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The Competent Cook: Essential Tools, Techniques, and Recipes for the Modern At-Home Cook Hardcover – November 18, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lauren Braun Costello was founder and Executive Chef of Gotham Caterers for seven years. She has worked as a private chef, culinary instructor, recipe tester for The Joy of Cooking, food stylist for The Early Show and has appeared on The View. She received a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts from The French Culinary Institute. Her first book, Notes on Cooking, has been praised by culinary masters such as Jacques Pepin, James Peterson, and Daniel Boulud. For more than a year, Costello wrote a weekly cooking column, “The  Competent Cook,” on CDKitchen.com. She lives in New York City with her son and her husband.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (November 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160550145X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605501451
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,939,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I never was much of a cook, but always felt knowing how to cook is a kind of basic literacy that any functional adult should possess. Well, this book inspires me to get in the game and to get it right. The information, guidance, organization, and recipes in THE COMPETENT COOK give me everything I need to feel less lost in the kitchen, and more like someone who belongs there.

I read an early version of this book and saw immediately how useful it would be, but was surprised that its sheer practicality had an unexpected philosophical benefit: It gets me over whatever inhibitions have, until now, prevented me from cooking more often. Previous classes and recipe books haven't quite done that for me. My cooking shame is being replaced with, yes, competence, but also the sense of joy and accomplishment that come with it. The ultimate omelet? Classic chicken soup? No problem. Roast duck with glazed bing cherries? Bring it on! I'm willing to try, without the lingering notion that it will come out anything other than delicious.

A year or so ago, I read Dorothy Cann Hamilton and Patric Kuh's book, CHEF'S STORY, and was struck by how many great chefs began their love of cooking with the realization: "Hey, I can DO this!" Now I'm beginning to feel that way, too. I may not be ready to tackle every recipe in Julia Child, but I am prepared to take on the excellent, essential lessons and recipes found here that will prove my basic mettle in the kitchen. They even tell me what equipment to have ready in advance. Why aren't all recipes written like this?
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely love this cookbook! Lauren takes you by the hand and expertly tells you how to outfit your kitchen and then delivers recipes for classic dishes you will make again and again. More than a collection of superb recipes that work, The Competent Cook teaches you invaluable techniques and tips you can apply to all your cooking. The chapters on tools and techniques are worth the price of the book alone. I had tried many times to make fish fingers for my children and did not like the results. I followed her recipe for making chicken fingers, and the fish fingers were the best I have ever made. Her chicken soup recipe is simple and superb. I have made it so many times I know it by heart. Her recipe for Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles is better than anything you can get at a Chinese restaurant. I made her Braised Lamb Shanks and Vanilla Poached Pears for a dinner party and wowed my guests. You will feel more than competent when following Lauren's recipes; you will feel victorious.
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