So you'd like to...

learn to cook?

A guide by Patrick W. Crabtree "The Old Grottomaster" (Lucasville, OH USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Products sampled from this guide:
I've managed several nice restaurants in a resort setting but I'm not a chef -- I'm a home cook who enjoys preparing all manner of dishes from scratch, everything from burritos to standing ribs. I also do a little baking. You can learn to cook easily enough -- it's not rocket science but you do need to do some reading and then jump in and try the recipes and techniques you've learned.

If you wish to get started right away, acquire one of these two DVD sets (I have also listed the cookbooks which go with the videos -- see my reviews for details):

Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way
Fast Food My Way
(Be advised that the above DVD set does not contain video versions of all the recipes which are listed in the book.)

Jacques Pepin: More Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin More Fast Food My Way

Jacques Pépin, in my opinion, is the most highly skilled chef on television -- you can read all about his chefing career in The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen.

There are lots of cookbooks which are okay (and many awful ones!) but here are some which are nothing short of the very finest available. If you can arm yourself with these foundational and specialized cookbooks, you will soon be at the head of the cooking class after you have read them:

Foundational recipe cookbooks:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking
(Try to acquire an old 1961-66 hardcover edition rather than a revised one.)

The James Beard Cookbook

Alice B Toklas Cookbook
(Make every effort to get the 1954 London hardcover first edition if you can find one.)

Jacques Pepin's Simple and Healthy Cooking

Joy of Cooking
(Get the most up-to-date edition that you can find.)

Mr. Food Cooks Like Mama
(This is my favorite cookbook and a great place to begin.)

The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook

Best-Loved Cookies

Food Cooking of Mexico

Weber's Big Book of Grilling

A LA Seattle: Restaurant Recipes
(This will get you started on some great no-fail seafood recipes.)

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen

Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes

Frugal Gourmet

The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome

Breaking Bread with Father Dominic

Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book

The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art


General information culinary books:

Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques

The Way to Cook

Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today (10th Edition) (Betty Crocker New Cookbook)

The Armchair James Beard


There are tons of books detailing all the various kitchen devices and available herbs and spices. From my view, the two most important kitchen issues beyond pots and pans are sharp knives and the herbs and spices that you use and which MUST be fresh of you'll be disappointed with your cooking results. The latter you can acquire from Penzey's (online) until you begin to discover your own favorite little places to obtain particular herbs and spices (I love Kokopelli's Kitchen for my Mexican spices.)

As for the knives, you need great ones which can be re-sharpened and you don't need to break the bank to acquire them -- I love these and recently bought a set for my daughter:

Cuisinart 14-Piece Triple-Riveted Forged Knife Set with Bonus Santoku Knife

Finally, I much recommend that you go online and join either Recipezaar or All Recipes. Both are free; you'll have access to a million recipes, most of which have been rated by the membership, and; the members will immediately answer your questions on the chat forums during cooking emergencies. I use Recipezaar and have over 300 recipes posted there [all free] under my "Bone Man" screen name which anyone can access through my profile.

I'll make every effort to update this guide as new culinary books and products become available -- happy cooking!

Products mentioned include:
1.  Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way [Multiple Formats] [Color] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Jacques Pepin
$15.13 Used & New from: $15.10
4.6 out of 5 stars   (9)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
2.  Fast Food My Way  by Ben Fink
$23.19 Used & New from: $3.98
4.7 out of 5 stars   (150) | 3 customer discussions
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
3.  Jacques Pepin: More Fast Food My Way [Multiple Formats] [Box set] [Closed-captioned] [Color] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Jacques Pépin
$23.35 Used & New from: $19.14
4.4 out of 5 stars   (22)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
4.  Jacques Pépin More Fast Food My Way  by Jacques Pepin
$21.05 Used & New from: $0.38
4.8 out of 5 stars   (166)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
5.  The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen  by Jacques Pepin
$15.95 Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (160)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
6.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking  by Julia Child
Used & New from: $11.57
4.8 out of 5 stars   (1,251)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
7.  The James Beard Cookbook  by James Beard
Used & New from: $1.67
4.7 out of 5 stars   (51)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
8.  Alice B Toklas Cookbook  by Alice B. Toklas
Out of stock
4.4 out of 5 stars   (32)
  Add to wishlist
9.  Jacques Pepin's Simple and Healthy Cooking  by Jacques Pepin
Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars   (41)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
10.  Joy of Cooking  by Irma S. Rombauer
$23.33 Used & New from: $5.92
4.7 out of 5 stars   (829) | 4 customer discussions
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
11.  Mr. Food Cooks Like Mama  by Art Ginsburg
Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars   (16)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
12.  The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book  by America's Test Kitchen
Used & New from: $27.33
4.9 out of 5 stars   (158) | 2 customer discussions
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
13.  1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook  by Fannie Merritt Farmer
Used & New from: $3.37
4.7 out of 5 stars   (30)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
14.  Best-Loved Cookies  by Various
Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars   (5)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
15.  Food Cooking of Mexico  by Jane Milton
Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars   (3)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
16.  Weber's Big Book of Grilling  by Jamie Purviance
Used & New from: $1.60
4.9 out of 5 stars   (232) | 1 customer discussion
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
17.  A LA Seattle: Restaurant Recipes  by Catherine Grady Crabtree
Used & New from: $0.23
5.0 out of 5 stars   (3)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
18.  Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen  by Paul Prudhomme
$21.18 Used & New from: $0.01
4.9 out of 5 stars   (170)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
19.  Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes  by David Lebovitz
Used & New from: $24.93
4.5 out of 5 stars   (106)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
20.  Frugal Gourmet  by Jeffrey Smith
Used & New from: $0.16
4.4 out of 5 stars   (34)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
21.  The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome [Illustrated]  by Jeffrey Smith
Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (20)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
22.  Breaking Bread with Father Dominic  by Dominic Garramone
Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (19)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
23.  Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book [Facsimile]  by Betty Crocker
$22.99 Used & New from: $0.55
4.7 out of 5 stars   (472) | 2 customer discussions
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
24.  The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes  by Ruth Reichl
Used & New from: $1.33
3.9 out of 5 stars   (180) | 2 customer discussions
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
25.  Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art  by Shizuo Tsuji
Used & New from: $19.74
4.6 out of 5 stars   (60)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
26.  Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques  by Jacques Pepin
Used & New from: $5.95
4.4 out of 5 stars   (97)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
27.  The Way to Cook  by Julia Child
$30.48 Used & New from: $2.50
4.8 out of 5 stars   (177)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
28.  Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today (10th Edition) (Betty Crocker New Cookbook)  by Betty Crocker
Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (239) | 1 customer discussion
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
29.  The Armchair James Beard  by James Beard
Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars   (2)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
30.  Cuisinart 14-Piece Triple-Riveted Forged Knife Set with Bonus Santoku Knife  by Cuisinart
Out of stock
3.9 out of 5 stars   (18)
  Add to wishlist

More Actions

Discover more about this author
 See all of their So You'd Like to...guides
Make your own guide
 Create a So You'd Like to...guide
View your page on Amazon.com
 Go to Your Profile page

Customer Discussions about products in this guide  
   

About this Guide

 

Author

Patrick W. Crabtree "The Old Grottomaster" (Lucasville, OH USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: I cook from scratch almost every day and have done for years
Last updated: 4/5/10
Report abuse
    

More So You'd Like to...

 

Learn Two Ways to Bouillabaisse Learn Two Ways to Bouillabaisse

Learn Two Ways to Bouillabaisse: A guide of 50 items by Katie Rider

Go behind the scenes of the food industry Go behind the scenes of the food industry

Go behind the scenes of the food industry: A guide of 50 items by Y. McCloskey "booklover918"

   

More Listmania!

 

Roland's ESSENTIAL cookbooks (well, the first five anyways...) Roland's ESSENTIAL cookbooks (well, the first five anyways...)

Roland's ESSENTIAL cookbooks (well, the first five anyways...): A list of 27 items by Example: Mark Twain

Tasty food books that'll make your mouth water & keep you up all night Tasty food books that'll make your mouth water & keep you up all night

Tasty food books that'll make your mouth water & keep you up all night: A list of 40 items by Y. McCloskey "booklover918"

Austin Farm to Table Austin Farm to Table

Austin Farm to Table: A list of 21 items by Kristi Willis

Great books about life of Chefs / professional kitchens Great books about life of Chefs / professional kitchens

Great books about life of Chefs / professional kitchens: A list of 30 items by Jitti Chaithiraphant

For Cooks and Foodies For Cooks and Foodies

For Cooks and Foodies: A list of 10 items by I. Kadagidze "crazyaboutbooks"