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How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food [Hardcover]

Mark Bittman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 20 2008
Today's Favorite Kitchen Companion—Revised and Better Than Ever

Mark Bittman's award-winning How to Cook Everything has helped countless home cooks discover the rewards of simple cooking. Now the ultimate cookbook has been revised and expanded (almost half the material is new), making it absolutely indispensable for anyone who cooks—or wants to. With Bittman's straightforward instructions and advice, you'll make crowd-pleasing food using fresh, natural ingredients; simple techniques; and basic equipment. Even better, you'll discover how to relax and enjoy yourself in the kitchen as you prepare delicious meals for every occasion.

"A week doesn't go by where I don't pull How to Cook Everything down from the shelf, so I am thrilled there's a new, revised edition. My original is falling apart!"
—Al Roker

"This new generation of How to Cook Everything makes my 'desert island' cookbook choice jacked up and simply universal. I'll now bequeath my cookbooks to a collector; I need only this one."
—Mario Batali

"Mark Bittman has done the impossible, improving upon his now-classic How to Cook Everything. If you need know-how, here's where to find it."
—Bobby Flay

"Mark Bittman is a great cook and an incredible teacher. In this second edition, Mark has fine-tuned the original, making this book a must for every kitchen."
—Jean-Georges Vongerichten

"Throw away all your old recipes and buy How to Cook Everything. Mark Bittman's recipes are foolproof, easy, and more modern than any others."
—Isaac Mizrahi

"Generous, thorough, reliable, and necessary, How to Cook Everything is an indispensable reference for both experienced and beginner cooks."
—Mollie Katzen, author of the Moosewood Cookbook

"I learned how to cook from How to Cook Everything in a way that gives me the freedom to be creative. This new edition will be my gift to new couples or for a housewarming; if you have this book, you don't really need any others."
—Lisa Loeb, singer/songwriter

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"How to Cook Everything is a masterwork of huge proportions...this is a culinary classic...will not disappoint." (, July 2009) 'Abulky, considerable resource that will probably last you a lifetime' (, July 2012)

From the Inside Flap

How do you update a classic? For his bestselling, award-winning How to Cook Everything—the modern bible of home cooking—Mark Bittman started from scratch, going page by page, recipe by recipe, carefully blending the best of the beloved original with appealing new recipes and fresh, current information. The result is an even more useful and authoritative cookbook, ready to inform, inspire, and guide new and accomplished cooks alike—the single book to turn to for every kitchen endeavor.

Bittman has added hundreds of new dishes, and completely updated the remaining recipes and every line of guidance. New features abound: Each chapter now opens with "Essential Recipes," a section that highlights the core dishes for every cook's repertoire, such as building blocks for simple soups or ten ways to cook any seafood. He has also expanded the chapters on vegetables and fruits, grains, beans, and desserts. New charts will help you customize recipes with a variety of flavors and ingredients, and new how-to illustrations bring the total to nearly 400. With this revision, Bittman also tags fast, make-ahead, and vegetarian recipes with icons for easy menu planning.

The new How to Cook Everything provides a lifetime's worth of quick, simple, and delicious options. Its 2,000 recipes and variations cover everything from Pad Thai and Carrot Salad with Cumin to Simplest Whole Roast Chicken, Six Ways and Traditional Apple Pie. All of the recipes are easy to prepare—more than half can be completed in 30 minutes (many in even less time)—and none requires special equipment or fancy techniques. Throughout, the emphasis is on fresh, widely available ingredients and healthy, uncomplicated preparations.

As always, Bittman's recipes are instantly appealing, uniquely accessible, and refreshingly straightforward. And many of the special features you loved in the original are still here, too, fully updated. Bittman's thoughtful and inspiring sidebars and lists (like "Twenty-Five Pasta Sauces You Can Make in Advance") and suggested menus for every occasion make How to Cook Everything more valuable and indispensable than ever—the one cookbook you need for fast and flavorful home-cooked food every day of the year.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
As someone who was banished from the kitchen by my mother (except for dish-washing chores), I have always had lots of questions about what to do and when for the kinds of dishes I like. My wife was similarly banished so we are like the blind leading the blind. Our mothers' culinary skills caused us to appreciate great home-cooked food, but unable to provide it for ourselves. As a result, we are fond of cookbooks where you toss a few ingredients together and get something tasty in a few minutes. We also look forward to restaurant meals where great flavors are experienced beyond what our mothers gave us.

That seemed to me like where we would stay until I found the Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition of How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. With this book, I can create almost anything I used to enjoy at my mom's house or in a restaurant. I also feel confident about achieving those results because this book answers my unanswered questions.

I was astonished to see how many flavors I like in sauces can be created very easily. Wow!

In addition, I can now look forward to healthier eating by knowing what ingredients are being used rather than relying on so many prepared ingredients.

Thank you!

If you already know how to make great recipes from scratch, you won't be as impressed by this book as I am. In fact, you probably won't need it.

To use a metaphor, this book isn't the ultimate cook book. It's the step-up cookbook for those who have mastered the simplest kitchen preparations but want to learn how to do more and create the kind of results that you don't experience in 90 percent of American kitchens.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars overall very good Aug. 16 2012
By AlexG
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bittman has created a real tome for cooking enthusiasts. The book, as one can imagine by the title, really does cover everything one needs to know about cooking; from basic knife skills and ingredient preparation, to creating elaborate dishes like "almond-stuffed braised squid" or "lamb curry". However, I noticed that many of the recipes are constructed so that a home cook can have some measure of success. For example, some of the recipes will not feature their classic method but instead Bittman's variation so that it's easier and more attainable. Do not expect a cookbook detailing very complex dishes or even modernist cuisine for which few of us have the equipment. But this shouldn't be a problem, because the encyclopedic nature of the book has only your imagination as its limit; it is up to you to benefit from the many recipes (organized by food category, e.g. "grains", "dairy", etc.) and create a stunning accompaniment to a main dish. What I love foremost about this book is the priority given to the written word rather than to pictures. I would say that the book is 95% writing and the advantage to this is that Bittman practically talks to you, walking you through the recipes and explaining details about the ingredients and techniques. Rather than the typical cookbook that is instead too many pictures with insufficient explanation, Bittman greatly accomplished the opposite. Ironically, this is perhaps the only problem with the book (hence my four stars). Even though there are well-drawn black-and-white illustrations and superb "summary" tables, there isn't enough demonstration of technique or color photos of the finished dish. Explaining a technique is just incomparable to watching a video of a professional executing that technique. Read more ›
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
lots of good recipes and tips well written recipes for everything from soup to nuts . recommend for anyone looking for a good cookbook
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4.0 out of 5 stars everything you need Dec 3 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this was the best cookbook i ever bought. it has tons of sauces and tells you how to use many things i can't even remember them won't be let down...its what i expected a gordon ramsay cookbook shoul have but failed to deliver
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great cookbook for beginner Dec 30 2011
I received this cookbook when I first moved out of my parents' house. It's the perfect cookbook for a new cook. It tells you what each food item looks like, how to cut certain fruits and vegetables, and gives great menu ideas. The recipes aren't all that exciting, but it really helped me learn how to cook and I still use it to this day - 15 years later.

I highly recommend as a gift to a young adult or for someone who hasn't done a lot of cooking.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Modern Joy of Cooking with a Few Problems Nov. 12 2011
As the title says this compendium of recipes is like a modern Joy of Cooking. At first like a few others I wasn't all that impressed with it but as I cooked away with it I realized what a useful tool it is. I like all the alternatives he provides with recipes. Don't like a stew with beef and carrots? Try it with lamb and peas. Or how about veal and rapini. I liked all the variations on a theme. Many of the recipes are quite basic too, not particularly fancy or fussy. And obviously this is a huge cookbooks. You can find a recipe for just about any ingredient. Now for the complaints. Oh Mark. C'mon! Not everyone owns a food processor. Half the recipes seem to use a food processor. How New York. And there's a lot of unhealthy fat in many of the recipes. A turkey stuffing with half a pound of butter? I don't think so. Mark needs to lower his fat rations. I made his ahem! food processor pie pastry and it was a complete failure. In fact, my results with quite a few recipes has been very variable. Perhaps the instructions could have been more precise? I don't know. Some of the ingredients are a bit difficult to find too. Not available in my neck of the woods. I have to go downtown to buy mirin and miso where I am. I borrowed this cookbook from the public library but after using it through 2 library renewals I might buy it. It's a very useful book with every possible cookable thing in it.
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