14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Cook's Bible: The Best of American Home Cooking (Hardcover)
Having been cooking simple and complex meals for some years now, reading a wide range of cookbooks both anthologized and specialized, and learning about culinary theory in food preparation, I am skeptical about any author who attempts to present The Best of anything. Ordinarily I would dismiss "The Best Of" subtitles as the hype of publishers wanting to attract a reader's eye; in Kimball's case, though, I think he means it. His "Cook's Illustrated" and cottage industry of cookbooks has no lesser goal than providing the last word on home culinary technique.
As a more or less complete cookbook, the pretentiously named "Cook's Bible" fares adequately. I have read it carefully and tried a number of its selections.... As has been noted, Kimball's recipes are not always reliable, some of his writing is dated, and his insistence that he knows best obscures the fact that culinary tastes vary and preferences are wide ranging. I admire the use of test kitchens and trial cooks, but there are many of them in existence, and each has developed a cookbook or series of books. They all provide variations on the themes, suggesting that in many cases, taste is in the mouth of the beholder.
Kimball brings an overly somber, compulsive, almost joyless attitude to cooking. I find his writing to be pompous, absent of the glee and zest other food writers display. He rarely admits to variety in cuisine and assumes that his is the only worthwhile opinion, seeming to need to be correct and authoritative. He is systematic, and he offers advise about technique that can be helpful, especially to beginning cooks. I'm not sure I would be able to recommend just one cookbook for all needs;....