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Showing 1-10 of 72 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 195 reviews
An interesting concept. . . . "Gourmet" magazine's "greatest hits" among recipes put together in a large compendium (recipes end on page 935). There is also a DVD that features the author's cooking techniques and some recipes. There are some nice features to this work, including "Tips and Techniques" (e.g., using salt and pepper, toasting spices, and handling chiles), a glossary (with a variety of chiles, fleur de sel, miso, truffle oil), and where to get certain ingredients and cooking supplies (e.g., where would you go to get buffalo or Thai basil?). But, of course, the heart of the book is its recipes.

The team involved in preparing this book had the following purpose and method (Page xii): "The concept was straightforward: we would look thro0ugh all the recipes we had ever published, select the best, and retest them. Then we would gather the cream of the crop into a book." I would note that some of these recipes are such that I will not try them (e.g., difficult cooking techniques or difficulty in finding key ingredients), but a large number of these are accessible to people who enjoy cooking their own meals. As such, this is a repository of recipes that are apt to be tastier and lusher than those from my beloved copy of "The Joy of Cooking." On the other hand, recipes are often more taxing on the amateur than are those in "Joy." As they say, a tradeoff. Nonetheless, many, many of these recipes are quite doable. . . .

The book is divided into a number of sections--Hors d'ouevres and first courses, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches and pizzas, Pasta (and noodles and dumplings), Grains and beans, Poultry, Beef (and weal and pork and lamb), Breads and crackers, Breakfast and brunch, Cookies (bars and confections), Cakes, Pies (tarts and pastries), Fruit desserts, Puddings (and custards, mousses, and soufflés), Frozen desserts and sweet sauces, Sauces and salsas, Relishes (and chutneys and pickles and preserves), and Basics. One of the nice things is the recognition in this volume of Americans' changing tastes. For instance, salsa is relatively recent in "Gourmet." By going over decades of recipes, one gets a sense of the changing nature of American tastes.

A word about "Basics," the past set of recipes in this work. Here, we see how to create the fundamental elements in cooking, such as stocks (chicken, beef, veal, fish, and vegetable), herbes de Provence (their recipe doesn't include lavender, but it would be easy enough to add), garam masala, and clarified butter (I have recently discovered how easy this is to make and what a difference it makes!).

There are so many worthy recipes that it makes little sense to try to enumerate some favorites or ones that I intend to make. However, perusing these makes it clear that while some will be challenging for the amateur cook, others are quite within the reach of such an audience--with the promise of some great tasting dishes!

Anyhow, a fine resource and one that I will be using in tandem with a precious few of my cookbooks that are workhorses in my kitchen library. . . .
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on July 11, 2013
I love this cookbook and the only problem I have with the cookbook is that some ingredients you make not have on hand or are available at your local market. That being said it is a gourmet cookbook so it is cooking above the normal everyday cooking.

Over 1000 recipes and it shows, the book is massive. The recipes cover cuisine from all over the world and that is wonderful. You can look up recipes such as Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Hungarian, Jewish, Italian, Mexican, Turkish and many more. This is great if you want to experiment outside of American cuisine. It can be a wonderful way to introduce your family to the cuisine of other cultures. I try to teach my kids about other cultures and we will research an area and learn about that area and I will prepare a dish from that culture, this is one of the cookbooks I turn to when looking for a recipe.

Throughout the book they also teach you about food like information on Chile Peppers, Potatoes, Oysters, Italian Cheese, Noodles and many more. The information is brief but very helpful.

Be prepared many of the recipes require lots of ingredients and quit a bit of work, but I have found the recipes to be worth the effort. Some of the recipes include notes, such as parts that you can make ahead, how long you can store the dish, and if you can freeze the leftovers.

The sections covers the normal: Vegetables, Soups, Beef, Ect. In the back there is section that covers the basics: stocks, Creating spice blends (Chinese five spice powder), pastes and clarified butter.

There is a very short section of tips and techniques, like using salt and pepper, toasting seeds and toasting spices.

The glossary is very helpful to me because occasionally I ran across an item that I did not know what it was like Asafetida(an Indian spice), Calabaza(pumpkin) and Urad Dal(black lentils).

There is an sources sections with website addresses. This cookbook is not new so many of the websites no longer exist, but many do and provides a great resource for finding ingredients not available locally.

When you are looking to step up your cooking game, this cookbook will help you do the job,
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on May 3, 2017
This is one of my 5 "go-to" cookbooks when I need a recipe. Don't let the name scare you. I am NOT a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination. It's pretty down to earth and will make you seem like a gourmet cook. I rely on the explanations for various cooking techniques and appreciate there are recipes here that aren't in my other books.
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on September 8, 2015
"The only cookbook you'll ever need" Well, maybe so and maybe not, but in any case this is one excellent (and gigantic) cookbook. It has ribbons to mark a couple of pages when you are using it and was in near-mint condition when it arrived. I have discovered lots of recipes I'd never heard of, always stimulating for a chef-ettte, and I love the look of this on my shelf. I've had this book on my wishlist for a long time, and I am happy that I finally broke down and bought a copy. Thanks to the seller for very timely shipping and for sending such a fine copy. Description was plenty complete and accurate.
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on October 9, 2012
This is the best cookbook I've ever owned. And I own quite a lot of cookbooks. It has the best recipes, explanations, information and time the recipes take to make! I absolutely love that feature. Every recipe we make from it is very good. The Devils food cake recipe is so yummy! And the macaroni and cheese recipe is the best ever!
We have given this book as a gift so many times and still do. It has been a staple in our kitchen for the last 8 years. My husband loves it. It was actually a Christmas gift that I bought for him. I keep several on hand to give as gifts. We love the green Gourmet cookbook too. That one has more delicious recipes. Like the pumpkin apple bread. It is famous in my neighborhood. But I would start with the yellow Gourmet and then when you fall in love with it and everything you make turns out wonderful and delicious, then you can get the green one too! At least that is what we did.
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on June 12, 2017
Love this book! One of the best.
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on November 24, 2014
I use this cookbook more than all of my other cookbooks combined. Every recipe I have tried has been a hit and added to my regular rotation (the pumpkin apple bread is a particular favorite). I also appreciate the comprehensive nature of this book -- it has myriad recipes for each type of meat or vegetable. If I arrive home from the market with a particular cut of meat, I know I can find at least a few interesting options in this cookbook from cuisines around the world. It makes me miss receiving Gourmet Magazine in the mail!!!
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on October 11, 2016
Love this giant book. Every recipe I've tried so far has been great. Love the tips section - short and sweet - and very useful. The index is cross referenced and nice for browsing for ideas as well as pinpointing the recipe or ingredient you are looking for. Bought one for my friend at the same time - it is her go to now.
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on May 10, 2005
This is the best cookbook I have ever read! Not only is it a wonderful compilation of recipes from Gourmet Magazine (everything I've tried so far is wonderful!!) but there are pages that explain techniques, (I was always afraid to try artichokes before...), different cuts of different meats, differences in dried chilis or mushrooms or onions, and what to look for when you are buying. In addition, there is a large section called Sources in the back that provides places to look for harder to find items if you live in a small or remote area as I do. I was afraid this book would be inaccessible because it's called Gourmet (after the magazine) but it is completely down to earth and each recipe gives additional information about where the recipe came from or things that would go well with this item. There is often a note (or two) at the end that talks about things that can be done ahead or how it should be stored. Finally each recipe lists the amount of active time spent making the item and the total time (including things like soaking beans or cooling cakes) to help you plan ahead. Each one also contains a list of any special equipment needed (most recipes don't require anything outrageous)to prepare the dish. I absolutely love this book and I will buy it for any of my friends who are getting married or who express an interest in learning to cook because it is a primer in general cooking as well as fine food!

Thank you, Gourmet and Ruth!!! (Could you do another, please?:))
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on February 16, 2011
I cannot believe the price deal I got on this cookbook. I have wanted it since it came out and now that I have it I cannot put it down! The commentary are the best part to read, and the recipes are phenomenally well written. They have tested and retested and then tested again, these are perfect recipes and techniques. This book is FULL of fantastic information, a kitchen must-have, especially if you want to cook really really well! Ruth Reichl is a terrific writer and her hand is apparent throughout. This is a go-to cookbook for me at home and at my cafe, especially since there is so much info packed in, from estimated times of prep to tips about replacing difficult to find ingredients. I love this book as a professional cook, and I would give it to my friends and family who are not.
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