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New Best Recipe [Hardcover]

Editors Of Cooks Illustrated
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 38.99
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Book Description

Nov. 17 2004 Best Recipe

Have you ever wondered why a recipe tells you to scald milk or to use cocoainstead of baking chocolate? So have we. As Cook’s Illustrated readersknow, we take nothing for granted, testing variations on a recipe 10, 20, 30, upto 80 times to test baking temperatures, mixing methods, ingredient choices, andcooking techniques. The result? Our 700 favorite recipes, taken from the pagesof Cook’s Illustrated from 1993 through 1999. The recipes annotatedwith information on the science of cooking, cookware buying recommendations,suggestions on which food products are best plus over 200 illustrationsdemonstrating the best methods for making pie dough or boning chicken. Now youcan have all of your favorite Cook’s recipes in one handy volume, indexed forquick reference.
In The Best Recipe, we invite you into our test kitchen where youwill discover how to make a foolproof yellow cake, a perfectly cooked prime ribroast, and homemade bread in under two hours. The Best Recipe notonly contains the best recipes for your favorite home-cooked foods, it alsoexplains how and why recipes work so that you will become a better cook.

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Product Description

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.


Christopher Kimball, founder and editor of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, has a simple philosophy about cooking. Essentially, it comes down to precision. Like any science, recipes should be exact when it comes to ingredients, quantities, cooking times and temperatures, cook ware and other instruments, and the preparation of ingredients before the use of oven or pot. I mention this knowing full well that many proud cooks reading this review will scoff at the notion of such precision. Shouldn’t the preparation of food leave room for experimentation, culinary talent, or simply personal preference? Depends on the market. I for one fear guesswork in the kitchen. The more instructions and pictures showing me precisely how to execute everything within a recipe, the more confident I feel that I’ll be able to pull it off. It seems that I’m not the only one who thinks this way. The original Best Recipe, published in 1999, was an “instant success.” “We have sold almost 400,000 copies since then,” Kimball writes in the Introduction to this new book, which offers 500 new recipes and 800 hand-drawn illustrations. Personally, I’m reassured by the editors’ stated mission “to test recipes over and over again until we understand how and why they work and until we arrive at the 'best' version." I appreciate that “[they] make the mistakes, so [I] don’t have to.”
True to their word, just about all of the recipes in the book are accompanied by a great deal of text that explains what is right or wrong about the traditional or most common method of preparing a dish. This is followed by a detailed account of how the Test Kitchen’s cooks arrived at their ‘best’ recipe; the pros and cons of various approaches is described so that a knowledgeable cook will know what not to attempt if she still believes that a different avenue could lead to better results. The following portion, one fifth of a preamble to a recipe for “Shrimp Bisque” is typical:

“The fundamental challenge in making a shrimp bisque is extracting flavor from the shrimp and shells. The recipes we tested did this in a couple of ways. Some recipes we tried pureed the shrimp meat into the base and left there; others simmered the shrimp in the base until spent and then strained them out. The bisques made with pureed shrimp were grainy with shrimp curds; the ones in which the shrimp were strained out achieved the velvety texture properly associated with a bisque. . . .”

It’s impossible to discuss 1,000 recipes. Suffice it to say, the book has a marvelous international range of French, Italian, Oriental, Middle East, and Mexican dishes as well as many North American favorites, and covers everything from appetizers (my favorite section) to a great variety of desserts. I liked the illustrations throughout the book which depict everything from types of roast (in the Pot Roast section, Beef chapter) to ways of cutting and deboning fish before and after cooking (Fish and Shellfish chapter).
The instructions and illustrations in the Guide to Grilling and Barbecue are based on the same principle of determining the ‘best’ recipe and technique. “Outdoor Cooking 101” explains everything to do with charcoal grilling and gas grilling (even suggesting the best, most reasonably priced grills). There are 450 recipes and numerous accompanying images. One section addresses “how to buy beef steaks for the grill.” It includes pictures of 14 types of steaks and rates their tenderness, flavour, and cost. Many other types of illustrations follow: for example, we’re shown how to pare away outer layers of fat on a rack of lamb, bone a leg of lamb, butterfly chicken, remove pinbones from a side of salmon and then barbecue it without leaving chunks stuck to the grill. All this might seem basic to some, but in fact there are enough tips to enlighten even the expert. Not so basic are some of the wonderful recipes: Greek, Indian, Turkish, Caribbean recipes for marinates, salsas, kebabs, various parts and cuts of beef, lamb, and poultry (duck, turkey, and quail included), as well as shellfish, vegetables, side dishes, rubs and sauces. This book is a treat for the summer.
Olga Stein (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be the most amazing cook ever, right now! Dec 16 2004
Would you like to be a fabulous cook? Can't afford a ritzy cooking school? Ever wondered if the mortals in your kitchen could learn to cook like GODS??!!
Wonder no more...this cookbook comes to us courtesy of the team at Cook's Illustrated magazine, which while not widely known, is the single best source of cooking information and recipes on the planet.
Cook's takes classic recipes, deconstructs them and puts them back together, streamlined for the home kitchen but sacrificing nothing in terms of knock-your-socks-off flavour. Bonus: these recipes don't fail, unlike those in most other cookbooks.
I was always a decent cook, but after finding Cook's Illustrated I became an amazing cook...this book will make you one too. I didn't know food could taste this good; you will produce dishes that rival 4 star restaurants, I kid you not. The directions are crystal clear, and you get lots of expert advice on how to choose ingredients and equipment. Most recipes show you master-chef level tips and tricks that are easy to learn.
I can personally recommend the Coq au Vin p. 341 (my family literally begs for it), and if you cook the steak and Madeira pan sauce p. 389, they will probably name a religion after you. Other highlights, French Onion Soup p. 43, various pastas with garlic and oil pan sauces p. 238, Fresh Tomato Sauce for pasta (INCREDIBLE!!!) p. 241, Molasses Spice Cookies p. 785, Lemon Pie p. 907, Key Lime Pie p. 908, Creme Caramel p. 958. Well, you get the idea...I could go on and on, the recipes are so utterly delicious.
This cookbook is kick-ass, world class. Everyone you cook for will wonder where you learned to cook like that. I have lots of cookbooks and almost never look at any of my old ones any more. This one is just that good!
Get it, get it now, you will be so very happy you did, and so will any cook you get it for. The Best Recipe rocks.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yumm Sept. 3 2005
By A Customer
I do not profess to be the world's best cook but, if I do arm myself with a spatula, I want the best results possible. Every recipe that I tried in this book worked out with spectacular results. Having had years of flat Yorkshire puddings, these hit the roof of the oven. The creme caramel had a texture like velvet, as did the creme brulee. Yellow layer cake was moist and did not even need frosting, just raspberry preserves in the middle. Tasted far better than the boxed version. Oven fries were great, as were roast potatoes. I love the explanations as to why and how a particular method was arrived at. This book has become an absolute firm favourite.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Kitchen Resource Jan. 13 2005
This book is huge and pricey, but IMO it's worth every penny.
I own a number of cookbooks and have read a million recipes on the 'net and other cookbooks, but no other publication imparts a sense of confidence in the reader like this book does.
Every recipe is preceeded by a background story from the ATK crew in which they discuss their experience perfecting every recipe. You really get a sense that they care about making sure everything is perfect before they tell you how it's done.
While there are no real exotic recipes in this book, I would recommend it for anyone interested in Western-style cooking. A superb buy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book I Return to Time and Time Again Nov. 29 2006
By bachef
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have a few hundred cookery/culinary/professional chef books but turn to this for basic recipes when I am in the mood for something simple. I often do not use recipes but when I do, the lasagne, bolognese sauce, cream scones, prime rib, carbonara, brining, coq au vin, maple glazed pork, beef burgundy, etc. etc. are excellent. Nearly every single page is dog-earred in my book! I teach cooking classes and recommend this book to learning cooks. The recipes are simple, easy to make and a pleasure to eat.

The advance testing prior to recipes is very interesting as well - it is helpful to know how and why things work and don't work. An excellent read and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my cooking bible June 12 2008
By angie
This is the single most useful cookbook i own, and i own quite a few. After cooking cook's illustrated recipes, i find myself doubting recipes from other sources. The articles included with the recipes tell you exactly why they call for specific techniques, equipment and ingredients and what happened when they tried other things. It also provides an excellent reference with a multitude of supermarket taste tests and equipment ratings. The entire cook's illustrated series is wonderful but this is an absolute must have for anyone to loves to cook or wants a fool-proof collection of fantastic recipes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book May 15 2005
By melissa
This is a Fabulous book in every way! The recipes never fail, each time I'm amazed. What I like the most is that the recipes are easy to follow. It's a must Have!
I also bought Simple and Simply Delicious by Sylvie Rocher, which I thought, was very interesting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give it 10 stars Nov. 16 2007
Honestly it's that good. Every recipe I've tried from this cookbook has been great and has turned me in to a very good cook. I would highly recommend it. The price is excellent for so much information. This is the only cookbook I feel I need now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MOIST CORNBREAD Nov. 11 2006
I'm cooking for 100 at a church dinner and have tried several cornbread recipes. I wanted it to be tasty, slightly sweet, and moist without being crumbly. The cornbread in this book is the only one that fits the bill. It was even good the next day, which is rare for cornbread. Haven't tried any other recipes in the book, but I can't wait.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You will not regret this book!
I highly recommend this book! Although there aren't any pictures of the food, there's tons of great advice and the recipes I've made so far have been absolutely amazing!! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ilysm
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
These guys are the best.
Published 3 months ago by Chris Burns
4.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to my cookbook collection, but not quite perfect
I was eager to get this because I have the first edition and use many of the recipes, and this was expanded. Read more
Published 3 months ago by L. C. L.
5.0 out of 5 stars I love cooking and I thought I knew alot
If cooking were a religion this book would be the bible. You have to take the time to read the comments before each recipe as it's a wealth of information. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nadine Hupperetz
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Recipe Book I Own
I purchased this booked based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews and am very happy that I did. This is an amazing recipe book for many reasons, and for me, the explanations,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Michelle Moayeri
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cookbook
This is an excellent book. Everything is delicious and the comments and suggestions are well worth the read! Buy it.
Published 8 months ago by Rynn
5.0 out of 5 stars New Best Recipe
In my opinion "Cooks Illustrated" can do NO wrong!
This book is every bit as good as I had hoped.
Thnaks Cooks Illustrated!
Published 21 months ago by Mrs. Martha A. Coady
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this recipe book
We use this cookbook more than any other in our cupboard, absolutely love it. Everything has turned out great and it has so much in it.
Published on Aug. 20 2012 by winnipeg85
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, my go to cook book
I absolutly love this cook book, one of the best buys i have done in a while. I have not tried one recipe in this book that did not turn out good. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2011 by kathy guinan
5.0 out of 5 stars all you need to know
This cookbook contains all you need to know to perfect your cooking technique. From basics like scrambled eggs to more complicated recipes, New Best Recipe uses science to set down... Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2011 by mwilk
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