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Customer Review

336 of 365 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My New Favorite Cookbook, October 2, 2011
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This review is from: The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook (Hardcover)
Summary - A Great cookbook for someone who wants to cook, not look at pictures of someone else's cooking.

For those of you unfamiliar with Cook's Illustrated, it is this great magazine dedicated to making it easier to cook great food. This cookbook keeps up that tradition by compiling and modernizing recipes from the magazine without loosing the informative method of presenting not only the recipe but the background about why something works, what to use to get the best result, and what tools work the best. This is not a cookbook full of glossy pictures of professionally photographed prepared dishes, it is the cook's cookbook, with the necessary illustrations (done as line drawings) to get the job done. Those of you familiar with the magazine will feel right at home, since the cookbook is done in the exact same style. Typical sidebars include:

Illustrated guides to complete a task (i.e. - Trimming a chuck-eye roast, Folding Bread Dough, Slicing a Soft Cake so it looks perfect, etc.)
Test Kitchen Tips (i.e. - Key Tips to perfect Pasta, Buying Scallops, etc.)
Why A Recipe Works (i.e. - Why the recipe is structured a certain way to get the best result)

Index - The book is adequately indexed, but indexes never quite think the way you do, so a little logic is still required to find what you are looking for (i.e. - Coffee Cakes is under Cakes and nor cross-referenced under Coffee and Cakes themselves are sub-grouped in the index (Cakes, Cakes - Chocolate, Cakes - Savory).

Negatives - The book's pages could be of a heavier weight for my liking. I understand that this is a big book already with so many recipes, but the paper feels fragile in my hand. Also, the binding seems thin and only time will tell if this binding will hold up to the heavy use I plan on putting it through. Lastly, I really it when cookbooks include bookmarking ribbons to allow me to quickly flip through multiple recipes quickly when I am preparing a couple of recipes simultaneously. For these reasons, I subtracted a star.

Value - This is a great value even with my few negatives.

Ideas for Making it Better - In the way of improvement, I wonder why a book like this is not offered digitally. I have a Pad Computer and a Kitchen Computer, both of which I use while cooking, so having a cookbook that offers me the ability to thumb through for recipes digitally would be nice. I would like to see companies offer both, similar to what they do now with textbooks, so you can have the paper and the digital at one lower combined price.

Contents - The compilers waste no time with long introductions or discussions on what cooking is about. They dive right into recipes, a lot of recipes, and spread the information throughout the book teaching you why something is the way it is when you need to know it. The style of this cookbook is to get you to dive right in and start cooking, not admiring the professionally prepared dishes or reading endless text on how to separate an egg. Organized logically, it includes:

- Appetizers
*Nuts, cheese, and eggs
*Shrimp and Salmon
*Dips, Spreads, and Salsas
*Nachos and Quesadillas
*Bruschetta and Tarts
*Spring Rolls and Dumplings
*Vinaigrette and Dressings
*Green Salads
*Vegetable Salads
*Deli Salads
*Chicken Salads, Tuna Salads and More
*Chicken and Beef Soups
*Vegetable and Bean Soups
*Chowders and More
*Croutons and Other Garnishes
-Chilis, Stews, and Braises
-Curries, Stir-Fries, and Asian Noodles
*Vegetable Stir Fries
*Chicken, Meat and Shrimp Stir Fries
*Fried Rice and Noodles
*Pasta Sauces
*Pasta with Olive Oil or Cream Sauces
*Pasta with Tomato Sauces
*Pasta with Meat Sauces
*Pasta with Chicken or Seafood
*Pasta with Vegetables
*Whole Meat Pasta Dishes
*Fresh Pasta and Filled Pasta
*Manicotti, Lasagna, and other Baked Pasta Dishes
-Rice, Grains, and Beans
*Stuffed Vegetables and Vegetable Mains
*Chicken Cutlets and Breasts
*Bone-in Chicken Parts
*Fried and Stuffed Chicken
*Whole Roast Chicken
*Chicken & Rice Dishes, Pot Pies, and Enchiladas
*Cornish Game Hens and Duck
-Fish and Shellfish
*Pork and Lamb
*Fish and Shellfish
*Barbeque Sauces
-Eggs and Breakfast
*Eggs and Egg Dishes
*French Toast, Pancakes, and waffles
*Oatmeal and Granola
*Bacon and Potatoes
-Quick Breads and Coffee Cakes
*Biscuits, Scones, and Muffins
*Popovers, Doughnuts, and Buns
*Coffee Cakes
*Quick Breads
-Yeast Breads and rolls
-Pizza, Calzones, and Flatbreads
-Cookies, Brownies, and Bars
*Cookie Jar Classics
*Shortbread and Other Butter Cookies
*Madeline, Biscotti, and More
*Brownies, Bar Cookies, and Candy
*Classic Layer, Sheet, and Snack Cakes
Chocolate Cakes and Occasional Cakes
*Cakes with Fruit
Pound Cakes And Bundt Cakes
Angel Food and Chiffon Cakes
*Pudding Cakes
-Pies and Tart Crusts
*Fruit Pies
*Custard and Cream Pies
-Fruit Deserts
*Shortbread, Cobblers, Crisps, and More
*Simple Fruit Desserts
-Puddings, Custards, and Frozen Desserts
*Puddings and Custards
*Ices, Soberts, and Sherberts
*Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt
*Desert Sauces and Whipped Cream

Recommendation - I would recommend this Cookbook and plan on giving it as a gift to several of my friends.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 4, 2011 12:54:48 PM PDT
FuzzyChicken says:
If you want a digital version sign up for their website, which has everything they have done...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2011 1:35:32 PM PDT
Robert says:
Good idea, although a Kindle or PDF can be more useful than the web on many occasions and allows more flexibility of annotation and book marking.

Posted on Oct 6, 2011 2:47:21 PM PDT
A kindle edition now appears to be available!

Posted on Nov 19, 2011 9:23:39 AM PST
It sounds like this is a review for the hard copy book version, not the Kindle version.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2011 9:39:39 AM PST
Robert says:
That's great!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2011 9:40:35 AM PST
Robert says:
That is true. It is a review for the hardcover version. I per-ordered the book and received it prior to a digital version being available, which it now is.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2016 10:49:58 AM PST
Amy says:
Problem with their website is that they soak you for money every month for the rest of your life. And it's not a trivial amount of money, either. I'd rather buy their books that provide comprehensive collections of their recipes, like this one . . . Except that I'm wondering whether there would be too much overlap between this book and the Complete ATK TV Show book, covering the show up to 2016, which I just bought recently.
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Location: New Hope, PA United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 15,739