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New Best Recipe Hardcover – Nov 17 2004


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New Best Recipe + The Science Of Good Cooking + Cook's Illustrated Cookbook
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Best Recipe Series; 2 Revised edition (Nov. 17 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936184744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936184746
  • Product Dimensions: 28.5 x 21.9 x 4.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Review

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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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Janet L. Wilson on Dec 16 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 By A Customer on Sept. 3 2005
Format: Hardcover
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 By GTCB on Jan. 13 2005
Format: Hardcover
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 By bachef on Nov. 29 2006
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 By angie on June 12 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 By melissa on May 15 2005
Format: Hardcover
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 By Rain Dawn on Nov. 16 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 By Kathy Cook on Nov. 11 2006
Format: Hardcover
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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