From Publishers Weekly
In all ways to-the-point, Costello and Reich's guidebook offer kitchen commandments for a realm that often tends to a little of this, a little of that thinking. Costello's culinary skills are well matched with Reich's pithy writing in more than 200 directives on everything from cooking duck to ripening fruit, for which they lay down the major rules of cooking and kitchen conduct in as few as a couple of lines. Beginning cooks will find relief in their strong declarations—Do not stuff a turkey; Always preheat the oven—instructions that, once learned by heart, make cooking easier and end with better food. The explanations for these rules are succinct but amply informative so as to please anyone who has cooked long enough to already be following them instinctively; they draw on basic kitchen science as well as the collective knowledge of culinary experts like Jeffrey Steingarten and Michael Nischan to make a case for the validity of their decrees. Some notes are less concretely didactic than others (Chicken is the test of a cook's versatility, for example), or leave room for interpretation (Dress salad lightly), but all are brightly informative enough to help cooks make better decisions and, in the end, be more productive and happier in the kitchen. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Library Journal
This small primer by restaurateur and chef Costello and coauthor Reich (Notes on Directing
) delivers both practical and philosophical advice beyond what one will find in a cookbook. Its goal is to pass on knowledge that will help readers think
like a chef, not merely follow a recipe. Some 217 "notes", or entries, are organized into 19 topical chapters that can be read in any order and include cross references among the notes. The notes offer simple advice like remembering to date and label perishables to lesser-known tips like how to pick the healthiest chicken in the grocer’s case and testing eggs for freshness. The authors also include appendixes on flavor lexicon, classic combinations, and cooking essentials as well as 11 annotated recommended readings. Verdict:
Both novice and more experienced cooks will appreciate the plethora of useful and valuable advice here. Overall, a delightful culinary resource.