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The Essential James Beard Cookbook: 450 Recipes That Shaped the Tradition of American Cooking Hardcover – October 30, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the 1950s, James Beard inaugurated an approach to cookery that announced to the world that American cooking had finally merited real distinction. His love for the freshest, finest products of America’s fields and streams combined with disciplined technique and impeccable taste. Beard’s embrace of the new medium of television gave him a wider audience than his books could have hoped to achieve. This compilation of some of Beard’s best recipes spans the breadth of his culinary achievement. In true American fashion, he draws from French, Italian, Indian, African, and other cuisines and adapts them to American kitchens and techniques, often simplifying otherwise complex dishes, such as cassoulet, without compromising flavor. Betty Fussell contributes a perceptive essay on Beard’s complicated life and his teaching talents. Those too young to have already encountered Beard’s sensible and always tasty rendition of American cooking will welcome this volume onto their shelves. --Mark Knoblauch

Review

“Readers may not know that Beard, one of the most influential figures in American cooking, did not publish his first book until he was 38 years old. Rick Rodgers's "Notes from the Editor" reacquaints readers with Beard's legacy, and the book guides them through 400 recipes from Beard's 40-year cookbook career (e.g., Cream of Mushroom Soup, Steak au Poivre, Apple Pie). Though the recipes have been adjusted for modern kitchens, Beard's voice has been successfully preserved. Editorial notes in brackets offer useful information and interesting historical tidbits. VERDICT: Home cooking has evolved considerably since Beard';s cookbooks were first published, so it's wonderful to see his recipes reprinted in this functional collection.” ―Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312642180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312642181
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I own some good cookbooks by James Beard. BUT THIS ONE was NOT written by James Beard. It was put together by his heirs ostensibly to make some money from his deserved good name. In the process of hacking this together they went a little PC on the old recipes (whole wheat pasta in lasagna??!! -- GAG) and threw in a few of the old originals. Save your money and get a reprint of his original books untouched by his less talented heirs.
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Format: Hardcover
James Beard is one of the foundations in the story of American cooking and especially of its cookbooks. This book not only contains many of his recipes, about 450, but it also tells his story in in the foreword and introduction.

There are no pictures of the recipes, but despite what some might think, these are not the all-encompassing recipes that take hours of preparation and exotic ingredients. There are very few elements that cannot be found in an ordinary grocery store.
Recipes include: first courses and cocktail food, soups, salads, beef and veal, pork, lamb, poultry and game birds, fish and shellfish, eggs, pasta, vegetables, rice, grains and beans, yeast and quick breads, fruits, hot, cold and frozen desserts, cakes, pies and tarts, cookies and bars, basic stocks and sauces.

This is probably not the book for a beginning cook, but with some determination most could prepare these recipes and the family would enjoy them. However one recipe, brioche en surprise is really onion sandwiches which the introduction states - that your reputation as a hostess can be built up (in a good way) because they are as contagious as measles. Somehow I cannot picture a party appreciating all those sandwiches whose fillings consist of onions. I'm an onion lover, but they just do not seem like party fare.

We did really enjoy the hearty beef salad, the white bean tuna salad and especially Mrs. Maynard's cinnamon rolls containing rum in the filling. My mother in law used to make these and refused to give up the recipe. Evidently this is where it came from and the household is happy to have this treat back in the family.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I adore James Beard, his Cookbooks.& fine recipes. I am rebuilding my kitchen library and I am already enjoying the benefits of this Cookbook. It arrived in good condition, and without delay from the sellers. But you don't need me to tell you about James Beard do you? One made from scratch meal or loaf of bread will be enough to make you appreciate the purchase.

Mir
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Format: Hardcover
It's a shame that there's a whole generation of home cooks who don't know Beard's name. Even Julia Child heralded him as the pioneer of the American food scene. The entertaining intro helps place Beard in his time and the editor's selective notes are very effective at explaining ingredients that may be unfamiliar or offering convenient contemporary substitutes. This compilation is a really handy culling of the best of the best from his many books. It's so much easier to use than the dozen plus old books by Beard that I have on my shelf. What a labor of love it must have been to assemble this collection. This could become my go-to cookbook because it's so comprehensive. His humor, his good sense and his willingness to tweak the classics show through.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fine, contemporary classic. Not that I don't love the Joy, Fanny Farmer and the Settlement, but it\s nice to hava a cook book that was written for my own generation
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I believe I can safely say that James Beard is an 'always' favorite. With all of the options online to keep recipes and share them without hard copy books, this is the one that was valuable enough in its own right to purchase.
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Format: Hardcover
Bought for my cousin the chef! He has actually planned, prepared, & served a dinner for the James Beard Society!
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Format: Hardcover
I gave this book three stars for several reasons. First, it contains no pictures. Second the pages are not glossy, so if you drip on the pages they are stained for life. There are a large variety of recipes-anything from meatloaf, to classic italian recipes. There are some nice stories in the book, a little background on some of the recipes is also included. I didn't find this cookbook to be more than your basic cookbook.....I have many cookbooks with the same recipes. If this is one of your first cookbooks to own though, I would recommend purchasing it for the variety of recipes. One section of the book I did enjoy was the vegetable section, it gave me a few new ideas for cooking vegetables.
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