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Starting with Ingredients Hardcover – September 25, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Four-time coauthor Green (including the James Beard Award–winning Cocktails with a Latino Twist with Chef Guillermo Perriot) has aimed for the stratosphere with her first solo book. Green is a chatty expert who makes you feel she's in your kitchen; unfortunately, pedestrian prose mutes her apparent enthusiasms. Still, the book is a dazzling compendium of food history, food safety tips (don't keep garlic in oil unless you add acid to cut the risk of botulism) and resources. The book offers a hundred chapters in alphabetical order, Almonds through Zucchini and Other Summer Squashes: some categories are wide-ranging (Beans: Dried and Fresh-Shelled) while others narrow (Ugli and Other Unusual Fruits—seemingly chosen to fill a gap in the alphabet). Bakers will appreciate recipes that offer both scratch and shortcut versions, but perhaps best of all, the book reflects perceptive appreciation of cooking the world over; in its broad embrace, it evokes the hopeful ethos of using food to open doors and build bridges. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Aliza Green is the author of five successful cookbooks, beginning with her authorial partnership with French chef Georges Perrier on Le Bec-Fin Recipes. She also co-authored ¡Ceviche!: Seafood, Salads, and Cocktails with a Latino Twist with chef Guillermo Piernot, which won a James Beard Award for “Best Single Subject Cookbook.” Beans: More than 200 Delicious, Wholesome Recipes from Around the World, appeared as one of The New York Times’ top cookbooks of the year. She has also authored Field Guide to Meat and Field Guide to Produce. Green’s food columns and articles appear in a variety of local and national newspapers and magazines, including in Fine Cooking, Prevention, Philadelphia Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and The National Culinary Review. She has conducted numerous cooking classes, had many television appearances, including NBC’s Today Show, and radio interviews, and is a highly reputed television and print food stylist.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (September 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762427477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762427475
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.3 x 2.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Starting With Ingredients, Quintessential Recipes for the Way We Really Cook' by Philadelphia chef and cookbook writer, Aliza Green is an imposing tome which promises much, and generally delivers on it's promise, even if it lets us down just a bit on expectations now and then.

The book has ONE BIG IDEA that sets it apart from almost all other general purpose cookbooks. All recipes are in 100 chapters which represent one (or two, or a family of) principle ingredient. Examples of single major ingredients are Beef, Chestnuts, and Butter. Examples of two ingredient chapters are Calamari & Octopus, Carrots & Parsnips, and Bananas & Plantains. Examples of `family' recipes are Mushrooms, Cheese, and Greens. One special chapter entitled `X-tras: Basic and Useful Information for the Cook' covers the usual pantry preparations such as stocks and basic pastry recipes.

All this means that the author is realizing the promise of her title with no compromises. The virtue of this organization comes home as I recall Tom Colecchio's great dictum that one does not decide what one wants to cook before we look at what we have on hand. Ingredients, not dishes, always come first.

With that established, lets look at the recipes we get for that most important ingredient, eggs. Opening this chapter, we see another excellent aspect of this book. Each chapter begins with a table of contents for all the recipes and sidebars appearing under this ingredient. Here we encounter the second great strength of this book. Each chapter includes a great wealth of information on dealing with the ingredient.
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Format: Hardcover
Starting with Ingredients by Aliza Green is an achievement of massive proportions. Another reviewer compared this book with The Joy of Cooking, and I believe the comparison has some merit. However, this book is no Joy wannabe but rather an eloquently written cookbook with a unique style of its own.From a commentary on onions and civilization to a remembrance of her great grandmother's Sabbath Challah bread, Ms Green makes even the humble cabbage come alive.
Organizing by ingredient makes it easy for the reader to investigate uses for the thing we have too much of, such as tomatoes in August, but this is more than a collection of recipes. It is in the beginning of each chapter/ingredient that Ms. Green shows her true expertise. I had not heard of this author before, but she certainly has her bona fides in the food world. Yet this book is not a fancy restaurant celebrity chef book. It is solidly grounded in the senibilities of the home kitchen. Though this book has no slick color photographs the author's words alone make me want to make the food.
At 1035 pages not counting the index, this book is going to take years to learn well. For that reason it has a place next to the Joy, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything,and perhaps Jean Anderson's New Doubleday Cookbook. It will then be in appropriate company.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very good book, if you like encyclopedic type books about food and cooking. My review has more to do with the way the book is bound than with the actual contents. I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about the process of binding or publishing a book. However, I do own many books, including some rather large textbooks, and I have never seen a book that was as difficult to read as this one. At one point in the book there is part of a recipe that is completely consumed by the binding so that you can't read it at all. I made the mistake of trying to pull the center of the book apart a tiny bit so that I could read it. Of course I ripped the page and so still could not read the recipe. It boggles my mind that someone would put this much effort, knowledge, time, etc. into a wonderful work like this and then bind it so poorly that it is unreadable in places. In the places where it is readable, it is just difficult to wrangle, i.e. won't lay open on a flat surface, etc. And yes, I did return the book to Amazon when I realized this to ask for a replacement, which they very graciously and quickly sent. The replacement is the same as the one before. I also check in every book store I go to to see if it is the same there. Every one I have checked is bound the same way as far as I can tell. I am keeping the book because I like it, but I wish it could have been bound differently. Maybe it needs to go into two volumes instead of one?
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Format: Hardcover
This is probably one of the best cookbooks I've ever owned. It is detailed, thorough (over 1,000 pages!), and inspiring. I purchased it originally because, as the tagline suggests, this really is the way we cook (at least I do). Plus, though it's relatively gourmet at times, it's amazingly convenient for those of us who don't have a big shopping budget or a lot of food at home. Other recipe books call for so many different items that I don't have, but this book allows me to take stock of what I do have in my kitchen and go from there; and in this sense, the recipes are pretty practical.

Not only have I learned new recipes, I've also learned many things about each ingredient: the way an ingredient interacts with other ingredients, the varieties of each ingredient and how to choose from them, storage tips, what to expect when cooking that ingredient in any number of ways, and so much more. My only complaint (which is small) is that it lacks a section on herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.). I still have plenty of questions about the different varieties, storage requirements, etc.

It's definitely a cookbook to have for a lifetime and pass down the generations. So what are you still reading this review for? Buy it now, you won't regret it!
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