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The New Best Recipe Hardcover – November 1, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 545 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A literal encyclopedia of recipes (culled from the magazine), this revision to Cook's Illustrated's popular The Best Recipe is almost double in size and includes more than 1,000 recipes. Cook's Illustrated is known for careful (some would say compulsive) testing of recipes with a focus on foolproof technique; detailed line drawings that take readers step-by-step through recipes; and opinionated guides that assert that their way is the best way. This methodology appeals particularly to a specific kind of cook, one with a primarily scientific rather than artistic or intuitive approach to cooking. Though there are a few photographs, readers who buy cookbooks for full-color photographs and personal anecdotes aren't likely to be drawn to this work. Twenty-two chapters cover appetizers to desserts. Even the simplest tasks, such as blanching vegetables or peeling an egg, are explained and illustrated in detail. More involved techniques include brining poultry and roasting a turkey. Pad Thai gets a full-page description with photographs to help home cooks learn how to properly soak the noodles. Well organized and extremely clear, the book has only one drawback: its heft may make it tough to hoist onto kitchen counters.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


". . . .will please those who groove to the cooking geek sensibility of CI editor Christopher Kimball." -- People Magazine, Novembe 12, 2004

"Its charm is its over-the-top thoroughness." -- Newsweek Magazine, Decmeber 6, 2004

"This new edition (The New Best Recipe) means business." -- The New York Times Book Review, November 5, 2004

"the book's recipes...you don't need to be a gourmet to pull them off." -- San Francisco Bay Guardian, October 13, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1000 pages
  • Publisher: America’s Test Kitchen; 2nd edition (October 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936184744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936184746
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (545 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kathy Grace on November 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm the Baker. When my husband-to-be first came to my house to cook me a dinner, he rummaged through my cabinets and said "Where are your pots and pans?"; then he looked through the pantry and fridge and said "Where is your FOOD?" I had to explain that, in my vocabulary, "cook" is a verb meaning "to put into a microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes." Food? Small boxes in the freezer, of course.

I tell you this so you'll understand how improbable it is that the first thing I tackled from "The New Best Recipe" was chicken stock. A real-deal chicken stock, I'm talking here--the kind that turns to a jelly when cooled, is deep gold, and can improve nearly any dish you add it to--the kind that takes eight or ten hours to make, the classic way.

See, I had picked up this massive (1028-page) book in the bookstore and idly opened to the Soup chapter, where I read a three-page explanation of how to make real chicken stock in one hour. They detailed all the blind alleys they'd explored in trying to come up with the perfect recipe for stock--the different cooking techniques, times, ingredients--until they'd found a way to make rich golden stock in an hour. The technique was, er, unorthodox to say the least, but it all seemed to make perfect sense, so I bought the book and decided to try to make a stock to present to the Cook as a fait accompli.

Holy smoke, it worked! And I gotta tell you, if I can make a couple quarts of chicken stock between the time my daughter gets home from school and the time my husband gets home from work, then you can too.

So, enough anecdote; now for details.


1. The book is a compilations of recipes from Cooks' Illustrated magazine and the America's Test Kitchen TV show (which I've never yet seen).
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Format: Hardcover
I consider myself an experienced cook but I have had frustrating experiences with cookbooks and recipes I'd find in magazines and newspapers. Something would sound wonderful, I'd buy ingredients, spend hours cooking and the results would be...OK. Not terrible, not inedible, but a disappointment none the less. Even cookbooks that I love and contain recipes I think are wonderful would also have recipes that I found pretty so-so. In fact, in many cookbooks the ratio of successes to non-successes is pretty small. Finding The Best Recipe (the edition that preceded this one) was a revelation for me. Each recipe I tried was a success. When The New Best Recipe was published, I bought one immediately and was thrilled to find so many new recipes.

This is now my go-to cookbook, the first place I look when I want to find a recipe, and a book I check other recipes against when considering recipes from other sources. I use this book in the way my mother used the Joy of Cooking when I was growing up in the late 60s and early 70s. And just as Joy was the book she used when she needed a recipe for a classic like beef stew or a then fashionable food such as quiche or cheese fondue, The New Best Recipe has recipes for classics (spaghetti and meatballs, pot roast, coq au vin, shrimp scampi) and also has recipes for foods that have hit the American culinary radar more recently such as pad thai, beef fajitas, and pozole. In fact the huge range of foods is one of the things that makes this cookbook so wonderful; for instance, the pasta section includes recipes for lo mein, tuna noodle casserole and ravioli.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been cooking for over 40 years, but I still consider myself a very bad cook. I almost always use a recipe, but if I don't have something, or don't want to bother with some technique, I try to substitute. Not a good idea for me. Or often the recipes don't include little details that they assume cooks will know, but I don't. I look through numerous recipe books and think I've found the best one for something, but it often doesn't come out perfectly. But that's all changed now! This book is amazing at not only giving you terrific recipes, but it explains why the cook made the choices she did in creating the recipe. It is so fun to read the background of how they created the perfect recipe for something and they discuss all the other things I would have done and why those things don't lead to a good product. I've tried one recipe from each chapter and had so much fun because they all came out terrific.
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Format: Hardcover
I'll be honest. I've never really been one who likes these huge, mega-recipe cookbooks as I've always preferred smaller, more specialized books. This one did come as a surprise as a friend loaned it to me who just raved about it. The recipes are culled from the pages of Cooks Illustrated Magazine which I am not overly familiar with. With a 1000 pages and 1000 recipes, you're sure to find a LOT that you can use.

One thing important to note is that these recipes are not simply thrown into the book. Cooks Illustrated tests these receipes in their kitches many times, evaluating all facets of the recipe from ingredients and preparation to cook times and equipment. More than just recipes, the book acts as a guide to everyday kitchen techniques, many designed for the novice but certainly still valuable to more experienced cooks. There's also great advice on buying cookware and utensils, as often your receipes are only as good as the equipment you use to make them.

Everything from simple casserole dishes and crockpot favorites to more elegant receipes can be found within its pages. The receipes are VERY step-by-step, obviously written for the beginner in mind and will ensure a great meal everytime. Add to that the editors have put in a generous helping of over 800 illustrations perfectly complement the well-written and well-tested recipes.

If you are going to own just one of these massive type cook books...toss out Betty Crocker...Give the Joy of Cooking the heave-ho...let the Gourmet Cookbook gather dust, and pickup this fantastic book. Simply put it's the best of its kind anywhere! Highest recommendation.
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