to learn something new in.

For cooking, I'm a big fan of "The Professional Chef". It's the primary "Textbook" of The Culinary Institute of America.

Read more about it in this thread if you're interested.
The Professional Chef Book. Is it worth the $$$?

With shipping from Amazon it's $45. Not cheap, but covers pretty much everything in depth with lots of photos too. Requires some basic math skills for converting amounts, because most recipes are designed for 10 servings which is probably more that a college student plans to cook (unless you're having a nice get together).

Nick ~ "Egg whites are good for a lot of things; lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and clogging up radiators." - MacGyver
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:08 AM   #7
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The first thing I would say is that writers have different styles and that is as important to me as the information.

I think Nigella Lawson's book How to Eat is wonderful (I have a complete collection of her books because I like the way she inspires me) because it talks about simple make ahead food that is healthy as well as slightly more adventorous fare. It was one of my student cookbooks, but I think its fair to say it is more eurpoean based than American, lol.

In with some of my more exemplary cookery books is something I got from a supermarket, it was very cheap and was called something like 1001 recipes (its lost the cover now) it had a chapter on world foods, a chapter on vegetarian cooking, it was all vary varied, and in keeping with the price of the book it called for mainly simple and inexpensive ingrediants. It was perhaps the bbest value of all my cook books. My sweet and sour chicken is from there. I rarely look anything up in it now, and yet if I flick through it I always see something that looks useful and not too difficult. My only gripe with it was there were no pictures...but it was simple enough not to really need them.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:15 AM   #8
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For a beginner, Racheal Ray's books would be excellent--quick, easy, real food, no soups, preservatives, confidence building. Covers LOTS of different cuisines, entertaining concepts, etc.
Then the real old JOy--or the new one.
Then Sally Schneider's A New Way to Cook. Innovative and in tune with the need for more healthful treatments of ingredients.
Mark Bittman earned my "contempt" when, at the time of Julia Child's death on an NPR interview he basically dismissed her as a cultural kitchen icon.
But that is just me.
His arrogance shows in the title of his book!!! Guys, don't take this last statement too seriously ;O)
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:32 AM   #9
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The Professional Chef is bit unwieldy for a beginning cook, imo...

I like Julia Child's "The Way to Cook." It is very clearly written, lots of great pictures, and she gives lots of suggestions for substitutions.
Wine is the food that completes the meal.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:52 AM   #10
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I recommend either the Joy of Cooking or How to Cook Everything. Neither assumes any advance knowledge and covers everything from a baked potato to stocks and sauces. If I'm cooking something for the first time or the the first time in a long time I'll read about it in both books first.

"'Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." - Michael Pollan

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