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
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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.
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