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How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1,000 Photos Hardcover – March 5, 2012


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How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1,000 Photos + How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food + How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (March 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470528060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470528068
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review




In How to Cook Everything The Basics, best-selling author Mark Bittman offers another essential collection of delicious recipes, from fried egg to steamed mussels. With clear and straightforward directions, practical tips and variation ideas, and helpful photos for each of the recipes, Bittman breaks down the basics to help all home cooks.

Recipe Excerpts from How to Cook Everything The Basics

Brownies
(Click for recipe)
Curried Chickpea Salad
(Click for recipe)
Steamed Fish with Ratatouille
(Click for recipe)



Q&A with Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything The Basics

Mark Bittman, Author
It’s been ten years since How to Cook Everything came out. How has your approach to thinking about food and writing cookbooks changed since then?
It's actually been almost 14 years since the first edition, which I can hardly believe myself. For me, there's a big difference between how I think about "food" and how I approach writing cookbooks. In fact, the way I write cookbooks has barely changed: I try to write simple, straightforward recipes that encourage people to cook rather than wow or intimidate them. These are cookbooks for people who cook or want to learn how to cook. In terms of thinking about food, see the next question.

This year, you ended your "Minimalist" column for The New York Times and became a regular op-ed writer. Would you say that The Basics reflects this big change in your career, and how you can present your ideas?
It's a huge change but I haven't left much behind; I'm still writing about cooking not only for the Times but for others. The Opinion writing gives me a chance to say what I think not only about cooking but about food, about eating. And what I think is that although cooking goes a long way to helping us eat better, there are many, many issues that cooking can't address, important issues to anyone who eats--which is everyone.

It seems like a lot of cookbooks are more about lifestyle and the latest trends in restaurant food. Do you think that The Basics is almost an anti-trend cookbook?
No. I think that the books about lifestyle and trends in restaurant food are not cookbooks. The Basics, modesty aside, is the epitome of a cookbook: It's a book that teaches how to cook. It'll be trendy for some people and not for others, like everything else.

When you were learning the basics of cooking yourself, what kinds of cookbooks did you use?
The basic books of the '60s and '70s, which were those by Jim Beard; Julia Child; Paula Peck; Craig Claiborne; and a few others. And of course Joy of Cooking.




Review

'A gem for the inexperienced and experienced...this is a most useful book to add to any cookery shelf.' (Yorkshire Gazette & Herald, 30th May 2012)

More About the Author

Mark Bittman is one of the country's best-known, most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of the New York Times on food policy and cooking and is a columnist for the New York Times magazine. He is regularly featured on the Today Show in How To Cook Everything Today cooking segments. For 13 years he wrote "The Minimalist" column and now a "Minimalist" cooking show is featured on the Cooking Channel. The How to Cook Everything series is highly respected: the first edition of the flagship book How to Cook Everything won both the IACP and James Beard Awards, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian won the 2008 IACP award. He is also the author of Food Matters, Food Matters Cookbook, Fish, and Leafy Greens.

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Customer Reviews

It has easy to follow recipes and good photos!
June Godenich
The author guides you through the basics of cooking everything and he also explains technique like chopping, mincing, frying, sauteing, etc.
Kelly O
This is a great reference book to have in any kitchen, from beginners who never cook to pros.
Katie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How to Cook Everything: The Basics is a "cookbook" designed to teach new cooks the fundamentals to ingredients, cookware, and food preparation. It is a variation on Mark Bittman's original classic How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food (which I'll refer to as HtCE). I have not read Bittman's 2003 book of the same name, How to Cook Everything: The Basics, but as far as I can tell, this book is not an update to that one (which received a lot of criticism for not being original enough from HtCE). The publication date is 2012, and there is no reference to the 2003 book in the publication notes. While this does use a lot of information from HtCE, it seems to be a completely separate book.

CONTENT
Although it is filled with recipes, The Basics is not really a cookbook. It is presented in a very straightforward way that is designed to not only give you starter recipes, but to provide recipes that teach the fundamentals of cooking. For a "basics" cookbook, one thing I look for is whether it truly is targeted to teaching the basics. When I was first learning to cook, I would be thoroughly confused every time a recipe called for "onion," and went to the story only to discover four different types of onions. And what does "salt to taste" mean? Fortunately, Bittman's book takes these things into account and is very good at not making assumptions on the cooking level of the reader.
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98 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Raele on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
(This is both a review, and a response to a negative review preceding mine.)

Mark Bittman is an excellent chef, who breaks things down, keeps it simple, and keeps me cooking. Whether or not he chooses to currently eat much meat does not impact his ability to instruct others in how to properly prepare it, after many years of having successfully done so himself. In fact, the meat prep techniques are flawlessly presented.
To JimBob: We are not being invited to write a "character review". It is to be a COOKBOOK review.
That means you would be expected to include things such as:

Does the food TASTE good?
Do the recipes WORK?
Are there perhaps helpful ILLUSTRATIONS?
Do the STEPS make sense?
Is it easy to locate a particular RECIPE?
Given the title, does it SIMPLIFY my cooking time?

This books wins on all counts. While I will continue to use How To Cook Everything for less-often used recipes, this new volume will be my go-to guide most of the time. I plan to help my teen daughter expand her repertoire using this book, as the photos will simplify everything and keep her 21st century mind engaged. Perfect for teaching oneself or one's child. A remarkable and crystal clear tutorial, often featuring one full recipe per spread; how perfect and easy on the eyes! It ought to be a gift for every housewarming party or wedding shower. In fact, I used to use How To Cook Everything (the more extensive work), along with a hand sewn apron or oven mitts, for just that purpose. Now I will use this one. You will just want to eat The Basics cookbook up!
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Rinker on July 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just turned 25, and my lack of cooking skills was beginning to be embarrassing and unhealthy, so I began searching for a cookbook to help me out. I usually got recipes online, but they tended to be either too complicated or too expensive for someone who's not that well off. I eventually settled on this book, after already having bought Bittman's other cookbook and finding it too difficult to wade through.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this book has turned my culinary life around. I cook pretty frequently now, and I basically exclusively cook out of this book. I'm going to list several things about this book that I like:

* TONS of great tutorials for things like cutting up veggies, how to boil pasta the right way, etc. Along with these great helpers, every recipe includes page numbers to the relevant stuff, so you can easily flip back and forth to figure out how to do all of the mechanical stuff.

* The recipes are arranged in each chapter from easiest to most difficult, so it's perfect for new cooks to build up their confidence.

* The recipes are simple, and simple generally means cheap. It does NOT, however, mean flavorless. Everything I've made out of this book has been fantastic, even the super-simple Chopped Salad and homemade dressing.

* The section on what tools/equipment needed in a kitchen has also helped me furnish my kitchen better.

I would say that if you are a beginner cook, this book is absolutely the one to buy. It's affordable, well written, and will help you make fantastic food. Seriously. Look no further.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By bakerbronte on March 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I appreciate Mark Bittman's ability to educate the reader about food thoroughly while sharing simple, wholesome, home kitchen-friendly recipes that won't break the bank.
If you already own the original How to Cook Everything, you're really in for a visual feast now as The Basics version is filled with beautifully photographed pictures depicting various stages in each recipe. They are not step by step exactly, but his recipes are so well-written that they do not need to be in order to convey the cooking process.
Bittman has a friendly, confident tone that almost feels as though you have an old friend in the kitchen at your side, guiding you through caramelizing your first onions or braising your first chicken.
He even has a "Getting Started" section to walk you through stocking your pantry, equipping your kitchen simply but efficiently, and outlining basic cooking techniques in case you aren't familiar with them. I consider myself an experienced home cook and would not hesitate to purchase this as a shower gift for newlyweds or for an advanced cook. There is plenty in this new volume to entertain anyone interested in cooking.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to decide whether to try his Braised Beef with Red Wine or Mediterranean Style Braised Chicken for supper.
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