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The Best Recipe Hardcover – September 10, 1999
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"Consider this a companion to 'The Joy of Cooking,' with recipes that run from the basic to creatively unusual. Sidebars on storage and equipment, step-by-step illustrations on more difficult techniques and taste-test results done in the Cook's Illustrated kitchen--it's all here. The information is exact and even scientific, but reader-friendly. For those who want good recipes that work and also want to expand their knowledge of how and why things work, this is a fascinating book. (The Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans tested in The Times kitchen may actually be the best chocolate-chip cookies ever.)" -- The Seattle Times, December 8, 1999
"The folks at Cook's Illustrated magazine have compiled a fine collection of recipes that have been tested not once, not twice, but many more times, to find the absolutely best version....This is a great choice for cooks who want to know the 'whys' of cooking: why you should roast beef at a low temperature, why you should use high heat for eggs, and so forth." -- The New York Daily News, December 8, 1999
"This gastronomic classic belongs on every serious cook's shelf." -- The Christian Science Monitor, December 8, 1999
"This is the perfectionist's 'Joy of Cooking.'" -- The Amherst Bulletin, November 26, 1999
"[T]he more than 700 recipes compiled within The Best Recipe represent a range of culinary strains from a Southern Baked Country Ham to Italian Shrimp Scampi to a Middle Eastern Tabbouleh and French inspired Chilled Lemon Souffle. You'll find basic staples as well as more esoteric ones, dishes that regardless of their pedigree represent how we eat today or better yet the foods we crave these days. The Best Recipe is without question one of the best cookery books published this year and is the book I'll be giving to my foodie friends this holiday season." -- The Houston Chronicle, November 2, 1999
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I consider myself a very able homecook but when I got my very own grill (as an adult), visions of dry, burnt chicken and half-cooked burgers danced in my head. Memories of tough pork chops and blackened hot dogs haunted me.
So I decided to do some research.
This was the first book I got, and I chose it not for recipes -- I mean, I already know what flavors go together -- but for the explicit detail of how to grill properly. And now, with a summer full of practice under my belt, I have been able to take the knowledge I gained from this book and build on it with my experiences. I know for years to come, I will refer back to this book as I grill new foods.
The reason for all the steps were spelled out and was delightful to read.
I highly recommend this book for serious cooks and clueless ones too!
I'm amazed about how much I did NOT know about grilling. I have made it a goal to try out a recipe or technique from this book each time I use the grill to expand what I know - and the results are incredible. The best whole-roasted chicken I ever made was the first time I used the recipe here: incredibly juicy and tasty due to slow cooking ("grill roasting") with indirect heat and some smoke chips. But the second one did not come out as well. Interestingly, the writers of this book had the same experience.
The thing that makes this book great is the research that went into it. They systematically try out all the variations they can come up with, tell you about which ones did not work and why, then nail down the best techniques, and present them here. The recipes appear to repeat a bit, simply because they have one for charcoal and one for gas. The two are similar, but though it takes more pages, it makes it much easier to follow through the steps to have separate recipes.
Aside from recipes for cooking meats, there are a number of dry rubs, marinades, sauces, and salsas to get you started. Don't buy this book for quantity of recipes - there are bbq books with more - but instead for the quality and details of the techniques, which are so important for outdoor cooking.
Even if you think you are an expert, it is very likely that you will learn new techniques, and improve your existing ones, in a way that will make you glad you bought the book.
I am notorious for skipping steps and not reading instruction manuals, but I gave this book a chance. Being a baker at heart, I tackled one of the baked goods first. I like to think I had a talent for baking, but I even impressed myself with this first attempt.
I have learned so much from following the recipes in this book, not the least of which was how to back up my argument with my husband not to substitute vegetable oil for butter in some baking recipes! (he's a bit of a health nut!)
As many others have written, this book has consistently resulted in dishes that I get endless compliments on. I've NEVER been disappointed with a recipe. The detailed explanations leave nothing to question (just what is the batter supposed to look like?) and for someone like me, that's a definite requirement.
As obsessed as I am with books, I honestly think that I could clear out my library of cookbooks and be happy to spend the rest of my life using this one cookbook. (but I like the way the others look on the shelf, all nice and clean as the day I bought them - who knows, maybe someday I'll actually use one of them!)