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The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes Hardcover – September 22, 2006
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When Gourmet magazine opened shop in 1941, it addressed a small epicurean audience. In those days, fine dining was French, seafood specialties always seemed to include cream and sherry, and game made the meal--or so the magazine preached. The bill of fare has changed since then, and fine dining now includes dishes from the world's four corners, commanded by a broad, food-aware audience. Over the years, Gourmet has chronicled all this, changing to reflect a wider, more democratized food scene that has also, paradoxically, raised the bar on what's expected of the average, too-busy cook. The Gourmet Cookbook is the most comprehensive of the magazine's recipe anthologies--a mega-tome offering more than 1,000 formulas drawn from Gourmet since its birth.
The statistics are indeed impressive: more than 100 hors d'oeuvre recipes; an equal number of vegetable dishes; 200 desserts--21 chapters in all, touching all courses and including stops at breakfast and brunch specialties; breads and crackers; plus sauces, salsas, and preserves. Included are recipes from Gourmet contributors like James Beard and Jean-Georges Vongericten, and hundreds of sidebars like "Salad Greens Primer" and "Blind Baking," all useful and informative. There are classic dishes like onion soup gratiné, gefilte fish, corn fritters, and peanut butter cookies; "new classics" such as fried calamari and spaghetti alla carbonara; and the "modern," including oatmeal brûlée with macerated berries and grilled lobster with orange chipotle vinaigrette--"every recipe you'd ever want," says the text, something of an understatement.
Cooks should know, however, that this is not a basic cookbook, despite its Noah's ark of formulas. Rather, it's a Gourmet cookbook, which means that, notwithstanding some rudimentary recipes, the focus is on the stylishly up-to-date (which is not to deny the excellence of the formulas), resulting, often, in refinements. Thus its recipe for mac and cheese calls for dijon mustard and panko; its beef stroganoff requires cremini mushrooms; its grilled chicken calls for brining; and so on. Recipes can also run to over 450 words, and require unusual ingredients. (A list of sources is provided.) Of all its chapters, those for sweets are the most immediately attractive.
For all the praise, though, there's one major goof. The recipe titles are printed in a light butter-yellow color, making them almost illegible. For many readers, this will be a deal-breaker; others will find it merely annoying. Should you own the book? For dedicated cooks and foodies the answer will be, How can I not? --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The monthly magazine Gourmet played no small part in the birth of America's gastronomic renaissance of the late twentieth century. Through pictures and intelligent articles by noted food and travel writers, Gourmet made its readership aware of refined food traditions that made everyday American fare seem narrow. Editor Reichl and staff have painstakingly compacted Gourmet's vast reserve of recipes into an anthology of just 1,000 recipes sure to inspire cooks to get to work in their kitchens. The book's coverage of world cuisine is breathtaking, but it has a few omissions, most notably the cooking of sub-Saharan Africa and South America. An exhaustive index serves admirably to guide the reader through the recipes' complexities, analytically referencing recipes by major or unique ingredients. (One of its rare missteps is its conflation of Georgia the nation and Georgia the state.) Both recipes and their instructions are clearly laid out and easy to follow for the knowledgeable cook. A few line drawings illustrate special techniques, but recipes such as that for individual b'stillas could use illustration to give the cook an image of the finished product. The only serious triumph of aesthetics over practicality, the low-contrast pale yellow type of recipe titles burdens anyone with even minor vision impairment. A glossary and a directory of specialty food and equipment distributors round out the volume. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The team involved in preparing this book had the following purpose and method (Page xii): "The concept was straightforward: we would look thro0ugh all the recipes we had ever published, select the best, and retest them. Then we would gather the cream of the crop into a book." I would note that some of these recipes are such that I will not try them (e.g., difficult cooking techniques or difficulty in finding key ingredients), but a large number of these are accessible to people who enjoy cooking their own meals. As such, this is a repository of recipes that are apt to be tastier and lusher than those from my beloved copy of "The Joy of Cooking." On the other hand, recipes are often more taxing on the amateur than are those in "Joy." As they say, a tradeoff. Nonetheless, many, many of these recipes are quite doable. . . .
The book is divided into a number of sections--Hors d'ouevres and first courses, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches and pizzas, Pasta (and noodles and dumplings), Grains and beans, Poultry, Beef (and weal and pork and lamb), Breads and crackers, Breakfast and brunch, Cookies (bars and confections), Cakes, Pies (tarts and pastries), Fruit desserts, Puddings (and custards, mousses, and soufflés), Frozen desserts and sweet sauces, Sauces and salsas, Relishes (and chutneys and pickles and preserves), and Basics. One of the nice things is the recognition in this volume of Americans' changing tastes. For instance, salsa is relatively recent in "Gourmet." By going over decades of recipes, one gets a sense of the changing nature of American tastes.
A word about "Basics," the past set of recipes in this work. Here, we see how to create the fundamental elements in cooking, such as stocks (chicken, beef, veal, fish, and vegetable), herbes de Provence (their recipe doesn't include lavender, but it would be easy enough to add), garam masala, and clarified butter (I have recently discovered how easy this is to make and what a difference it makes!).
There are so many worthy recipes that it makes little sense to try to enumerate some favorites or ones that I intend to make. However, perusing these makes it clear that while some will be challenging for the amateur cook, others are quite within the reach of such an audience--with the promise of some great tasting dishes!
Anyhow, a fine resource and one that I will be using in tandem with a precious few of my cookbooks that are workhorses in my kitchen library. . . .
Over 1000 recipes and it shows, the book is massive. The recipes cover cuisine from all over the world and that is wonderful. You can look up recipes such as Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Hungarian, Jewish, Italian, Mexican, Turkish and many more. This is great if you want to experiment outside of American cuisine. It can be a wonderful way to introduce your family to the cuisine of other cultures. I try to teach my kids about other cultures and we will research an area and learn about that area and I will prepare a dish from that culture, this is one of the cookbooks I turn to when looking for a recipe.
Throughout the book they also teach you about food like information on Chile Peppers, Potatoes, Oysters, Italian Cheese, Noodles and many more. The information is brief but very helpful.
Be prepared many of the recipes require lots of ingredients and quit a bit of work, but I have found the recipes to be worth the effort. Some of the recipes include notes, such as parts that you can make ahead, how long you can store the dish, and if you can freeze the leftovers.
The sections covers the normal: Vegetables, Soups, Beef, Ect. In the back there is section that covers the basics: stocks, Creating spice blends (Chinese five spice powder), pastes and clarified butter.
There is a very short section of tips and techniques, like using salt and pepper, toasting seeds and toasting spices.
The glossary is very helpful to me because occasionally I ran across an item that I did not know what it was like Asafetida(an Indian spice), Calabaza(pumpkin) and Urad Dal(black lentils).
There is an sources sections with website addresses. This cookbook is not new so many of the websites no longer exist, but many do and provides a great resource for finding ingredients not available locally.
When you are looking to step up your cooking game, this cookbook will help you do the job,