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The Perfect Recipe Hardcover – April 25, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618132694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618132690
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Have you ever felt a little besieged by recipes? Ever opened up the newspaper to the food page and found yet more recipes that may or may not taste like anything you might want to have in your mouth? Ever longed for simplicity, for that one recipe you know is going to work time and time again? And not a recipe for some weird combination of foods that don't belong together on a plate, but for the kind of dishes you put on your table over and over again? Ever wondered what cookbook to send off to college with your child, the one who has been eating you out of house and home but for whom cooking is pouring milk on cold cereal? Pam Anderson, executive editor of Cook's Illustrated, has your answer.

"I wanted a stir-fry formula that I could commit to memory and make with meat, vegetables, and flavorings I had on hand, and a number of different sauces," Anderson writes. "I wanted a chicken pot pie that I'd actually have time to get on the table on weeknights, and macaroni and cheese that both my kids and I would eat. I wanted foolproof coleslaw and potato salads that would go with all sorts of dishes.... I wanted answers to questions that had been dogging me for years. Which cut of beef is best for stew? When mashing potatoes, which comes first: the butter or the milk?"

The Perfect Recipe answers these and many, many more questions. Anderson sets herself the task of finding the perfect recipes for, say, chicken stock, and explains how she got to her result. You end up learning a little bit about the science and chemistry of cooking. Then she gives you several delicious, and perfect, recipes for chicken soup. Or clam chowder. Or beef onion soup. She walks you through chicken and, after having roasted 40 turkeys, she shows you how to get perfect results every time. Her brownies are every bit as fudgy, chewy, and cakey as she claims. Her muffins are divine.

While most of these recipes are for everyday foods (and what could be more important?), there are a number of recipes dedicated to entertaining--how to cook the perfect prime rib even though you only do it once a year, for example. Anderson truly delivers the building blocks of good, sound, flavorful cooking--the kind of cooking you can always count on. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Anderson, executive editor of Cook's Illustrated, follows in the footsteps of Christopher Kimball, CI's editor/publisher and author of The Cook's Bible, and Shirley O. Corriher, author of 1997 James Beard Award-winning CookWise. All detail their efforts through trial and error to find the best way to prepare specific recipes and rightfully claim considerable authority. Anderson's quest began as a personal mission to find the best way to cook "dishes I prepared frequently." Starting with 34 recipes for favorite American foods, from chicken soup and meat loaf to potato salad and strawberry shortcake, she recounts her attempts at perfection and then offers her tested variations of some 150 recipes. She is generous in paying credit to cooks from whom she learnedAe.g., Corriher, Edna Lewis, Betty FussellAand imparts valuable tips along with her own conclusions. Low-fat yogurt used as a moistener adds a nice tang to Meat Loaf. Brining brings out the best in Oven-Roasted Turkey with Giblet Pan Sauce. To achieve lush, large Muffins that rise right and overhang their cups, triple the recipe. For a non-weeping Lemon Meringue Pie, reheat the filling before piling on the beaten egg whites. While covering territory mapped by others, Anderson offers distinctive guidelines on her route to reliable, speedy kitchen success. Line drawings by Judy Love. BOMC Good Cook selection; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Pam Anderson considers herself Every Cook. A New York Times bestselling author, she has been cooking nearly everyday for over 30 years. With six published books and her seventh out this fall, she brings satisfying recipes and sage advice to both novice and veteran cooks. Whether you're on a quest for the perfect brownie, wanting to get dinner on the table effortlessly, hoping to entertain more simply, attempting to shed pounds permanently, or looking to eat delicious meatless, Pam can help. AARP's official food expert, she is a food columnist for USA Weekend and Runner's World magazines. Pam is former Executive Editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine. Her food articles have appeared in many food magazines. She teaches cooking classes across the country and appears frequently on TV and radio.

See what Pam's up to on her blog: www.threemanycooks.com

Customer Reviews

Every recipe I've made from this book has turned out great!
Gordon M. Wagner
I know nothing about cooking and this is the best book I've ever read.
John Rensenhouse
I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about quality cooking.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 90 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is virtually the same book as "The Best Recipe" by the editors of Cooks Illustrated. I think that "The Best Recipe" is more comprehensive. "The Perfect Recipe" does seem to be laid out in a manner that would be easier to follow as you cook. You don't need both, in any case. The recipes are the SAME!
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Lover VINE VOICE on June 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent cookbook for someone who wants to get their recipes "just right." As a novice cook, I learned a great deal from this book, which explains in detail the processes the author went through in trying to create the "perfect recipe" for staple dishes such as prime rib, fried chicken, meatloaf, apple pie, and muffins.
This cookbook, like all cookbooks, isn't perfect (despite the title). In fact the worst thing about this book is the title, becuase it creates impossibly high expectations for all the recipes. For example, the meat loaf recipe is decent, but hardly "perfect." On the other hand, the basic muffin recipe is marvelous and is indeed the best recipe for muffins I have ever tried. The pancake and brownie recipes are similarly magnificent.
So, on the whole, an excellent cookbook written by a chef who knows her stuff. Just lower your expectations and try more than one recipe before giving up.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having cooked for a family for the last 30 years, I have several cookbooks as well as recipes I've printed off the web in my cooking library. It was refreshing to see that in this book I could now find the answer to some age-old problems I've encountered with basic comfort foods, like roast turkey (getting MOIST white AND dark meat), (evenly-cooked) prime rib and (crisp, not weepy and soggy) lemon meringue pie. I also found it interesting to read about the processes performed to find the "perfect" recipe. This book is a find for the new or beginner cook. As a more experienced cook, I was thrilled to find solutions to those cooking "nightmares."
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. Henning on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Whenever we entertain and want to make a dish that dazzles people, I turn to one of four cookbooks and this is one of them. The recipes are so clear and they work every time. Not only does the food taste great, this cookbook tells the reader what works, what doesn't, and why. I have complete faith in The Perfect Recipe. The meals also make for special dinners with your spouse.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having gotten "The Best Recipe," (The other latest cookbook from the editors of Cook's Illustrated" and loving it, I thought I'd buy this as well, and was somewhat dissappointed because they seemed to have overlapped. They are both WONDERFUL books, however, I think you only need one.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have been a gourmet cook for over ten years and have mastered the exciting, pretty dishes. But after having kids, I realized the need for "comfort" food recipes. The recipes in this cookbook are easy to prepare and a hit with the kids. For those who complain about the high fat content, try adding a salad and some veggies with your main dish...just like Grandma.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By zzzbc on November 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent Book. Each recipe explains what elements were tested (e.g., cooking temperature, cooking time, ingredient mix, what seasonings how much and when, correct cooking methods). I consider myself, at the least, an experienced cook, even if I can not claim to be an excellent one. Pam's research easily improved my technique on several classic favorites.
Sorry ...no glossy photos...don't be put off by that...it is wonderful, concise, and easy reading.
Ok Let's get serious: Chicken Soup, Clam Chowder, Beef Soup, Stir Fry, Macaroni and Cheese,Pizza, Chicken, Fried Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie, Hamburger*, Meat Loaf*, Beef Stew**, Special Dinners: Roast Turkey, Cornish Hen, Prime Rib, Pork Roast, Lobster. Side Dishes: Cole Slaw, Greens, Corn-on-the-cob, Potato Salad, Mashed Potatoes. Breads: Bread, Corn Bread, Muffins, Pancakes. Desserts: Various Cobblers, Strawberry Shortcake, Apple Pie, Lemon Meringue, Cream Pie, Cheese Cake (various textures), Brownies, Rolled Cookies. That's It. She has done her homework and you will be a better cook for having bought the book. I have not read "Cook's Illustrated" so I can't comment.
Brian
P.S. For 5 stars, you got to have those glossy photos. Am I right?
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Trecia Munal on April 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I owned at least fifty cookbooks. This one is the best! I am a full time working mom and my family thinks I am the best cook. I have tried at least ten of the recipes and they are all good. This book is a must for anyone who hates to cook or just doesn't have the time.
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