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James Beard's American Cookery Hardcover – October 25, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition (October 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031609868X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316098687
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.9 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The bible of American cooking by 'the king of gourmets'."—Time

"...his chef d'oeuvre...should take a place on the narrow shelf reserved for major American culinary literature."—Washington Post

"I felt a shiver as I unpacked the new edition of James Beard's American Cookery, this big, fat, generous book, so like Jim himself. I just held it for a few minutes, remembering times in his kitchen, his big hand guiding mine in the motion of making mayonnaise with a fork. . . . It strikes me as timely that chefs who know only his image on a medal hung round their neck have this chance to see what James was cooking before they were born." Gael Greene, Insatiable-critic.com

"The beauty of this book is that it allows you . . . to experience firsthand what made James Beard special and unique. His voice can be heard through his no-nonsense recipes and the choices he made that celebrated even simple, humble dishes for what they were: good food." Tom Colicchio, 2010 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef and head judge on Top Chef, from the Foreword

"The tome's enduring popularity is due to the fact that it does more than deliver superb recipes, it digs deep into the history of American cuisine."—Fox News

About the Author

Until his death in 1985, James Beard was the nation's most acclaimed chef and food writer. The founder and director of the celebrated cooking classes in New York that still bear his name, Beard wrote James Beard's New Fish Cookery, The James Beard Cookbook, Menus for Entertaining, Beard on Bread, Beard on Food, and other works on the gastronomic arts.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I can hardly do this book justice by reviewing it, you just have to see it to believe it!
Rebecca of Amazon
The depth and breadth of his collection is amazing and a tribute to the greatness of American cuisine and Mr. Beard.
Michael D. Mann
There are so many recipes to choose from and the preparation directions are very clear and easy to understand.
Melissa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While reading this James Beard classic, I was amazed at how many recipes truly have become our favorite foods in America. I have been making some recipes for years without even considering that all along, James Beard could have in fact brought them to our awareness. It is equally amazing how many of these recipes made their way over to Africa.

My grandmother purchased one of the first copies and I now have the pleasure of owning it. This truly is a cookbook you will want to read over time. Reading the entire cookbook could be quite daunting were the recipes and notes not so delightful to read!

Each chapter begins with a note from James Beard and continues in a sort of cook's diary style with many recipes on one page. You will find recipes for cocktail food, salads, soups, eggs, cheese, fish, shellfish, poultry, game, beef, veal, lamb, pork, ham, bacon, sauces, vegetables, grains, pasta, beans, lentils, pies, pastries, cakes, cookies, puddings, ice cream, dessert sauces, fruit, bread, sandwiches, pickles, preserves and candy.

If you didn't grow up in America, you will find this cookbook all the more fascinating. You can literally read this cookbook like a novel. I found it fun to sit outside and just start reading it from the beginning, skipping over recipes I didn't find interesting and being amazed at how many recipes I was familiar with and had actually made at some point in my life.

A recipe will often start just so casually, you forget you are reading a cookbook, then suddenly you are reading the instructions and the recipe ingredients are listed on the right or left. This is written in a very personal style and you can truly hear the voice of James Beard in his writing.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased my first copy of this book when it was first published in 1980. After 20 years, and much use, it has fallen apart and I'm ordering a new one. It is one of the most useful cookbooks in my library of over 100 books on cookery and I turn to it every week for a "new" idea - 20 years later, Mr. Beard's cuisine is ageless.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My copy was just delivered this morning. What an absolute blast to read this book. Mr. Beard's commentaries are not only insightful, but often downright funny!
When writing about eating oysters on the half-shell, he advises, "If you do not like the natural flavor of oysters and find that you must cover them with quantities of red cocktail sauce (which he refers to earlier in the chapter as 'the red mennace'), then perhaps you should not be eating them."
Maybe it's just me, but I find the free injection of personal taste/opinion refreshing.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on November 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm reluctant to praise the memory of James Beard for producing this excellent cookbook, as it is well known that he employed ghost writers and assistants, including Marian Cunningham and Barbara Kafka, who have since gained promenance in their own right as cookbook authors. Even such a Beard fan as Jeremiah Tower states that there may be very few of his books which he actually wrote himself. That being said, let me state that this is an excellent general purpose cookbook which should be on every American cook's shelf even in preference to some newer, trendier titles.
There are two things which most clearly distinguish this volume. The first is that many of the recipes and supplementary text in this volume are superior to Beard's (sic) presentation of the same recipe in his other titles, even when the other titles specialize in a particular ingredient or method. I find, for example, his chicken recipes much more detailed in the general book than in the volume `Beard on Birds'. The second reason for having this book is that a very large number of the recipes are relatively simple to prepare using very easily acquired ingredients. There are hunderds of recipes which can be prepared cheaply and, with a little searching, there are hundreds of recipes which can be prepared quickly. James Beard was very `old school'.
One word of warning is necessary. While Beard is not as spare in his descriptions as Elizabeth David, he is also not as full of details as Julia Child, who basically changed the entire style of American recipe writing, including the style of James Beard to some extent. There are times when Beard does assume some basic cooking knowledge, although there are fewer assumptions here than in lesser volumes.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By S. Kessler VINE VOICE on November 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm sure the paper version of American Cookery is as wonderful as everyone says. But this is the second kindle-edition cookbook I have had to return for a refund because it is practically useless as a cooking tool. If you are content with reading a cookbook as if it were a novel, without knowing what is inside each chapter before you get to it, then by all means, enjoy the Kindle edition. But if you are interested in actually knowing what recipes are included and expect to be able to jump to a specific recipe in the index with a link, you will be seriously disappointed.

I really resent cookbook publishers who create an ebook edition with absolutely no forethought or planning as to what makes an ebook, especially a reference tool, which a cookbook is, actually work for the user. It is NOT a novel. You don't just sit down and read it. You jump around, look at specific recipes, jump to related recipes. In a paper book, you have indexed recipes and page numbers that take you there. In an ebook you need to have direct links that allow you to jump around. This James Beard classic only has links in the chapter heading and contains an apparently scanned index that contains page numbers, for which there is absolutely no correspondence in an ebook. The publisher of this book seems only to have made an e-book out of it in order to increase their revenue without giving the least bit of care to delivering a quality product.

I have several e-cookbooks that are beautifully formatted (two of Mark Bittman's and one by Madhur Jaffrey). Their publishers took the time and effort to make their product user-friendly and truly valuable reference tools for serious cooks.

Okay, venting over. I might repurchase this book as a paper book because it is a classic. But anyone contemplating putting this on their Kindle needs to be forewarned that it's not a very useful product.
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