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How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food Paperback – March 20, 2006
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Mark Bittman, award-winning author of such fundamental books as Fish and Leafy Greens and food columnist for the New York Times ("The Minimalist"), has turned in what has to be the weightiest tome of the year. There are more than 900 pages in this sucker--over 1,500 recipes! This isn't just the big top of cookbooks: it's the entire three-ring circus. This isn't just how to cook everything: it's how to cook everything you have ever wanted to have in your mouth. And then some.
Bittman starts with Roasted Buttered Nuts and Real Buttered Popcorn, and moves right along, section by section, from the likes of Black Bean Soup (eight different ways), to Beet and Fennel Salad, to Mussels (Portuguese-style over Pasta), to Cream Scones--and he hasn't even reached seafood, poultry, meat, or vegetables yet, let alone desserts. There are 23 sections in this cookbook (!) that reflect directly on the how-to of cooking, be that equipment, technique, or recipe.
Every inch of the way the reader finds Bittman's calm, helpful, encouraging voice. "Anyone can cook," he says at the beginning, "and most everyone should." More than a few college kids are going to head off to their first apartments with Bittman's book under arm. More than a few marriages will benefit with this book on the shelf. And anyone who loves cooking and the sound of a great food voice is going to enjoy letting this book fall open where it may. No matter what the page, it's bound to be a tasty and rewarding experience. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
There's a millennial ring to the title of Bittman's massive opus of more than 1000 basic recipes and variations as the widely known food writer ("The Minimalist" is a weekly column in the New York Times) and author (Fish) contributes to the list of recently published authoritative, encyclopedic cookbooks. He concedes that most accomplished cooks will find little new here, and indeed the recipes can be as simple as how to pop corn. His voice is a comfortable one, however, so the tone is less tutorial than, say, that of the newly revised Joy of Cooking. While much of the ground covered is familiar, Bittman offers inventive fare (Kale Soup with Soy and Lime) and reclaims formerly abandoned territory?his Creamy Vinaigrette calls for heavy cream. Pastas range from Spaghetti and Meatballs to Pad Thai. Similarly, sandwiches include both old favorites and fresh combinations, e.g., Curried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich with Chutney and Arugula. Bittman's friends, he says, praise his Chicken Adobo as the best chicken dish in the world. He doesn't linger too long with beef because Americans are eating less of it; he remarks that a well-done hamburger is not worth eating. Vegetables are comprehensively addressed from Artichokes to Yuca, with attention paid to buying, storing and cooking methods well suited to each. Desserts are mostly homey, like Apple Brown Betty and Peaches with Fresh Blueberry Sauce, but there is also a Death-by-Chocolate Torte. The enormous breadth of recipes, the unusually modest price and Bittman's engaging, straightforward prose will appeal to many cooks looking for reliable help with?or reference to?kitchen fundamentals. Illustrations not seen by PW. 250,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; simultaneous CD-ROM; 15-city author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
1. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by: Mark Bittman (this book)
2. The Joy of Cooking (every kitchen should basically come with this book pre-installed)
3. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by: Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. & Zoe Francois (and the local baker hasn't seen us since)
This will be the best cook book you'll buy, ever, and you'll save by discovering so many things you can cook from what you already have, or common ingredients and spices. I am a stay at home mom of three, and would just cringe whenever I'd serve dinner, I didn't know what the heck to cook and so it was basically a rotating menu of baked/breaded meat, mashed potatoes or plain rice, and a canned/frozen vegetable. Maybe some pasta and sauce, mac and cheese, box sides, etc. Sometimes I'd get fancy and cook a tuna or broccoli casserole. To make matters worse, I'm a strict vegetarian and s I'd only eat the sides, or pre packaged stuff. I am telling you this to say that within an hour or 2 of getting this book I was able to put together a weeks worth of much tastier, more wonderful meals that everyone loved using my crappy pantry ingredients/common spices I happened to have.
When I went grocery shopping, I knew exactly what to get and my cart was mostly pantry ingredients and fresh veggies--which was always my goal but didn't know where to start. The leftovers (especially if you freeze and rotate) make great (cheap/tasty) lunches....and there's lots of recipes that use leftovers too. I also purchased the vegetarian version, which is just as amazing!
Remember the author is a minimalist. His recipes use a few fresh ingredients and seasoning to make day dishes. The good news is that with the knowledge contained in the book you can take the recipes to another level. So, what do you want to be? A Rachel Ray robot, or a cook who can walk into a kitchen and create wonderful food on his own
In almost every instance, he gives you the basic recipe and then several alternate ways of changing or adding to that basic recipe to get a slightly different taste. Who knew cubed butternut squash drizzled with a little olive oil and roasted in the oven could be so good! And who knew adding those roasted squash cubes to a pot of Classic Lentils could be even better!
I have had the book for about 3 weeks, and everything we've tried has been really good. Some things are different than what we are used to...for instance, his recipe for no-mayo coleslaw. We are so used to coleslaw that has sugar and mayo that eating his recipe was sort of shocking...good, but shocking.
I look forward to trying so many more of the good-sounding (and simple to prepare for the most part) recipes in this book. I would recommend this book to seasoned cooks (pun intended!) and beginners alike.