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What's a Cook to Do?: An Illustrated Guide to 484 Essential Tips, Techniques, and Tricks Paperback – April 19, 2007
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From the Back Cover
How To season a cast-iron skillet, bake a perfect fruit tart, form crystal-clear ice cubes, make the perfect burger, decide which breading is best for veal scaloppine and chicken breasts, know where to position the wineglass.
Whether it's about peeling, or chopping or carving, or blending or whipping, or even restaurant etiquette, it's all here, compiled into 484 entries by master teacher and award-winning author James Peterson. Packed with 533 step-by-step color photographs, hundreds of inspired ideas, and dozens of delicious recipes.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book falls into a rather small niche of culinary works. It is not a `scientific' work like those from Alton Brown (`I'm Just Here for the Food') and Shirley Corriher (`Cookwise'). It is also not a formal manual of professional cooking techniques like Jacques Pepin's `Complete Techniques' or the author's own `Essentials of Cooking'. The best recent book in it's category is the issue from `Fine Cooking' magazine, `How to Break an Egg', which I liked quite a bit, but Peterson's book is better. If you are a `foodie', you will want both, but if you feel you only want one, Peterson's is the one to get.
The major reason lies in the fact that as in all of Peterson's books, he writes with the kind of good humored common sense which engenders trust in his advice, even more than his impressive resume as a chef, author, and teacher. The best symptom of this common sense is revealed when his advice is simply more accurate than that offered in `How to Break an Egg' for example. Both books correctly warn against leaving a stock in the dangerous temperature range that encourages bacterial growth. But, on two points, Peterson's advice is superior. First, he more correctly identifies the upper range of the danger zone to be 140 degrees Fahrenheit rather than `Fine Cooking's 120 degrees. Second, Peterson points out that as long as the stock is above the danger point, applying coolant is a waste of ice.Read more ›
Even if you already know how to chop an onion or peel a tomato, this book can be extremely helpful. For one tip, Peterson categorizes herbs as either watery and oily. For another, he tells you what type of pork chops should be braised rather than sauteed. His advice can be unconventional (telling you to skip the browning stage when making a stew) or middlebrow (suggesting the use of jarred mayonnaise as a starter when making homemade).
Recipes are embedded throughout, although they're so under-written as to barely qualify as recipes. This is actually beneficial, as it encourages you to develop your cooking instincts and think for yourself. That being said, I have found I wouldn't mind a bit more information when trying some of his baking recipes.
Nonetheless, this is a great book, and I wish it were written years ago.
because of the existing 5-star reviews. This book is tips from his other
cookbooks, taken out of context. This information might be helpful to
an ambitious advanced beginner, but is too much for a rank beginner.
Experienced cooks might find a tip or two that's useful - unfortunately,
they will also find plenty of other tips to disagree with as well.
The photos are good, but in far too many of them the pans and trays full
of ingredients are not the quantities that a home cook would deal with.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even for the long time cook it provides solid useful and interesting information.
Purchased one for me and three for gifts!!!
This is probably an excellent book for a beginning cook. Personally, having many years' experience, I was a bit disappointed that it did not contain tips for recovering from... Read morePublished 10 months ago by KS
A good book for learning the basics about cooking.Published 10 months ago by Abdul Wahab Abdul Hamid
On Kindle it jumps to different pages instead of going page to page. Great topics and hints-I love anything by James Peterson!!!Published 10 months ago by T. Darling
Since I am one of those people Who love to play in the kitchen this book has been a good reference and guide. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Brian S. Weddle
Buy it! The best tips you can get as a cook. Simple and common sense.Published 14 months ago by Old School MTB