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How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food,10th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – October 20, 2008
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100 Books for a Lifetime of Eating & Drinking
If you want to make an authentic tagine, bake mouth-watering cakes, or vicariously experience the life of a chef, you’ll find the book for it on this list.
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Today's favorite kitchen companion—revised and better than ever.
Mark Bittman's award-winning How to Cook Everything has helped countless home cooks discover the rewards of simple cooking. Now the ultimate cookbook has been revised and expanded (almost half the material is new), making it absolutely indispensable for anyone who cooks—or wants to. With Bittman's straightforward instructions and advice, you'll make crowd-pleasing food using fresh, natural ingredients; simple techniques; and basic equipment. Even better, you'll discover how to relax and enjoy yourself in the kitchen as you prepare delicious meals for every occasion.
"A week doesn't go by where I don't pull How to Cook Everything down from the shelf, so I am thrilled there's a new, revised edition. My original is falling apart!"
"This new generation of How to Cook Everything makes my 'desert island' cookbook choice jacked up and simply universal. I'll now bequeath my cookbooks to a collector; I need only this one."
"Mark Bittman has done the impossible, improving upon his now-classic How to Cook Everything. If you need know-how, here's where to find it."
"Mark Bittman is a great cook and an incredible teacher. In this second edition, Mark has fine-tuned the original, making this book a must for every kitchen."
"Throw away all your old recipes and buy How to Cook Everything. Mark Bittman's recipes are foolproof, easy, and more modern than any others."
"Generous, thorough, reliable, and necessary, How to Cook Everything is an indispensable reference for both experienced and beginner cooks."
—Mollie Katzen, author of the Moosewood Cookbook
"I learned how to cook from How to Cook Everything in a way that gives me the freedom to be creative. This new edition will be my gift to new couples or for a housewarming; if you have this book, you don't really need any others."
—Lisa Loeb, singer/songwriter
10 Reasons You Need the New How to Cook Everything (even if you already have the original)1. The 2000+ simple recipes will make cooking at home easier, so you can spend less and eat better.
2. With 1,446 new recipes and variations such as Beer-and-Butter Chicken Wings, Roasted Corn Chowder, BLT Salad, Paella with Chicken and Chorizo, Caramelized French Toast, and Popcorn Brittle, this book provides a whole new array of recipes.
3. The many new techniques covered in this edition will help you to expand your repertoire of kitchen skills to include frosting a cake, grinding your own chili powder, or even de-boning a quail.
4. Your husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, or best friend needs a little help in the kitchen (okay, maybe a lot). The new How to Cook Everything contains more expert advice like “12 Must-Have Kitchen Tools,” “Super-Easy 3-Ingredient Soups,” and “The Basics of Cutting.”
5. You trust Bittman’s no-nonsense opinions and can’t wait to read the thousands of new ones packed into this edition. He’ll even help you to select the best inexpensive fish (ex. mackerel is versatile, tasty, healthy, and plentiful; tilapia can taste kinda muddy).
6. The index of “Essential Recipes” points you to Bittman’s favorite dishes in each chapter, so there’s less reason to be intimidated by all those recipes.
7. There are more helpful lists in the new How to Cook Everything than ever before. Bittman shows how to jack up the basics with easy ideas like “4 Ways to Thicken a Sauce”, and “Infinite Ways to Season or Serve Any Grilled or Broiled Chicken Dish.”
8. With this edition’s brand new charts, it’s absurdly easy to look up the cooking times for grains, heat factor for chiles, and other need-to-know information about everything from herbs and spices to flour and noodles.
9. You know it’s cheap, easy, and fast to serve your family boneless chicken breasts every week, but sometimes you run out of ideas. That’s why you really need all the new recipes, variations, and other suggestions for chicken breasts like “11 More Ways to Vary Grilled or Broiled Boneless Chicken.”
10. There are plenty of new illustrations which incorporate more detail than many photos. They’ll show you how to use a pastry bag, how to eat crabs, and even how to puree soup using an immersion blender (it’s is way less messy than a regular blender).
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Ten years have brought many changes to the U.S. culinary landscape, and Bittman's new edition of his contemporary classic reflects that, with hundreds of recipes added, out-of-date ones banished and few lines from the holdovers left untouched. The opening chapter offers invaluable new tips on basic kitchen equipment and techniques, and in the wake of the recent vegetarian version of the book, produce and legumes are now featured earlier and with more inspired meatless recipes. Overall, Bittman's globe-trotting palate shows even better than it did in the already quite international first edition, with intriguing recipes from every corner of the world. Considering these expansions, the most important change has been to the book's user-friendliness: a proliferation of charts, lists and boxes makes much more information immediately available—hardly a page goes by without an eye-catching sidebar about technique, a handy table organizing the basics of an ingredient or dish or the myriad suggestions of variations and new ways to think about a recipe that make it the best-value all-in-one volume available. At-a-glance coding to indicate what is fast to make, what can be made ahead and what is vegetarian, plus highlighted recipes that Bittman considers essential, help ensure that even with more of everything to cook, this massive tome is navigable. Whether the first edition is on their shelves or not, home cooks of all skill levels will want to get this one. (Oct.)
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm relearning the way I prepare even the most basic things, like sandwiches and scrambled eggs. Who would have thought scrambled eggs could be so good? And the Pan-Grilled steak has weaned me from the backyard grill forever. No other cookbook would warn you that "clouds of smoke will instantly appear; do not turn down the heat." That bit of fear that your fire alarm will go off at any second just adds spice to the whole cooking experience.
The breadth of this book is amazing. Besides having nearly every type of Western cooking you can imagine, it also has recipes from Japan, India, Thailand, and... you get the idea.
There is one drawback -- this book has no photos, just a few hand-drawn illustrations. However, the book is so big that if it did have photos, it would cost much more.
Since I gave that yellow subset a bad review, a kind commentator pointed out that what is a person to do if they are vegetarian, and don't need to know how to make veal parmesan, meatballs, or fried chicken! This volume clearly answers that question.
The competition for this book is Deborah Madison's classic `Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone'. An encyclopedic companion to both would be Crescent Dragonwagon's `Passionate Vegetarian'. If space and finances permit, I would suggest you own all three volumes.
The difference between Bittman and Madison may lie primarily in the fact that the former is a culinary journalist and the latter began her career as a professional chef. So, Bittman has a better eye for communicating to a larger audience while Madison is better on some of the basic truths of cooking. Her discussion of soups and stocks is especially brilliant.
Bittman addresses the largest possible `vegetarian' audience, which includes the most liberal, who consume eggs and milk products. But he is quite effective in identifying for the vegans among you which recipes are free of all animal products, both in icons accompanying each recipe and in a master list of recipes at the back of the book. Eggs are so prominent that the index contains a full page, that's four columns of small print, of entries under egg related recipes. Under cheese recipes, there are two pages, eight columns of fine print of recipes. Bittman explains this in the section on vegetarian substitutions when he gives easy replacements for butter, milk, and cream, but says that virtually nothing can replace eggs and most cheeses in traditional recipes. I am puzzled and grateful that Bittman does not suggest using synthetic lecithin in the place of eggs in recipes. Lecithin does not even appear in the index of this book. This substitutions section also has some really great suggestions for omnivores in the realm of less saturated replacements for butter and flavored butters.
This is a full service cookbook. I am especially impressed by the fact that he starts out in the same way as James Peterson in his recent textbook, `Cooking'. Both begin with a description of `The Ten Essential Cooking Techniques'. Being a teaching book, Peterson's sections on each method are longer, running to three large pages compared to Bittman's two to three paragraphs. But, if you are vegetarian, Bittman's book is still more useful, as much of Peterson's space is dedicated to cooking animal protein. Another interesting contrast to Peterson is that while the teacher uses series of photographs to illustrate techniques, Bittman uses black ink drawings. And, amazingly enough, the latter is generally the more successful technique, as nothing is out of focus and there are never any obscuring shadows, and only the essentials of the technique are depicted.
A common technique in many of Bittman's recipes is to amend each recipe with several variations, as when he suggests five fillings for sweet crepes and six fillings for savory crepes. Hard on this section is '10 Other Ideas for Pancakes' and seven `Pancake Variations'. Bittman also spends much time on teaching us the range of ingredient types, and general ways to handle each type. For example, we get `A Lexicon of Salad Greens'. This material is even more important for the vegetarian, as they need to seek the greatest possible variety of tastes and colors in the vegetable world. A vegetarian salad repertoire which knew nothing beyond iceberg lettuce would be dull indeed. Bittman does better in this area than the salad queen, Alice Waters, in her excellent `The Art of Simple Cooking'.
Bittman's mastery of communication is best represented by his many cross-indexing of recipe types, as he does in a sidebar of lettuce cups and wraps, giving the names and page numbers of fourteen recipes scattered throughout the book which use this technique. The centerpiece of this cross-indexing is the `Recipes by Icon' in the back of the book which tick off those which are `Fast', `Make Ahead', and `Vegan'. A similar feature is the list of forty menus for Breakfasts, Brunches, Lunches, Dinners, and Holiday Dinners. For his vegetarian audience, this is far more useful than for omnivores, who have a far greater choice of protein types.
Every trend in the book is magnified in the excellent chapter on pasta, noodles, and dumplings. Every sidebar seemed to offer not ten, but up to 50 variations on all sorts of stuff. I was momentarily disappointed to find no recipe for making fresh pasta in the first 10 pages of the chapter, but there it was, of page 474 and the following 21 pages. Everything you would need to make fresh pasta, gnocchi, dumplings. It even included the German specialty, Spaetzle, bless his heart. While all the standards are well-represented, some peripheral ingredients such as rhubarb and celeriac get good representation in uncommon recipes. I was especially pleased to find four excellent recipes for my favorite Brussels Sprouts. Even chestnuts get a dozen entries in the index. Madison has nothing on chestnuts!
Bittman's `How to Cook Everything' is always my first stop whenever I want to try a classic dish unfamiliar to me, and I have been invariably pleased with the clarity and results of his recipes. This book continues this trend. Every recipe I read is clear, unfussy, and easy to follow. If you are a vegetarian who permits milk and eggs, this book is a must. If you are a tad stricter, Deborah Madison's classic may be more useful for the money.
On the other hand, some of the recipes really are quite excellent, and even though I'm a more experienced cook than many twenty-going-on-thirty-somethings, I find that the depth of reference information in How to Cook Everything is really outstanding. There are pages and pages on such topics as whether or not to presoak beans, how to shop for fish, and at least one nice basic way to prepare just about every vegetable under the sun. For depth of background and reference, Bittman deserves five stars.
All in all, I would actually say this is a good addition to most kitchens, even for those with more experience than those at which the book is obviously aimed, and if you comb through all the recipes carefully you'll probably find plenty that is worth cooking.