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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 20, 2012
This is not really a cookbook, but a book that teaches techniques. There is a good introduction for those addicted to recipes, but not knowing techniques... what to do if an ingredient is missing - to be able to prepare food from scratch using seasonal produce. This will give beginning and experienced cooks more skill in preparing their food and know how in their kitchens.

This is a book that takes one along the 12 week `boot camp' for cooking. Included are: knife skills and mise en place, sautéing, stir fry and searing, stocks, soups, and poaching, frying and confit, stewing, braising and steaming, sauces, dips and condiments,roasting and broiling, grilling, yeast breads, quick breads and butters, starches, grains, and pasta, eggs. A few recipes are included in the lesson steps.
There are cross references placed in the text to refer back to chapters - it would have been better to have page numbers rather than chapter numbers, or else tab colour the edges so that it is easier to find. The illustrations are good, but a bit small. Steps are illustrated along the way. There are good instructions, the knife safety and use guidelines are among the best I have seen.
Lessons on the basic science of cooking are included as well as information about cooking ingredients diagrams on cuts of meat, types of seafood, kitchen tools needed, metric conversions and an index that also includes the recipes.

There are really good instructions here, in how to become a better cook and probably some information to learn from even if you are a more experienced cook.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Kitchen on Fire is a large volume on teaching home cooks how to cook in 12 weeks. It could've been a very good book but has major flaws. Basically it goes through the entire repertoire of cooking from knife skill to cooking methods, from scrambled eggs to soufflé, and thumbnail photos illustrate everything in detail. An experienced home cook can probably follow these but a novice could not. Illustrations on techniques can never replace live demonstrations on many processes (such as making pie dough). It feels that Said and MikeC are talking to professionals in their terminology and style. Again, a beginner would quit the course the first week. The major flaw, however, is the book's organization. Obviously someone made a mistake. Little red numbers scattered throughout the text (very distracting) are referring to chapters where the reader can look up information (why would anyone need to look up rubber spatula?). But the book has no chapters, only sections such as Week 1, Week 2, etc. To find an item like stir-frying, one needs to page through the section (a simple page reference would've solved this confusion). The organization is very unfriendly. Index is brief and inadequate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2013
I love the simple presentation of these cooking skills! I took their knife skills class and loved it and had to buy this book. I'd love to take the classes described in these books, but since I'm unable to this book is going to help make me a pro in my own kitchen. I highly recommend it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2013
This is really an excellent book. Rather than focus on recipes, the authors encourage you to experiment with flavors after learning the core techniques of cooking. The "12 Weeks" thing is kind of an inaccurate statement, because I learned a few things I was able to use in under an hour.

If you're looking for a book of recipes, look elsewhere. There are some recipes in this book, but it largely focuses on teaching you how to properly cook a meal. It's fairly obvious that we, as a culture, are obsessed with recipes. This leads to limited creativity in our kitchens, bland or unsatisfying meals, and subsequently fast food. This book can help reverse that trend. Cooking a great meal involves more than just following a set of instructions that tell you how much of what goes into the pan. It involves some finesse that requires you to learn some basic skills.

Things you'll learn:

How to properly hold knives
Proper nomenclature for kitchen tools and how to choose them
Proper nomenclature for types of cuts used and when to implement them
The science that's happening in your kitchen and how to harness it
How to make various breads

How to construct your own recipes
- Soups
- Sauces, Condiments, and Dips

Techniques and uses for
- Stir frying
- Grilling
- Stewing
- Braising
- Steaming
... And much, much more.

I found this book in my local library and liked it so much that I felt it needed to be on my book shelf along with my favorite cook books. I turn to this one most often because I know I'll always learn something new. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to improve their cooking skills and not just expand the number of recipes on hand that they'll never use.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a cookbook for those of us who resolve every January to master the art of cooking. The perfect follow up for those of us who are fans of their previous bestseller Kitchen on Fire!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2012
This is a great book. Anyone can use a tip or two to help their cooking. Well worth the purchase price.
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on February 9, 2015
I am taking the 12 weeks classes now...they are interesting, fun and super useful. This book is a real source of know-how for the home cook, it has recipes but for the sake of practicing the various techniques the are throughly explained with step by step pictures. Special mention to the sauces, "the incredible egg" and the science principles chapters that approach the why's in a simple and intuitive way. If you want to take control of your kitchen this book is a must have.
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on August 28, 2013
Not a lot of recipes, but tons of advice on how to cook. I took a Kitchen on Fire class, loved it, and bought the book. An excellent resource, though it requires actually studying the theory of cooking rather than just following a recipe. Not that I haven't tried the recipes in the book -- they are excellent and easy to follow.
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on April 30, 2015
Great book from a great team at Kitchen on Fire. A good blend of good cooking and nutrition.

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2011
This books is a must for any kitchen. It includes techniques for anyone from novice to experienced. They have even included recipes to practice the techniques. MikeC and Olivier are wonderful teachers and chefs.
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