Wednesday, September 19, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things... cookbooks

It occurred to me the last night as I murdered yet another can with my crappy (and new... and expensive) can opener, that I have some strong opinions about products. Like most people, I'm often dismayed by items that don't perform, and a little put off by the sea of crappy choices in many categories, like appliances (both big and small). Places like amazon are great because you can read product reviews, but reading hundreds of reviews on 10 or 20 items is exhausting and leaves me with information overload, and often no clearer picture of what to buy. Personal references from friends are great but sometimes I don't know anyone to ask or my friends don't have the same needs from a product. So I thought, maybe by listing stuff I like here and why, I can help people who are like me to find reliable products that fill their needs. I am really lame, I know, but I have to try... manufacturers suck...  So here is the first in a series of many (hopefully).

My favorite cookbook.
The New Best Recipe from America's Test Kitchen is fabulous on so many levels.  First of all, it is HUGE (over 1,000 recipes).  There are very few recipes for "normal" food that aren't in there.  Second, it reads like a book, not a cookbook.  Each recipe has an introduction telling a little about their expectations for the dish (which is good because if yours are different you can modify to suit you; ie: spiciness), many have preparation tips or tips on how to choose ingredients, and interspersed are product reviews on the best kitchen gadgets and tools.  If you have ever seen their TV show on PBS, it reads like an episode (if you haven't, check it out!).  Third, it teaches as it gives you the recipe.  I have become SUCH a better cook after cooking with this book because I understand the science of food, I know new terms, and I know new techniques.  Dishes I used to think were hard are commonplace meals for us now, like beef stroganoff or french onion soup.  I will issue one slight word of caution.  If you fall in love with this book, don't buy any more in the series.  I am not sure about the light and 30 minute books, but I bought the baking book and it was all the same recipes as in this one, with maybe a handful of new ones.  This book is all you need.  My friend recommended it to me and she lovingly calls it "the bible" and its kinda true.  Its a reference book as well as a recipe book. I LOVE IT!

Note: I don't get money from these people.  Although I do GIVE them a lot, buying these things for myself and as gifts for people I like...

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