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Cooking Basics For Dummies Paperback – January 11, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Basic tools, techniques, and recipes for creatingeasy, delicious meals

It doesn't take culinary mastery to be a great cook. This friendly guide digs you out of microwave dinners and propels you with all the ingredients you need to become a superior home cook. You'll discover the fun and easy way to prepare meals all your guests and family members — from die-hard vegetarians to the most passionate meat eaters — will love.

  • Warm up to your kitchen — set up your cooking space with essential tools and equipment and get to know basic cooking techniques from boiling and steaming to braising and stewing

  • Take a stab at working with knives — get expert tips on the only knives you really need to have on hand and find out how to safely work with them to chop, dice, mince, carve, and more

  • Start cookin', good lookin' — make tasty dishes for every meal of the day, from perfectly poached eggs to sumptuous soups and salads to crowd-pleasing pastas

  • Don your baker's hat — discover how easy it can be to thrill your family with homemade pies, cakes, breads, cookies, and more

  • Wow your guests — figure out how planning and practice can remove the stress of hosting parties (and even Thanksgiving dinner!)

Open the book and find:

  • Explanations of basic cooking techniques

  • Tips for planning your menu

  • Advice on stocking your pantry and fridge

  • The scoop on using herbs and spices

  • How to make savory and sweet sauces that impress

  • Secrets for stretching your food dollars

  • The 4-1-1 on kitchen safety and dealing with disasters

Learn to:

  • Master grilling, slow cooking, baking, roasting, sautéing, and more

  • Make tasty, affordable meals the whole family will enjoy

  • Prepare a complete holiday or party menu

About the Author

Bryan Miller is a food and feature writer covering restaurants and dining trends all over the world.

Marie Rama is an independent food, beverage, and media consultant.

Eve Adamson is the coauthor of The Mediterranean Diet.

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More to Explore: Sample Recipes
Check out sample recipes (PDF)-- including taco casserole -- from Cooking Basics for Dummies.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 4 edition (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470913886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470913888
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book begins with this comment (Page 1): "Whether you fancy yourself a hotshot home cook or someone who wouldn't know a whisk from a Weimaraner, Cooking Basics for Dummies, 4th edition, can help you." So, this book is designed, at one level, to provide a neophyte the tools to use as the foundation for decent cooking. As such, I think, it does its job nicely. I have sometimes seen rather lame entries into the ". . . for Dummies" series. This is not one of those.

The volume begins with the basics--what goes into your kitchen? This includes the basics of your own kitchen (such as when you can best use a microwave--and when you should probably not use one); What tools one needs I the kitchen (Pots and pans, small appliances, mixing and baking tools, "gizmos and gadgets"--such a meat thermometers, which can be very useful; Stocking the pantry and the refrigerator--What are the basics needed? (e.g., baking supplies, herbs and spices, refrigerated supplies [such as eggs and butter and cheeses], fruits and veggies).

Part II of this book explores techniques, such as use of knives, boiling-poaching-steaming, sautéing, braising and stewing, roasting, grilling and broiling, and cooking basics (measuring, working with eggs, whipping-stirring-folding-etc. There are also recipes that illustrate the technique in action. For instance, sautéed skillet potatoes. Clean potatoes and scrub them (unpeeled), cube the potatoes, heat oil in a large skillet, add potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, remove potatoes, sauté onion, bell pepper, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, cook for about 4-5 minutes, add potatoes to mixture and cook until potatoes are browned and crisped. Described step by step and simply.
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Format: Paperback
When I graduated from college, my mom bought me a bunch of cookbooks to send me off into the real world. Cooking for Dummies was one of those books. It was at the height of the "Dummy book phase" where anything from cooking, to chess, to quantam physics was all the rage.

Cooking for Dummies is more of an instruction manual with recipes than it is a cookbook with detailed instructions. The first few chapters are focused on cooking methods rather than ingredients (grilling, sautéing, poaching, etc). Later chapters get into salads, eggs, one pot meals, and meals for entertaining. Because it's organized in that way, it's harder to use as a cookbook. Once you've read through it, it's more likely you'll transition into another cookbook than to go back and visit this one for recipes.

Overall, great primer for someone who really has never cooked or is a disaster in the kitchen -but think of it more as a lesson manual than a true cookbook.
4 Comments 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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There is so much I loved about this book, my first takeaway was the French term mise en place which means have everything ready before you cook. The book explains the basics tools you need to be a good cook. I was intrigue with the knives having read Anthony Boudain books, Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw. He said knives are like the tools that define chefs. Many spends thousands of dollars getting the most exquisite knives. The books goes into details on the different techniques of cooking like sautéing,braising, poaching , roasting, etc. I am a visual person so I went to You Tube and saw each technique performed so I could see it in real time.

I practiced some of the techniques starting with scrambled eggs and I tried their version of cooking the perfect steak and my wife was impressed. I got into it that I went out and bought this gorgeous all clad skillet and I am looking for a chef knife.

Also, I became more aware of expiration dates especially with eggs and other items. I did enjoy the book and I highly recommend it.
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I'm not completely knew to cooking, but I had not idea how to clean a cast iron pan, how to make sauce from scratch, or the proper temperature that a roast needs to be to be considered done. I think this is good for those that have mastered scrambled eggs, but that is about it. I really enjoy the light, easy, and best of all, easily understandable formate of this book!
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By Alice F. on September 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is easy and entertaining to read. Examples and recipes are clear and easy to follow. I am using this to teach a cooking class and it has been useful to me personal for my own cooking, but also to bring the basics to my students.
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This book is very well written for those who don't know much, or want to know more about cooking. I bought this for my husband, who wants to get into cooking, but had no idea how to start. The thing he found most useful was the section on what to do with leftovers, which has been one of those "ugh" things in our home. Now instead of throwing out leftovers, we've got some ideas on what to do with them.
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By Tina830 on April 13, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought for my daughter who is going to be getting her first apartment and I thought it would be easy instructions, measurements, etc. but it's actual recipes and not overly easy ones you would think from the title of the book. My daughter laughed when she opened the box but wasn't over thrilled with the more "experienced" recipes.
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