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Old 05-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #1
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If I wanted to teach myself...

the whys and hows of cooking, what would be a good starter reference or two?

I'm interested in how different seasonings and flavors are combined and why.

Thanks!

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Old 05-11-2008, 05:44 PM   #2
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Usually, flavours are combined because the person eating them likes the way they taste.

If you want to get familiar with usual flavour combinations, just start reading cookbooks. I mean really reading them, complete recipes, methods, side notes, etc. Avoid tv celebrity cookbooks as teaching/learning tools. Find books that center on one topic, like meat, or soups, or fish. They will concentrate in specific areas instead of jumping all over the menu.
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Old 05-11-2008, 07:00 PM   #3
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The older Betty Crocker cookbooks have a nice spice guide included.
It tells which spices work good with which foods. It's not complete but I did use
it a lot when I first started cooking.
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Old 05-11-2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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thanks for the tips. I recently bought a new grill, so I think I'll start with meats.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:34 PM   #5
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Lightbulb 2 Basics

#2 is right on. 2 good ones, classics really might be what you're looking for: Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French cooking and (if you are really serious & can handle comprehensive detail & prose - I have the book but fall a little short on the former ...) Encyclopedia Larousse Gastromonique.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:43 PM   #6
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Betty Crocker IS good. Also, The Joy of Cooking.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugger View Post
#2 is right on. 2 good ones, classics really might be what you're looking for: Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French cooking and (if you are really serious & can handle comprehensive detail & prose - I have the book but fall a little short on the former ...) Encyclopedia Larousse Gastromonique.
IMO Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a masterful book indeed, but is not in any way a "starter" book, IMO. And Larousse is an encyclopedia. ANd a large one at that. Great book but IMO not what vikubz is looking for.

What you are looking for in terms of the whys/hows of cooking might be "Cookwise" by Shirley Corriher. It's a classic and helpful for beginner cooks as well as seasoned vets.

Amazon.com: Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed: Shirley Corriher: Books

Betty Crocker and Joy are good books as well, but they are more about recipes and less about the science/reference book.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:23 PM   #8
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This is a really good book and fun to read: I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking, by Alton Brown of "Good Eats" on the Food Network.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:25 PM   #9
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Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking - The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Revised Edition) is hard to beat if you want a book that gets into the basic raw science of foods and flavors.

Shirley Corriher's Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed is a great "applied sciences" book.

If I could only have one - it would be McGee (certainly not a recipe book) ... but if you're really serious I would get both.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:55 PM   #10
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James Beard's cookbooks are wonderful reading - he has a basic cookbook that is very helpful. I also vote for The Joy of Cooking as the best basic, because it explains what all the ingredients are as well as offering recipes.
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