kitchen needs a good basic cookbook, and in mine, itís Mark
Bittmanís How to Cook
Everything. In the grand tradition of such American cookbook
classics as The Joy of Cooking, this behemoth of a big yellow book is intended
as an all-purpose, all-encompassing cookbook thatís as useful
to the kitchen novice as it is to the seasoned home chef. With
recipes ranging from the quotidian (basic tomato sauce, grilled
chicken, minestrone soup) to the more exotic ( Pad Thai, Hanoi
Noodle Soup, Sushi, Shrimp with Cumin and Mint), this is the
perfect foundation cookbook for those of us whose culinary
tastes extend beyond the classic American home-cooked staples of
spaghetti with meatballs and macaroni and cheese.
The ethnic food recipes have, for the most part, been
pared down from their more complex, authentic incarnations, in
such a way that the primary flavors of the original dish have
been captured, using only ingredients that can be commonly found
in any supermarket. Purists
might sniff their noses, but these are practical recipes that
will let you produce good food, and quickly. With its handy
glossary, illustrated technique how-toís, and instructions for
such simple tasks as making a hard-boiled egg, cooking rice, and
baking a potato, this book is also the place to go for any of
those rudimentary cooking questions that youíve been too
embarrassed to ask.
boasts over 1500 recipes, ranging from good olí 50s Mom foods
to easy Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Mexican-inspired
fare. That sound comprehensive enough to you?
Amazingly easy-to-follow recipes, and sensibly organized by meal
and primary ingredient. The veggie section is particularly
fabulous, as it offers handy buying, storing, and
These recipes arenít particularly fancy or inspired, but they
do produce reliably good, everyday food.
not ugly so much as utilitarian.
You wonít find glossy four-color close-ups of
architecturally-sculpted food, but the layout is clean and
spare, and the pencil-sketch step-by-step how-to diagrams are a
nice touch. One annoying thing: cheap binding means that the
book WILL fall apart on you.