First, a word of warning - most of these recipes you can get free online at America's Test Kitchen The Feed (AmericasTestKitchenFeed [dot] com). I was unaware of that when I ordered the book, so I just paid for a book of recipes that I already had for free and was very disappointed. THIS WAS MY MISTAKE AND WILL NOT AFFECT MY RATING.
With that said, it's a good book. If you are the type of person that prefers to have all of your recipes in a book instead of a digital copy, I recommend getting it. If you're a kitchen geek like I am and would love to learn how to make your own root beer and cured meats, the America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook provides a nice foundation. It is very basic and touches on a few different topics like pickled vegetables, jams and jellies, homemade nutella, and charcuterie. It had only a handful of recipes for each topic and doesn't go into any great depth about each item.
I think that it might be a good book to give you an idea what each preparation is like and help you decide if you would like to learn more about each topic.
I guess if I have one compliant it is it should be thicker and cover more recipes. Pickled daikon and sag panneer (sp) didn't make the cut. However, it's a great book for learning all those odd skills that used to be part of cooking. I've been making bacon, pickling, playing at cheese making and brewing for a bit and this book would have been a great help when we started. For one, it has color pictures of steps for each project and very detailed instructions. It's not as good as having Dad or Grandma teach you to do it, but they are better than anything else I've seen and it covers a lot of ground. The book touches on fermentation, pickling, cheese-making, etc so you get an idea of the range of things to do as well as how complicated they are. It's definitely a keeper.
I really like this book, typical of America's Test Kitchen's other publications with pictures along with the why's and how's and I'm looking forward to trying them. However, I do have two criticisms whenever long term storage (canning) recipes are referenced. Many of the pickling recipes have alternate vinegars that may not be at least 5% acid - key to safety and I'd feel better if they made a point of saying that in every recipe where vinegars are used along with long term storage instructions. Also, the Big Batch Summer Sauce (tomato sauce) gives a processing time for quarts that is less than half the time specified by the National Center for Home Food Preservation - again, a safety issue.
I was about to not buy this book because another review told me that all of these recipes are available for free on the America's Test Kitchen Feed site. That was a great tip and review because I never knew about that site before and it was a great find. However, when I started to look at what was available online and what was in this book (according to the description) I noticed that a lot of the recipes in this book where not online. I ended up buying the book and am really happy I did. This book has a lot more recipes than are available online.
I just made pickled beets with this book and I had never pickled or canned a thing in my life. I was a bit intimidated but when I read through the instructions they laid things out so simply. It was easy to follow and I ended up having a great, easy time. The recipe started out with a story about how the recipe came to be and why each step is there. This is really great if you want to make any deviations from the recipe. This doesn't just give you straight instructions on how to replicate what they made, but really explains to you why each step is there and what it does for the whole process. FYI the beets turned out tasty!
My husband and I have a ridiculously extensive library of America's Test Kitchen cookbooks and we subscribe to their magazines as well. We keep saying that we don't need anymore of their cookbooks, but then they come out with stuff like this and we can't help ourselves. I wanted this as soon as they put it out for pre-purchase. Reading some of the reviews on this, however, made me somewhat unsure how I would like it.
My husband made fun of me for purchasing yet another ATK cookbook, but we when we got it I couldn't pry it out of his hands long enough to look at it myself. Obviously, we like to cook and we are especially interested in DIY. I like to can in the summer, so I was particularly excited about canning recipes from ATK. There is nothing more disappointing than making a giant batch of jelly, going to the trouble of canning it, only to have it turn out...meh. Or worse, turn out awful. But I knew with canning recipes from ATK, they would turn out good. There weren't as many canning recipes as I would have liked, however; so, if you are getting this book specifically for canning recipes then you will probably be disappointed.
My biggest beef with ATK cookbooks is usually the sheer amount of repeats. If you subscribe to their magazine and have their cookbooks, you will know what I mean. Also, some of these recipes are online for free on their blog, as another reviewer mentioned. However, for me this did not detract from the usefulness of this book. I still think there are a lot of recipes in here that are not on their blog and also I generally prefer using a cookbook than using the internet or printing out a recipe. So, I have been quite pleased with this.Read more ›