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Old 11-11-2006, 01:31 PM   #21
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The Professional Chef and Larousse Gastronomique. Both very much worth the money.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:52 PM   #22
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Recently got it as a gift and would highly recommend.

Very replete reference material. As an earlier poster mention, it's just as much of a textbook as a recipe book.
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:14 AM   #23
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I bought it at Costco a few months ago, and decided I would work my way through cover to cover. I have gotten through the first 325 pages and am now finally into the cooking instruction and recipes. It's been pretty interesting so far, but I am ready to get into the recipes!
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:32 AM   #24
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You must have the patience of a saint, Sara!! Get to the fun part.
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:58 AM   #25
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I did the same thing, cover to cover. Then I cooked the "example recipes" that are shown step by step in photos which teach the "technique" of the section. Then I went through and made a list of all the recipes I wanted to investigate myself. Still working through that list...

The first actual cooking sections start with stocks, sauces, and soups which is perfect for someone starting off. The stocks are essentials for at least 75% of the recipes. Once you learn the stocks/sauces you can pretty much make anything into an amazing dish.

I have two big 22qt pots of Chicken stock and Veal stock going as I speak. Still have healthy supplies of brown chicken, brown veal, and fish stock in the ice box (along with some veal and chicken demi's).

Just remember that many of the recipes aren't the ultimate versions. They teach excellent techniques with the walk-throughs, but when I try to nail down a dish I use the CIA recipes as a reference to begin my research rather than THE definitive source. Usually ethnic/regional cookbooks that focus entirely on the dish/cuisine you're attempting offer even better recipes and tips for a given interest. But the CIA text is certainly the book I reach for first before digging deeper.
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Old 01-03-2007, 02:57 AM   #26
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It's great book if you already have an understanding of cooking. If you don't, I seriously recommend "Cooking for Dummies". Out of curiosity, I browsed through it at Borders the other day and it's really a good book for a beginning cook.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:08 AM   #27
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I'd disagree that beginning cooks should pass over TPC. It's a textbook as much as a cookbook, and is actually one of the best books to start off with because it teaches cooking techniques, and not just recipes. Afterall, it's what cooks start off with at the CIA (many of whom have little/no experience cooking, some having only been on the service side of the industry).

Beginning cooks should take the time to carefully read the first couple hundred pages of the book which go into detail in regards to sanitation, kitchen tools, safety, ingredient identification, and basic cooking terminology. From there they can begin by making stocks, sauces, and progress through soups, stews, braises, roasting, sautees, steaming, poaching, etc.

I remember the first spark that ignited my passion for cooking. I was six years old and watched a family member drop minced onions into a hot pot (we made American Chop Suey that day). I started watching shows and reading books when I was 8-10yrs old, and bought my first 8" CK with paper route dough. Up until I discovered The Professional Chef I really had no "foundation" to work from... I just had a box of recipes, notes, and some recorded cooking shows of "Great Chefs", Martin Yan, Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and all the other pre-Food.TV programming. I really wish I had discovered TPC sooner.

That said, it does take time to read through an 1100 page book, and like riding a bike, you have to practice at first (with some scrapes and bruises along the way). But if you're seriously interested in learning the fundamentals of almost all western cuisine, it's tough to go wrong with TPC. From strong roots spring great trees.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:26 AM   #28
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I agree about the quality of the Dummie book(s) but find I can't get past the name. Somehow the name makes me feel like I am a dummie. I may be but perhaps too egotistical to admit it by being seen with the book.

The ones I have looked thru are consistently a good place to start learning about an unknown subject .
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:51 AM   #29
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Wow, this thread has been about for a bit.

First, I love the Dummies books and own many. They are great from taking me from little or very basic knowledge to making me feel comfortable about a subject and leading me to understand more advanced books.

They teach me the language, if you will, of a subject and the basic principles I need to know to delve further into the subject. And they do it fast and pleasantly.

Have not purchased the cooking one though. Not that I could not learn something from it, just too many darn books, particularly cookbooks, about here.

Purchased TPC 8th, have the 5th, and I understand what everyone says about the text book utility of of the approach for the non-student.

Wish I could have spent some time learning cooking in an orderly fashion but it was an at the stove training, with no one to guide me. Just a home cook so the tutorials came from books, TV (starting with Julia), advice from others, and the old trial and error.

Certainly not the most efficient way to learn.

Admire and envy anyone who has the discipline and time to start at page one and plow all the way through. I do not.

But I still love the book and like to read it, but usually open to a place and wind up reading here and there.

That is not what the tome was written for, but it all I can handle.
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:42 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
I'd disagree that beginning cooks should pass over TPC. It's a textbook as much as a cookbook, and is actually one of the best books to start off with because it teaches cooking techniques, and not just recipes. Afterall, it's what cooks start off with at the CIA (many of whom have little/no experience cooking, some having only been on the service side of the industry).

Beginning cooks should take the time to carefully read the first couple hundred pages of the book which go into detail in regards to sanitation, kitchen tools, safety, ingredient identification, and basic cooking terminology. From there they can begin by making stocks, sauces, and progress through soups, stews, braises, roasting, sautees, steaming, poaching, etc.

I remember the first spark that ignited my passion for cooking. I was six years old and watched a family member drop minced onions into a hot pot (we made American Chop Suey that day). I started watching shows and reading books when I was 8-10yrs old, and bought my first 8" CK with paper route dough. Up until I discovered The Professional Chef I really had no "foundation" to work from... I just had a box of recipes, notes, and some recorded cooking shows of "Great Chefs", Martin Yan, Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and all the other pre-Food.TV programming. I really wish I had discovered TPC sooner.

That said, it does take time to read through an 1100 page book, and like riding a bike, you have to practice at first (with some scrapes and bruises along the way). But if you're seriously interested in learning the fundamentals of almost all western cuisine, it's tough to go wrong with TPC. From strong roots spring great trees.
Unless people are really interested in HOW things work, they won't like The Professional Chef. The majority of people don't want to know the how and the why, they just want to be able to do something quickly and they could really care less about the process. That's just how people in general are. And not just the average joe. I'm talking about cooks in the industry, people that I speak with or try to teach things to, and former classmates in culinary school. Nick, from your posts anyone can tell that you're interested in the entire process and what makes it work. But remember that you are the exception and not the rule.
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