- Also see the new edition of The Gourmet Cookbook, which includes a 45-minute DVD featuring Ruth Reichl's favorite recipes and cooking techniques.
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The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes Hardcover – 2004
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The statistics are indeed impressive: more than 100 hors d'oeuvre recipes; an equal number of vegetable dishes; 200 desserts--21 chapters in all, touching all courses and including stops at breakfast and brunch specialties; breads and crackers; plus sauces, salsas, and preserves. Included are recipes from Gourmet contributors like James Beard and Jean-Georges Vongericten, and hundreds of sidebars like "Salad Greens Primer" and "Blind Baking," all useful and informative. There are classic dishes like onion soup gratiné, gefilte fish, corn fritters, and peanut butter cookies; "new classics" such as fried calamari and spaghetti alla carbonara; and the "modern," including oatmeal brûlée with macerated berries and grilled lobster with orange chipotle vinaigrette--"every recipe you'd ever want," says the text, something of an understatement.
Cooks should know, however, that this is not a basic cookbook, despite its Noah's ark of formulas. Rather, it's a Gourmet cookbook, which means that, notwithstanding some rudimentary recipes, the focus is on the stylishly up-to-date (which is not to deny the excellence of the formulas), resulting, often, in refinements. Thus its recipe for mac and cheese calls for dijon mustard and panko; its beef stroganoff requires cremini mushrooms; its grilled chicken calls for brining; and so on. Recipes can also run to over 450 words, and require unusual ingredients. (A list of sources is provided.) Of all its chapters, those for sweets are the most immediately attractive.
For all the praise, though, there's one major goof. The recipe titles are printed in a light butter-yellow color, making them almost illegible. For many readers, this will be a deal-breaker; others will find it merely annoying. Should you own the book? For dedicated cooks and foodies the answer will be, How can I not? --Arthur Boehm
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
For starters, let me identify that this book is not a new `Joy of Cooking' or `James Beard's American Cookery' or Mark Bittman's `How to Cook Everything'. These three very large recipe collections are systematic teaching texts. Every chapter includes notes on the primary raw material and the primary cooking method. `The Gourmet Cookbook' is primarily a collection of recipes claimed to be the 1000 best, selected from 60 years of publishing over 10,000 recipes. The most famous similar cookbook is Craig Claiborne's `The New York Times Cookbook'. Reichl has improved a bit on Claiborne by adding some features appearing in the `Joy of Cooking' style of book such as sidebars on ingredients, tips, and techniques. I will approach evaluating this very big book by evaluating individual aspects and adding up the score at the end.
Selection of Topics: Comprehensive, but just a bit oddly organized. The chapter titles represent either a type of ingredient such as poultry, vegetables, and shellfish; a type of dish such as soup, salad, bread, and pie; or meal such as breakfast and brunch and first courses. I had a hard time finding the sticky bun recipe Reichl touted on the `Today' show because it was in `Breakfast and Brunch' and not in `Breads'.Read more ›
I think this is one of the most user-friendly large cookbooks I have come across in a long time.
The recipes, however, have been wonderful. I've purchased a number of cookbooks where flawed recipes present themselves quickly (beware of The Bread Bible's foccacia, e.g.), but I've found only winners in this cookbook so far. The flourless chocolate cake (p. 739) is much simpler to prepare than its taste suggests, and people at work raved about it for some time after I brought it in. Pumpkin apple bread (p.599), Banana, coconut, and macadamia nut bread (p.599-600), and rice pudding (p.827) have all been definite winners as well. I consider The New Joy of Cooking to set the benchmark for reliable-workhorse cookbooks, and so far I'm much more pleased with this cookbook than that old favorite! Enthusiastic 5+ stars for content; 3 stars for layout.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All Gourmet publications have always been top notch. If you tried to cook everything in this book it would take you years. It is quite extensive, well written, and is a must have.Published 22 days ago by Canuco
This is such a great reference and it's great to be able to get it for almost 25% of the original price. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sarah George
One of the best cookbook out there! Every time I try a recipe out of this book, it gets raves. It is my "go to" book on any recipe I am working on. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jean
"The only cookbook you'll ever need" Well, maybe so and maybe not, but in any case this is one excellent (and gigantic) cookbook. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kathryn Carter
whenever I think of something I'd like to eat, I find a wonderful recipe for it in here. really a marvelous cookbook, full of utterly delicious dishes. thank you!Published 5 months ago by poetry_lover_in_santa_cruz
With 1,000 recipes you are bound to find several ideas to please your palate. This is a superbly well put together book with a little introduction for each of the recipes. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Daniel