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CookSmart: Perfect Recipes for Every Day Hardcover – May 10, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618091513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618091515
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 7.1 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Pam Anderson's CookSmart: Perfect Recipes for Every Day is a collection of comfort-food favorites that she's perfected through a long process of trial and error. From her own experience as a chef, cookbook author (The Perfect Recipe), and food columnist for USA Weekend, Anderson has created a rigorous approach for selecting the best possible recipe for any given dish, winnowing out weaker, less satisfactory recipes in several stages. She starts by reviewing several recipes for the same dish. For example, Anderson noted that the conventional method of making fajitas included marinating the meat before it is cooked, which, in her opinion, masks the rich flavor of steak. In her version, the fajita meat gets a spice rub before cooking and then a brief, post-cooking sauna-like repose in a simple mixture of lime juice and garlic. The resulting fajitas have the relaxed subtle flavor of garlic, lime, and cumin that complement rather than overpower the tender steak.

This book provides good instruction for the beginning chef, demonstrating how to use the basic techniques to perfect one's own recipe. But there is a lot to read, so be warned. This book is a time commitment if attempting to read cover to cover, and it doesn't necessarily work in the real-time experience of looking and cooking. However, if you're searching for a collection of great, gourmet-style recipes for home-cooked favorites, CookSmart is a pretty wise choice. --Teresa Simanton

From Publishers Weekly

Anderson (The Perfect Recipe; How to Cook Without a Book) brings her wide experience and easy style to this latest offering. She takes the recipes one step further, explaining the testing method of each, much in the style of Cook's Illustrated where she was the former executive editor. Highlighting such dishes as Oven-Fried Chicken That's as Good as Fried, 90-Minute Pot Roast with Rich Red Wine and Onion Gravy, and Pasta Salad, Anderson caters to cravings for comfort food. Once the principles of pasta salad have been explained, for example, a number of versions are put forward, from Greek-Style Pasta Salad with its creamy vinaigrette, through Pasta Salad with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus, to Asian-Style Pasta Salad with Chicken, Baby Corn and Snow Peas. The home cook will feel at ease with the recipes, which have been designed for simplicity; the more advanced cook, interested in the whys and hows, will be able to apply the principles learned to other areas of food preparation. By combining both audiences so successfully, Anderson has once again produced a winner.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Pam Anderson considers herself Every Cook. A New York Times bestselling author, she has been cooking nearly everyday for over 30 years. With six published books and her seventh out this fall, she brings satisfying recipes and sage advice to both novice and veteran cooks. Whether you're on a quest for the perfect brownie, wanting to get dinner on the table effortlessly, hoping to entertain more simply, attempting to shed pounds permanently, or looking to eat delicious meatless, Pam can help. AARP's official food expert, she is a food columnist for USA Weekend and Runner's World magazines. Pam is former Executive Editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine. Her food articles have appeared in many food magazines. She teaches cooking classes across the country and appears frequently on TV and radio.

See what Pam's up to on her blog: www.threemanycooks.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
i felt compelled to write after reading some negative reviews. i checked this out from the library (as is my habit to do before spending any money on my own copy-much less disappointment that way) and have made already 2 recipes. they were for the broiled salmon and oven-cooked ribs. i do not lie when i say that they were huge hits...the ribs i have done twice due to popular demand. i do realize that is not a lot of testing, but 2 recipes without a hitch the first time around making them has earned this cookbook a must-have. this is not gourmet dinky food, but real good home food . the food most of us choose to eat without resorting to cream-of-you-know-what or worse several hours of gastronomic acrobatics to find that your family doesn't like it. the only reason this did not get 5 stars was due to the low ratio of recipes given the amount of text and number of pages in this book.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Paul Paul on June 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I've had so many of the recipes in this book and each one is just better than the other. They really are the Perfect recipes, I can see why Pam is so popular. I like to call this my "memory food" book, since all the food taste like I remember it tasting at its best. Chocolate Cake tastes like the best diner chocolate cake. The ribs are better than any roadhouse or bbq I've been in and they are so easy as well. I recently fed a crowd and "everyone" wanted the recipe. The oven fried chicken tastes like fried without all that messy oil! The key lime pie is my favorite and I've eaten a lot. And the peanut butter cookies and the chocolate chip cookies are better and bigger than any mall-cookie seller. Veggie lasagna pleases all my vegetarian friends and meat lovers alike. I could go on and on. I've already given this book as gifts and they have bought the book for presents of their own. Every recipe will quickly become "your" recipe." I'll never make Ceaser salad any other way again. All I can say is give me more. My only complaint is that there are no pictures.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dulcie Anne on June 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm a busy Mom who none-the-less wants my kids to eat real food. I don't have time for mistakes and trial and error. The book explains the entire process in an easy to read and understand manner and without fail, the recipes have all turned out fabulous. In fact, they are so delicious they have earned me quite a reputation. Now, whenever there is a pot luck - I get requests. The Blue Ribbon Chili is like the filet mignon of chili - I went to a barbecue this weekend and brought the Asian pasta salad and every single person asked me to send the recipe. I just got an email asking once again. I sent them the link to the book instead ;-) I sing Pam's praises often. Now my sister, her brother-in-law and several friends are all devotees. I highly recommend this book (my primary resource) as well as Pam Anderson's "How to Cook Without A Book" - the pan sauces alone make that one a worthwhile purchase.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By meringue on February 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book reads like a novel. I love the essay that prefaces each recipe. Very entertaining reading. As for the recipes, I love the pot roast. That has become a favorite. The cinnamon rolls are fabulous. And the waffles recipe is the best I've ever tried. They really do stay crispy like she promises. The only flaw is the pumpkin pie recipe. The filling was way too much for the 9" pan size recommended. If overflowed in my oven causing a HUGE mess. I live at a pretty high altitude, so maybe that was the problem too.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Every recipe in this book that I've tried so far has been a hit right away. The cinnamon rolls, the chocolate cake, the pumpkin pie, the ribs... everything has turned out perfectly. The cinnamon rolls and chocolate cake have even turned into regular additions at my cafe. Pam Anderson writes with a distinctive voice that makes reading her trail and error accounts entertaining as well as informative. As a cook who always wants to know why a recipe works, not just that it does, it was interesting to see on paper the same recipe permutations I tend to go through myself.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chemist in the Kitchen on June 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I loved CookSmart. As a chemist, I enjoy doing experiments at home in the kitchen as well as at work. The way that Pam described the process that she went through to find the ideal conditions for each recipe mirrors the careful manipulation and recordkeeping that accompanies a scientific experiment. I like knowing why each ingredient was chosen and what happened with other ingredients to make them less than perfect. Even if you don't appreciate the detailed dialogue that precedes each recipe, you will appreciate the results of using each perfected recipe. I tried the Chicken Parmesan, Oven-Fried Chicken, Turkey Burgers and some of the hints for perfect pie crust. All of the food turned out wonderfully and satisfied my need to occasionally prepare gourmet type food for my family. I am looking forward to trying more of the recipes!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There is one recipe in this book that is worth the price of the book alone -- the oven ribs. She tells you how to make ribs for a crowd with a quick rub using some spices and mustard and then you simply cook them for a couple of hours at a low heat right on the oven rack. I made them all summer and now I've printing up the recipe on cards to give out since I am asked so much for the recipe. They are simply the best ribs. You can also make them either a dry rub or "wet," like some people prefer. And what's great is that you can make them all winter too. What a great recipe.
I've also tried the pumpkin pie and boy, oh, boy, is that my favorite and only three cans too. This is "my" pumpkin pie recipe from now on. You can really tell Pam did her homework on these recipes. thanks Pam!
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