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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm not an absolute beginner when it comes to cooking. I know how to make the things I like but I wanted to expand my skills beyond just my tastes.

Pros:
1. Plenty of recipes to try; They are all rated from Easy to Hard.
2. Most of the ingredients are typical things in a basic pantry or fridge (flour, sugar, olive oil, salt/pepper, cheese, bread, potatoes, etc.) I don't recall anything exotic that a trip to a typical grocery couldn't solve.
3. Directions are clear enough for someone who has basic skills/experience in the kitchen.
4. Almost half the recipes have tips regarding typical situations "How do I save chicken for another meal?", "How to choose the right olive oil", "What is evaporated milk?" .
5. Quite a number of vegetarian and even vegan dishes (for a carnivore, I was very interested in these).

Cons:
1. There are NO pictures throughout the book. For a book geared towards "absolute" beginners and people who regularly burn things, this is not acceptable.
2. Very small appendix which talks about typical kitchen utensils and cooking terms. The terms are no more helpful than just looking them up in a dictionary. You'd be better off Googling "How to juilienne *insert produce here*" The kitchen section pretty much saids "pots and pans, a cutting board, and some knives..."

Overall, I'd recommend this book if it dropped below the ten dollar price point and if you're looking for a little guidance or ideas with meals. Absolute beginners should look elsewhere.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this as a joke Christmas present for my boyfriend who is always claiming "I don't know how to cook" when it comes his turn to make dinner. He actually got excited about some of the recipes and made me lasagna a few days after he got the book. It's not 5 star quality food but it doesn't claim to be. All of the recipes are simple and they also cover basics like browning ground beef, scrambling eggs, and it's really good for someone who's cooking skills were previously limited to boiling water.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It was so hard to find a good cookbook for my son who has NEVER cooked before. This has great, simple and easy to follow recipes in it - some with just a few ingredients, some a bit more challenging (for him anyway) and he has impressed his friends, and even himself.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have lived on my own for a long time and I envy people who know how to cook. I never had anyone teach me and this book was the best. I have made a few recipes. They are simple and inexpensive but they taste amazing!! This has really opened the door to the cooking world. I love this book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It's exactly what the title says. I found if I need tips on basic standards, it's a great tool. I am a beginner, but I underestimated what I already knew, so if you are a true beginner, this book is for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
It was a great cook book! I love the baked chicken provolone. Only problem is that it doesn't have any steak recipes. But all the other ones are great! Buy it. It is worth it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have had this cookbook for a few years now and wanted to share it with a friend and my daughter. The recipes are simple and almost always delicious. As the title says "You Can't Mess Up". It is good for the most seasoned cook all the way down to the beginner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
My friend told me, " girl you know I don't know how to cook". while I was thinking of what I would get her for her birthday and I thought she doesn't know how to cook so i'll get her a cookbook. The first cookbook that popped up was this one, almost exactly quoting what my friend told me. Needless to say she loves it and is planning to cook all these meals. The recipes in this book look very delicious and I love how it has the 3 levels easy, medium, and hard. Must have cookbook for people of all ages.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
all of my children like to cook, and with a title like this i think that its a fun little gift to them from there father.. also suprise its a good cookbook.. got one for myself as well and its easy to read.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I grew up in the shadow of the best cook I have ever known, my mom. I learned how to bake from scratch, cook a roast chicken that could make grown men weep and create perfect meringue. I barely needed recipes. But after an illness that almost cost me my life I found my recovering self to be pretty useless at a lot of things I used to do effortlessly, especially cooking. Devastated (and still needing to eat real food) I bought a handful of beginner's cookbooks so I could follow the instructions instead of relying on my damaged memory. This cook book really helped. I have a bookmark permanently inserted next to 'Slow-Cooked Swiss Steak", which on first try became the first meal my husband enjoyed thoroughly in many, many months! There are the easy recipes (grilled cheese) and normal dinner recipes (Garlicky Pasta with Shrimp), the basics (quiche lorraine, homey desserts, fired rice), what I call normal food, food that other people will eat if you make it. It has been a life saver for me and would make a perfect entry level cookbook for anyone.
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