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How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food Paperback – March 20, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,554 customer reviews

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The Mediterranean Diet Plan: Heart-Healthy Recipes & Meal Plans for Every Type of Eater by Susan Zogheib  MHS  RD  LDN
"The Mediterranean Diet Plan" by Susan Zogheib MHS RD LDN
Learn the basics of mediterranean cooking and choose from included meal plans with four variations- traditional, meatless, seafood-free, and 30-Minute. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 the Digital edition.

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 the Digital edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (March 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471789186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471789185
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,554 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Denise Patterson VINE VOICE on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Let me start by saying I'm a busy working mom of two. I grew up eating Hamburger Helper and hot dogs, so I didn't learn to cook until I was an adult. My dad's had triple bypass and my mom's having gastric bypass, so we're trying to learn from their mistakes and eat not entirely vegetarian, but definitely a more plant-based diet. I'm sure all this sounds familiar to a lot of people!

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is exactly the cookbook I've been trying to find for a long time. It has the simple, everyday recipes that I sometimes need, combined with a LOT of wonderful vegetarian dishes from ordinary supermarket ingredients. How about Peanut Soup, Senegalese Style? Or Korean-Style Noodles in Cool Bean Broth (in less than 20 minutes for when the kids are whining for dinner) Mustard Cheese Fondue?

This book is written in Bittman's typical `theme and variations' style, with a basic recipe (like for waffles) and then a sidebar or list following the recipe that gives variations (like a list of things you can add to waffles for flavoring). The great thing about this is that it means you rarely have to reject a recipe because you don't have the exact ingredients, just go with a variant. The only quibble I have with it is, it's sometimes difficult to keep track of what you are supposed to sub out & sub back in when you have a crying toddler on your ankle.

A basic cookbook should also walk you through basic techniques and ingredients. I was a little surprised to see the vegetables chapter was nearly 200 pages. Then I looked through it and realized a lot of that is guidance on how to select and prep the various vegetables.
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Format: Hardcover
"How to Cook Everything" is one of the more useful cookbooks I've owned. Each type of food has a "Basics" section that includes lots of preparation tips. The recipes themselves are detailed enough for beginners, and not so esoteric that you have to make a trip to a specialty grocery store every time you want to cook something. Especially helpful are the suggestions for expanding on each dish. For example, after the basic Chicken Kebab recipe, there are four modifications, including Chicken Kebabs in Yogurt-Cumin Sauce.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a vegetarian of 15 years (with a meat-eating but open minded fiance) and an avid home cook. I got this book for Christmas and have slowly been exploring it. It's an interesting book and there are a lot of recipes that I'm tempted by, but it's the same problem I have with "How to cook everything": something is always wrong with the recipe. For example, his kosher pickles: the first time I tried making them with his measurements, the pickles were inedibly salty (and I love salt!) I'm now working with about a third less salt than he recommends and it's getting better. And that's what I always find with his recipes: they give you a promising start but require some major tinkering before they are really good, and I don't usually feel up to committing to that sort of trial and error. I am a passionate fan of Debbie Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone." As an example of the difference, this week I had a dinner party and I made her cauliflower salad with green olives and capers even though I'd never tried it before, and it was a hit. Having used her book so much, I trust her recipes to be at least decent right out of the gate. I would never serve a Bittman recipe that I hadn't made before to guests because there are pretty good odds that the initial recipe needs some changes.
That being said, I'm certainly not sorry that I have this book. It has a good section on condiments that I'm sure I'll make use of fairly often, and it's a good cookbook to have on hand if you're tinkering in the kitchen and want some perspective on your technique. It's really more of a reference book than an book of recipes, and in that it is useful. But if you want ideas for delicious, satisfying vegetarian food, get "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone."
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Format: Hardcover
I got my copy of the new edition of How to Cook Everything the other day and am beyond thrilled. I own the old yellow edition and have cooked from it far more than any other book, so I knew the new book had a lot to live up to. Well, it by far exceeded my expectations. While the book still feels familiar, it also feels new and improved. The essential recipe sections beginning each chapter are a great way to find the basics. But even the basics have changed. For example, Mark's roast chicken recipe, which I've used and liked in the past (though I still love Barbara Kafka's) has changed. He suggests you heat the pan before putting the chicken in and placing the chicken breast side up (instead of side down as he suggested in his old book). The heat of the pan helps cook the thighs faster so the breasts don't dry out. It worked perfectly the first time I tried it. Beyond the basics, there are just so many new recipes in here. The variations, lists, and charts that Mark is famous for seem even more plentiful than before, and there are tons of beautiful new illustrations. I'm so excited to cook with this new edition and foresee a day when it's pages will be stained with grease and flour just like the old edition. But I still can't get rid of the old one. It's like a good friend. I'll just put the new one on the shelf right next to it, red by yellow, and know that I can always count on them.
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