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116 of 124 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Textbook from Reliable Authority on Cooking. Some lapses
`Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America' aims to arm the amateur cook with many of the tools of the professional and communicate the things which inspire a professional chef and set them apart from the amateur. The book comes to us with the authority of the foremost culinary school in the country and the aura of being a textbook with which it may seem to...
Published on May 13, 2004 by B. Marold

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cookbook for your coffee table
I love to cook. I was rummaging around in Borders one day and found this book in the discount section. Because it's from the CIA, I thought that it would likely be a great basics cookbook to add to my collection so I grabbed it and brought it home.

It is pretty basic, but I never use it. I am far more likely to pull down my copy of the Joy of Cooking or Alice...
Published on June 28, 2012 by SareeD


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116 of 124 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Textbook from Reliable Authority on Cooking. Some lapses, May 13, 2004
This review is from: Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover)
`Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America' aims to arm the amateur cook with many of the tools of the professional and communicate the things which inspire a professional chef and set them apart from the amateur. The book comes to us with the authority of the foremost culinary school in the country and the aura of being a textbook with which it may seem to be sacrilege to take issue. This book does many very good things, but in popularizing it's subject, it does loose some depth and credibility.
The book does several very good things that almost entirely outweigh its few blemishes.
The first valuable lesson from this book is its characterization of the way students of professional cooking come to think about their vocation and its materials. In this way, the book can make you a more successful cook by adapting professional methods. The heart of the matter is to `learn to think critically about cooking' and `learn how to look at, touch, smell, and taste a dish to judge whether it is coming together'. A professional cook knows how to rescue a recipe when a step fails or an ingredient is unavailable. They know what Alton Brown calls the map of culinary facts and techniques, which surround recipes, and explains how they work. That is not to say that this book deals with culinary science a la Shirley Corriher. The terms `acid' and `gluten' don't even appear in the index.
The second valuable type of lesson in this book is the descriptions of general techniques and the explanations for how they work. An example is in the technique for preparing stocks where the book explains that flavors are extracted from vegetables within an hour after adding them to the simmering stock water. This means that if you expect to simmer your veal bones for four hours, you can wait for three hours before adding the vegetables. This measure is irrelevant, of course, for fish stocks, where the fish flesh and bones should be simmered for no more than 30 to 45 minutes. Much of this information is given in easily used tabular form as in the table of best cooking methods for cuts of beef, veal, pork, and lamb. My most useful suggestion regarding this information is to recommend you view this information with a critical eye. In one part of the book, it is said that analogous parts of animals are often best cooked by similar methods. However, the book cites braising as a preferred method for cooking beef chuck (shoulder), but does not give braising as a method for cooking lamb shoulder. While I see many recipes for grilling and broiling lamb shoulder, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby in `How to Cook Meat' specifically say that lamb shoulder is an excellent cut for braising. Regarding cooking temperature endpoints, the book is typically very conservative, largely following the USDA recommendations for reaching up to 180 degrees in chicken thighs when cooking whole birds. Reliable sources have recommended that reaching 165 degrees is quite enough, with less danger of drying out the white meat in the bird.
The third and possibly most valuable resource in this book is the collection of classic recipes with expert procedures which all but guarantee a satisfactory result. The pasta chapter, for example, begins with a basic tomato marinara sauce followed by such classics as pasta Puttanesca, pasta Primavera, pasta alla Carbonara, spinach and escarole lasagna, and (potato) gnocchi with herbs and butter. The collection does not contain every `classic'. You will not, for example, find coq au vin in the poultry chapter. But, the selection is very good. Each recipe contains a sidebar giving some insight into either an ingredient, technique, or serving suggestion. Each recipe also contains one or more references to other parts of the book where relevant techniques are explained.
One surprising weakness in the book is the cursory coverage of some basic cooking techniques. The chapter on poultry gives a description of how to cut a chicken into serving pieces, with only four steps and four pictures. A similar description in James Peterson's `Essentials of Cooking' takes thirteen steps with thirteen color photographs. The coverage of other basic techniques seems similarly skimpy.
One subtle but surprising lapse is in the description of basic cooking techniques. If you read the descriptions of shallow poaching and pan frying, it is quite unclear what the difference may be between the two methods. Neither method cites the most important fact that poaching is done in water and pan frying is done in oil and the difference in effect is based on the difference between 212 degrees of water cooking and 350 degrees or higher of oil cooking. The description of these methods does have some secrets to offer. I never before saw shallow poaching as an efficient method for creating a sauce by reducing the poaching liquid after the food has been cooked.
If you have no other cookbooks or no cookbooks that discuss general techniques, this is an inspiring introduction to cooking. Even if you have a small cookbook library, this book can be a worthy addition if you have no good books covering egg cookery or what this book calls `Kitchen Desserts'. These are dishes based primarily based of fruits, custards, puddings, cream, and prepared doughs such as puff pastry. The book does not cover breads, pastries, cakes, cookies, or other baked desserts typically done by a pastry chef. If you are interested in thorough discussions of cooking techniques, I recommend Alton Brown's `I'm Only Here for the Food'.
Recommended for sound, straightforward recipes and a great primer on cookspeak. Other books do a better job of explaining basic techniques.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cooking class in a book, December 14, 2003
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This review is from: Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover)
Lavishly and instructively illustrated, this teaching book presents, in words and pictures, step-by-step instructions for everything from making spice sachets and pureeing soups to carving a roasted chicken and filleting a fish. It even shows various ways of cutting vegetables, preparing garlic, cleaning leeks and mushrooms.
A thorough primer, it starts with a discussion of tools, techniques and pantry ingredients, advocates an organized mindset, and proceeds in the same patient, simple manner through each course, discussing market choices and preparation, many illustrated. Easy-to-follow recipes build technique and repertoire, from Onion Soup Gratinee and Thai Hot and Sour Soup to Southern Fried Chicken, Roast Goose with Pan Gravy, Grilled Lamb with Mango Chutney and Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms.
There are stir-fries, curries and classic continental and American dishes, all with painstaking directions. Side notes offer tips and direct the cook to basic cooking instructions elsewhere in the book. A masterful, handsome, endlessly useful and encouraging book for the beginner.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great cooking resource., October 21, 2003
By 
Mary Alexander (Lambertville, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover)
I love the way this book has sections in the beginning of each chapter with such basics as boning a chicken or making rich pan gravy. I made the Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms twice and all I can say is WOW!! My family loved it and the leftovers were gone in a day. My next venture is Cream of Broccoli Soup which sounds really yummy. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to make great meals without having to search all over for strange ingredients. Your grocery store should have anything you need.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cookbook for your coffee table, June 28, 2012
This review is from: Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover)
I love to cook. I was rummaging around in Borders one day and found this book in the discount section. Because it's from the CIA, I thought that it would likely be a great basics cookbook to add to my collection so I grabbed it and brought it home.

It is pretty basic, but I never use it. I am far more likely to pull down my copy of the Joy of Cooking or Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food. I think it's because some of the sections are really copy-heavy and the layout tends to be in more of a longer paragraph rather than bullets. I know that sound odd, but I don't like to feel like I'm reading a novel when I'm reading a cookbook - break it down for me. There are also very few quick, easy recipes in the book. I'm all for slaving over a dish for a few hours, but my favorite cookbooks have a balance between the quick and easy and the "I get a gold star for cooking this damn thing" recipes.

For the recipes that I have made (citrus roasted beets or the spinach and arugala salad), they have turned out well. But for me, the types of recipes and overall layout makes this book more likely to be out on my coffee table with a bit of dust on it, then laying open on my kitchen counter with oil or flour staining the pages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Here Comes Another One, September 15, 2013
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Over the last number of years, the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, capitalizing on its name and reputation, has published over 50 cookbooks focused on different themes from PRESERVING, CHOCOLATES AND CONFECTIONS, BAKING AND PASTRY, MATH FOR THE PROFESSIONAL KITCHEN, CULINARY MATH, GARDE MANGER, HORS D-OEUVRES and FROZEN DESERTS. My favorite reference from CIA is my copy of THE PROFESSIONAL CHEF. What CIA authors historically have done best is explain techniques, use of equipment, ingredients and measure.

However by targeting so many different sub-segments and micro-segments they run the risk (as they have done here) of running thin and falling short on the mark. When you forget your purpose and audience, one leaves room for others to provide more useful and interesting compilation of recipes. Here, CIA has produced a reasonable but dry collection of recipes to use at home. Standbys for the novice, hurried cook but -- little inspiration and even fewer signature dishes and flavors for demanding families like mine. I am sympathetic to their financial pressures. They have one of the biggest libraries in the world of this kind. They give scholarships. They are important contributors.

If you are looking for home recipes that your family will ask you to cook again and again, you may be disappointed. Regrettably, this is more likely a cookbook that will remain dusty on my shelf.

Among my family's favorites, and I think more interesting books for the home novice to intermediate chef, are STAFF MEALS FROM CHANTERELLE, Arthur Schwartz's WHAT TO COOK and America's Test Kitchen SIMPLE WEEKNIGHT FAVORITES.

I like CIA. I hope the editorial and publishing staffs will take notice. For me, the revised edition of COOKING AT HOME WITH THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA is Disappointingly, not an Essential CIA book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The new 'Betty Crocker', October 31, 2007
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This review is from: Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover)
Don't be insulted or missled. This is the new age book for a cook begining to cook at home. It covers everything you need to know to prepare and serve delicious foods that almost anyone would enjoy. The emphasis is on 'how to' followed by what to cook.
It starts at the begining, what pots, tools, and techniques you must have on hand to start to enjoy cooking. It is first rate for that person!
I thouroughly enjoyed this book, but if you are an accomplished home chef, pass it by.
DOC
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old School, August 27, 2013
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This book has the feel of a dumbed down text book. Poorly organized with sketchy instructions, it demonstrates a lack of understanding of its target audience, home cooks. Everyone would love to serve flavorful gourmet fare everyday but few have the luxury of the time and the resources necessary to do so. This poorly written book does not help.

Each chapter address a topic, i.e., Stock, Soups and Sauces, Breads and Desserts, etc. There are photographs illustrating the techniques and some, but not all, of the dishes. The instructions are spare and probably not quite enough for a true novice but too basic for those with more experience. I don't know that most home cooks would be willing to invest the hours necessary to make their own stocks when acceptable alternatives are easily available at the grocery. The equipment needed section of every chapter is just silly. Anyone could figure out that they would need an appropriate sized pot or pan, spoon or fork. I think it would have been more accessible had there been an equipment and pantry section, followed by techniques, followed by the assorted recipes. Speaking of the recipes, there is quite a variety but no cohesion. Moreover, some pop up in categories not their own. For instance, there is a recipe for pulled pork in the sauce section and a recipe for churros with the soups. Many recipes make reference to one in another section and I do find jumping around annoying. Moreover the serving sizes are weird. Most of the entrees and desserts serve five and some of the muffins, a generous 24. It would have been nice to have a short introduction to the recipes and serving suggestions.

The recipes have an old school feel and contain no nutritional information or substitutions. The bread and dessert section is especially dated with such old time standards as Parker Rolls and Crème Brulee complete with a shake of confectioner's sugar. I did make three of the recipes. The first was the Lamb Korma, a rich stew featuring marinated lamb and a warming blend of spices. It was quite good but a tad time consuming to make. I was similarly pleased with their recipe for the fried Zucchini. The beer batter was very nice. Finally, I made the chocolate mousse. It was good but not memorable.

I would give this book 2 stars for writing, technique and organization and four stars for the recipes. This offering lacked the homey ease of such selections as the Fanny Farmer cookbook, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything or even the Joy of Cooking. More ambitious and experienced cooks would enjoy the precision and elegance of books by Thomas Keller, especially Ad Hoc at Home and Bouchon Bakery. I can't envision this one becoming a resource for either technique or recipes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who Is this Cookbook Written For?, August 25, 2013
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I hate to say it, but this cookbook has several personalities, put together, unhappily I think, into one set of covers.

First it purports to be a book for home cooks, but the Introduction says these recipes are favorites in the kitchens of The Culinary Institute of America. Last time I checked this is not a place noted for home cooking. So one personality is a book of recipes (and techniques) for professionals. Many of the illustrations show concepts important for professionals but of, at best, marginal use for those cooking at home. Do my friends (ardent foodies all) care if my carrots are cut as batons or juliennes? No, and the chances are yours don't either.

Mant recipes seem very complex for what appears to be a beginners book. Many steps, complicated presentations, and dishes that seem overly fancy for home.

This personality is that of a restaurant chef's book. Fine but not Cooking at Home.

Second, it is supposed to be a book based on techniques. The chapters cover related techniques with instruction at the beginning and recipes following. As cooking teachers know, it's very hard to teach techniques divorced from an actual dish. Unhappily this cookbook tries to do that. Instead of being helpful, I found it just confusing. I've been cooking both professionally and at home for over 35 years. What would a beginner do?

Often basic techniques are skipped in this section. I learn how to ice a cake, but not how to get it our of a pan for example. There are far better books to teach you techniques if that is your goal.

I'd hope that if the recipes were to illustrate techniques they would have some kind of order, but, except for the last chapter, they do not. Yes you'll find all the deep frying recipes together and the pan frying recipes together. But after that it feels as if they threw up the recipe cards and put them in random order. There are so many ways they could be ordered: simple to complex, by courses, by main type of ingredient, but none of these happen. A complex restaurant-style recipe is followed three recipes later with a simple five-ingredient dish, To my mind, that makes using this book as a recipe resource almost impossible. How can I know where to find something. How can I get ideas? How can I plan a meal?

Personality #2 is a technique book and one that is poorly organized and not very complete.

Finally the recipes are all over the map. I had hoped this book would be a good resource for beginning chefs, teaching the good solid techniques and recipes they could rely on. But only about 25% of the recipes, at best, are suitable for beginning cooks to make. Another 40-50% are workable recipes for experienced and competent home cooks. The remaining recipes are restaurant-style dishes requiring too many steps and too much work for any but professionals or the most dedicated home cooks.

Personality #3 is that of a recipe collection, probably not even as good as the ones you've clipped out of magazines.

Skip this cookbook, the CIA could have done better and you can spend your money far more wisely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Professional Cookbook for Dummies, March 25, 2007
This review is from: Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover)
This book is most helpful, it does not assume you are an experienced cook, but starts with the basics, and leads you step by step in a most understandable fashion.. It's a geat source, that instills confidence and produces good results.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Ok, February 15, 2013
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This review is from: Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover)
The recipes are ok. Nothing terribly inspiring. I miss the days when I could go to the book store and flip through the entire book before I buy it. I probably would not have bought this one.
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Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America
Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America by The Culinary Institute of America (Hardcover - September 16, 2003)
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