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Showing 1-10 of 61 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 97 reviews
on November 13, 2005
Years ago I stopped collecting cookbooks and gave most of them away. Except for Mark Bittman.

This book is AWESOME. This man got is all right. The book is uniquely creative, wonderfully conceived, and easily approachable. There is no food snobbery here. The joy of this book, as with Mr. Bittmans columns and his great book "How To Cook Everything" is that it is specifically designed for the home chef. It is for we who really enjoy producing first rate food without being bent out of shape by finding totally esoteric and hard to find ingredients. By the standards set forth in this book it is okay if you want a first rate kitchen and do not own a truffle shaver. Or a caviar chiller. Or a personal killer wine cellar. Or the budget of the former Shah of Iran. But you do have the will to create and experience great food.

There are so many things to commend this book: The description that precedes each recipe is invaluable. The recipes themselves are absolutely wonderful. The well thought out and carefully constructed list of basic and more unusual ingredients for the shelf of the home cook is perfectly constructed with sense and with an organization that gives the cook a real understanding of ingredients used in the recipes. From garam masala to Thai Fish Sauce to fresh and dried herbs and spices, all is explained and de-mystified. And the organization of recipes is unusual and well thought out since they are placed within a category according to the method of cooking (IE Braising, roasting, grilling, et al.)

Not least in the lexicon of commendations to this huge collection is that we are introduced to foods that are not common to the American home cook, the book is heavily laced with mid and far eastern cuisine, as well as the more familiar French and Italian and other ethnic foods, and thus our repertoire of that which we prepare expands with flavors that are just terrific. Mr. Bittman is also an author with a gift for writing clearly and in a self effacing style that belies his great culinary knowledge and talent. I am never intimidated by his recipes. I am always inspired.

Cookbooks just do not get any better than this.
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on April 26, 2011
This book is good for those who don't have access to many exotic ingredients, or who want something a little different without being too foreign. The information on exotic ingredients is somewhat limited and it's all text so there will be no pictures to let you know if what you created looks remotely like intended. But the directions are easy, and most people will be able to find the ingredients for most dishes.

This book could be disappointing for those who are familiar with international cuisine. I found some of the southeast Asian recipes leave out or substitute key ingredients that change the essence of the dish... An analogy would be someone in an Asian country making French crepes substituting sesame oil and rice flour. Yes, they are still crepes--and probably taste really good--but are they really 'French'? The author has westernized the Asian recipes so that they will not offend most North American palates. They still taste ok, but my family comments they don't have that underlying oomph.

I can't comment on the authenticity of the European dishes, but the Swedish pancakes were a big hit in my house. I'll probably hang onto this book for all the western recipes, but it's not the all-in-one book I was hoping for... I have Maddhur Jaffrey's 'World Vegetarian' which is outstanding for meatless food. But I'm still searching for the World Cookbook that includes meat.
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on November 2, 2012
My wife laughs because I sometimes refer to Bittman as "my master" his How to Cook Everything more or less taught be how to cook and this book is a great extension of that, as we really enjoy toying around with various ethnic dishes. Overall, these recipes are true to Bittman's minimalistic approach, significantly de-mystifying international cooking and are also authentic as best we can tell (we definitely can't claim to know what authentic is all the cuisines sampled in this book). However, and this a big however, the Kindle version could be significantly improved by the addition of page numbers and hyperlinks. This is a huge drawback to the Kindle edition and makes navigation rather difficult. Since so many internal references ("serve this with X recipe found on page X") are based on page numbers, just adding these would make this book significantly better. So the book gets 5 stars for the content but -1 (maybe it should even be -2) for the Kindle version.
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on October 14, 2009
I started using Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World and How to Cook Everything when my sister gave them to my daughter for her college graduation, and then my daughter went to East Timor where she could obviously not take two cookbooks that weighed 50 pounds each. She's now back (!) after four years and took the cookbooks with her to her new apartment. There was a brief painful period between their departure and the arrival of their replacements from Amazon, but now they're here and I'm perfectly happy again.

I have to say his recipes are either good, great or fabulous. I've never made anything that came out badly. They're not so complicated that they're intimidating -- everything seems doable. I'll be retiring in about five years and I can see myself cooking my way through both books, ala Julia and Julie.

One thing -- sometimes I think his instructions say to cook things longer than I think they actually need. Some day I'll try cooking things as long as he says (i.e. saute for 10 minutes -- I might saute for 3) and see if it's even better.
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on September 25, 2016
So far, so good. I use this as a valuable resource. Have followed him in the New York Times and have his other superb cookbooks. I have never been disappointed using any of his recipes and cooking techniques.
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on August 17, 2014
This recipe book has a wide array of recipes that span from ocean to ocean. It is great to open the book to a random page and find something that sounds amazing. The book is divided into different sections such as meats, seafood, sauces, etc. but you can also go to the index and find recipes by specific countries! This is great if you want to spin a globe and randomly pick a country to make a recipe from. All the recipes are well written and there neat little drawings that liven up the page and are full of great facts.
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on January 1, 2014
The recipes in the book are varied and showcase many ethnic cuisines, spices, cooking methods. The fact that the recipes themselves are not completely authentic does not bother me. The "essence" of different ethnic dishes is presented in a way that is easy for the American home cook to duplicate without spending 4 hours in the kitchen. There is great variety here, lots of great ideas and creativity. The book is easy to use and inspired me to create dinners that were a welcome relief form the "same old, same old" of my former routine.
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on May 14, 2017
Quick delivery, nice item
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on February 4, 2013
I love this book.

My understanding (largely from other reviews) is that it isn't a compendium of absolutely authentic recipes, but is a way to get close to the authentic taste without needing to have access to all the original ingredients.

As stand-alone recipes (without reference to what they are supposed to duplicate), they work well.

His style supports the practicality of cooking for those without access to suppliers of particular cooking products. Believe me, outside the major cities of Australia, there are a lot of ingredients that are impossible to procure.
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on September 25, 2016
Problem is tbat on kindle theres no search function. So if i want to look up say a fish sauce recipe i have to go through the whole book otherwise quit interesting
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