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-   -   Suggestions for beginner cooking books or DVD's etc. (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f87/suggestions-for-beginner-cooking-books-or-dvds-etc-20421.html)

gary b 03-18-2006 02:43 PM

Suggestions for beginner cooking books or DVD's etc.
Hi everyone,

I'm an amateur-home cook looking to improve my skills. I need a cookbook not of recipes but, of things like: correct use of herbs and spices, sauces and gravies: how to make and where to use them, best cooking techniques for various cuts of meat, etc. etc. Most of my cooking involves following recipes and techniques I learned from someone else, which is easy enough to do usually. But, I run into trouble when I try to create something new or change someones recipe a little. I have a certain taste in my mind I'm trying to get to, but sometimes the food goes in the wrong direction. I thought if I had a stronger mastery of basic-intermediate skills my cooking would go to a higher level. Am I thinking right or should I continue to mainly follow other peoples recipes?
thanks, Gary

Claire 03-20-2006 03:33 PM

Gary, you cannot go wrong with buying regional, usually comb-bound cookbooks by local charities. They will have tried-and-true recipes that cater to local tastes, and are cheap as well.

Over all, though, Joy of Cooking is king. Every step of the way is explained, and the recipes vary from very beginner to over-the-top gourmet, to ethnic recipes from all over the world. But mainly they will have instructions for every basic skill you will ever need. A good glossary of terms. You just cannot beat this if you're buying only one cookbook.

Toots 03-20-2006 04:06 PM

When I was 12 years old, I received my very first cookbook, the Betty Crocker cookbook. 25 years later and I'm still using it.

I also just picked up Rick & Lanies Excellent Kitchen Adventures by Rick Bayless and its great. Normally, a Rick Bayless recipe will make you pull your hair out, but these recipes are created by Rick and his daughter with very easy step by step notes and tips. They have a great "do this" list before you even start the recipe.

Gary, check out your local library. They have some many wonderful cookbooks. You can 'test drive' one before you buy it.

GB 03-20-2006 04:09 PM

Check out Alton Browns books. they are not cookbooks although they do contain a small handful of recipes to help illustrate points. The books talk about the "why" of cooking. Very informative stuff!

jennyema 03-20-2006 04:11 PM

"The Best Recipe" and the "New Best Recipe" are excellent, basic books with foolproof recipes for a very wide range of things.

The Joy of Cooking is very good, too.

So is "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman

GB 03-20-2006 04:17 PM

Another good book that again is not a cookbook, but more about food science and the "why" of cooking is
What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained by Robert L. Wolke. It is much heavier on the science than Alton Browns books, but it is an amazing book.

As far as cookbooks, I agree with what jenny wrote about How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. That is an excellent all purpose cookbook and he does explain a lot.

CharlieD 03-20-2006 04:22 PM


Originally Posted by gary b
... my cooking involves following recipes and techniques I learned from someone else, which is easy enough to do ...

I don't know, I've been cooking for a while and am actually can cook quite well, but following somebody elses recipe has never been easy, it is a hardest thing to do. I think you'll be okay as you cook more, with time yo will learn to do your own things, but for the beginer you have a wonderfull skill, one I am jellous about. Good luck.

mudbug 03-20-2006 04:44 PM

[quote=jennyemaSo is "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman[/quote]

I agree with everyone's recommendations, but this one identified by Jenny is extra-special good.

Chef_Jimmy 03-20-2006 04:55 PM

Joy of cooking is great, it provides the basic mostly classic recipes so you can improve on them, I make my own recipes, but if something is new and i don't want a chef's version, the JOY is great for unadulterated recipes and info.

jpmcgrew 03-20-2006 05:47 PM

:smile: The Good House Keeping Illustrated Cook Book is real good
They have alot of information, the recipes are easy and illustrated step by step.They will have a color photo of each dish at the front of book so you can see what your finished dish should look like.

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