on February 11, 2009
This is not a cookbook, but rather a cooking book - it teaches you how to cook, and the recipes contained within are only suggestions. It's a book to be kept in the library and studied from, not left in the kitchen for a quick meal idea. If you put in the time, you will have not a repertoire of recipes, but a real understanding of the art and science of cooking. I must confess, much of what I've read is beyond me so far. I had no idea that food was this interesting.
on May 2, 2009
I own almost all of James Peterson's books (except SWEET WINES, which is out of print.) And they are all excellent and informative --- Cooking is no exception. It goes through a variety of cooking techniques and different kinds of food (eggs, vegetable, meat....) with lots of photographs. It is not a cookbook that shows you how to put a dinner on the table under 20 minutes, but rather a book that shows you the techniques of cooking. Think of it as a complete cooking school in a book.
I have ordered this book when I was trying to get myself a series of expert / professional material to widen my culinary horizons and learn more about classic cooking. It's really aimed for people who have a higher calling, than someone looking for a quick and easy 20 minutes meal.
As with Mr James Peterson's sister book, Baking, it's well divided into comprehensive and logical sections starting with, well, starters, working through a classic meal order, going from the well known meats, up to the more exotic ingredients, and ending with dessert.
One of the aspects I like the most, is that each subject brings the author to a healthy discussion about his choices and why he made them. He will steer you in the direction of what he thinks is best, but will leave other doors open as well, as not everyone have the same possibilities open to them. There are countless little pictures to illustrate the processes, and little memos and tool tips are scattered everywhere along this book to make your life easier.
I find there is a good balance in the more classic recipes and the modern recipes. It covers an extensive range of subjects and essential techniques, like how truss and roast a chicken, how to clean and fillet your fish, how to bone a half lamb shoulder, etc. that you must know if you're aiming for that next level in fresh cooking. I also enjoy that most by products created have clever suggestions on how to use them up later, so nothing's wasted.
If you own Baking, you will find the end of the book a bit redundant, since it covers breads, tarts and cakes, which are extensively seen in this other book. However, it is a very good thing to have in this book as well, cause someone who would like to buy only one of these books can still get this one and have a solid base on baking.
I love this book and refer myself to it often, when planning culinary experiences for me and my family. It was a great investment.
on November 19, 2012
I'm a line cook just starting out in the restraunt industry, and in my spare time I tend to do a lot of culinary experiments. This book provided a fairly accessable and thorough run-through of cooking and baking techniques, as well as some excellent recipies, and gave me the confidence and skill to explore the nuances of the culinary arts. I make everything from scratch now, screw pre-prepared store-bought food, I can make it better.