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The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Essential Recipe Collection for Today's Home Cook [Hardcover]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 21 2008
Cooking today is multidimensional: it's about creating soul-warming comfort food for friends and family; making healthy, flavorful meals in a limited amount of time; inviting the flavors of ethnic cuisines into our kitchens; and preparing tasty, sumptuous meals for holidays and special occasions. The increasing availability of high-quality, local, and exotic ingredients has transformed the way we cook with delicious results. This comprehensive volume, with its tremendous breadth of recipes, reflects this new diverse interest in food. Among its more than 370 recipes are time-tested classics, fresh new favorites gleaned from restaurant menus, popular ethnic dishes customized for the home cook, and dozens of breakfast and dessert choices, from the simple to the spectacular. In short, The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook celebrates the pleasures of cooking in all its forms.

Whether you are stir-frying a spicy basil-scented chicken dish for a simple weeknight supper, grilling fish steaks for a summer cookout, preparing a standing rib roast as the centerpiece for a multicourse special-occasion meal, or simply looking for a recipe for classic chocolate chip cookies or the ultimate cheesecake, this book is the perfect resource. The recipes are organized into twelve chapters so you can easily find the right dish for your needs. These include: Appetizers; Soups; Salads; Fish and Shellfish; Poultry; Beef and Veal; Pork and Lamb; Vegetables; Breads; Desserts; and Breakfast and Brunch. Sumptuous photographs for every recipe will show you how the finished dish should look. Dozens of photographed sidebars throughout the book illuminate cooking techniques, explain how to work with unfamiliar ingredients, and suggest flavorful sauces or condiments to accompany the main recipe.

Among the recipes are classics that you will come back to again and again, like stuffed mushrooms, Cobb salad, potato gratin, Louisiana-style gumbo, bistro-style roast chicken, eggs Benedict, and devil's food cake. You will also find many dishes inspired by international flavors, such as pot stickers, gazpacho, tabbouleh, carnitas, tandooristyle chicken and tiramisu -- all destined to become new favorites in your home. Look, too, for plenty of kid-friendly recipes such as baked macaroni and cheese, chicken potpie, spaghetti and meatballs, and chocolate brownies, all of which could become some of the most-requested dishes in your cooking repertory.

In addition to the recipes, a comprehensive reference section in the back of the cookbook offers dozens of the basic recipes you'll need for stocks and sauces, bread, pasta, and pie doughs, and dessert sauces and frostings. Also included are a full glossary of cooking terms and ingredients as well as cooking charts that will make it easy for you to find ingredient substitutes, doneness temperatures for meat and poultry, measurement equivalents, and more.

No matter the occasion, The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook will provide the perfect recipe and plenty of inspiration for many years to come.

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The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Essential Recipe Collection for Today's Home Cook + One Pot of the Day (Williams-Sonoma): 365 recipes for every day of the year
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I have always admired Chuck for his relentless drive to find the perfect piece of equipment and his commitment to the art of the kitchen. From teaching classes at his store on Rodeo Drive to buying equipment at his flagship San Francisco store in the late 1970s, I have always considered Chuck Williams and his company an integral part of my culinary journey. The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, extensive, thorough, and lavishly illustrated, reflects that search for quality that is the trademark of its founder. -- Jacques PÉpin, PBS-TV cooking series host, cookbook author, and teacher

Chuck Williams is an American icon for a reason. He truly understands the relationship between simplicity and style. For decades, his store, Williams-Sonoma, culled through hundreds of coffee makers and roasting pans to offer the only one that you really need to own. It was always simple, beautiful, and of the best quality. Chuck's cookbooks do the same thing. His recipes are exactly what you want to eat, use simple ingredients, and they're delicious. This is a wonderful book! -- Ina Garten, author, Barefoot Contessa cookbooks

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For fans of Williams-Sonoma a classic. April 25 2010
I purchased this book shortly after borrowing it from the library. I can say that I own a large number of Williams-Sonoma cookbooks and I cook from them often. That being said there are some repeated recipes in this book, but there are also many new ones.
Every recipe is photographed for those people who tend to gravitate to books with pictures. There are recipe classics, fusion dishes and food from around the globe. The back of the book has a glossary with food descriptions if you don't know what and item is and helpful cooking charts. If you don't own one of their cook books yet I highly recommend you start here.

So far having come through winter we've eaten Italian. I have made The Gnocchi with Pesto... my husband still talks about it and the Gnocchi with Quattro Formaggi a family favourite since my son is partial to anything with cheese and cream. We regularly make the Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter and Sage and the Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto. (Though these selections are all Italian... there are far more dishes that are not!) We've enjoyed the Panna Cotta with Strawberries, Blueberry Pancakes, French toast and The Eggs Benedict as well.

In the near future I plan on trying the Sichuan-style Braised Eggplant (I need a few more ingredients from an asian market),Ratatouille, and the Grilled Fish Tacos.

I would say my problem is not do I enjoy this book... it's more what do I choose to cook from it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true inspiration... Oct. 14 2011
I was a cook for about two years in my twenties and I loved every minute of that job, it taught me tons of tools... however if you leave the industry, sometimes you lose the inspiration for cooking. I lost it and went on to just cooking day by day to feed us but not for the love of cooking.

This book has brought that back to me. The recipes are smart, simple and absolutely delicious. It is not often that you can open a cookbook and find that almost every single recipe is now on your priority list to try, this book has that. The photos are beautiful and the recipes made for everyday cook, the entertainer or the weekend baker.

This book is a must for your library and when you have it, you'll notice that this is the book that will come to mind first over all the others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great solid cookbook Dec 1 2008
By A. White - Published on Amazon.com
I have a ton of cookbooks, but this one is my favorite. The ingredients are not hard to find; they dont require fancy set-up for the recipes, and the give great little tips on the side bars. Not to mention, I have never tried a recipe from Williams-Sonoma that hasn't been a hit with my guests. I have done an all-WS Thanksgiving for the past three years, and everything is always fantastic.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great basic cookbook for budding foodies! May 29 2010
By asparagirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just got this cookbook for my bridal shower last weekend, and so far we have made three recipes: the chicken with tomatoes and zucchini, the steamed salmon with charmoula (we used tilapia instead), and the banana bread. All were excellent and simple to make. There is a good mix of simple and relatively quick recipes for weeknights, and more involved dishes for weekends or when you have guests over. The book is beautiful, directions are easy to follow, and there is a diverse selection of recipes in all categories. A previous reviewer noted that this is not a basic "everyday" sort of cookbook; she is right - in a good way. No casseroles, cake mixes, canned cream of mushroom soup or any of that junk used as ingredients here; it's written for the WS customer who values interesting and quality food. I'm already planning for my next WS cookbook purchase!
58 of 81 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These Recipes are NOT Essential Home Cooking. Nov. 27 2008
By kiwanissandy - Published on Amazon.com
It's titled The Essential Recipe Collection For Today's Home Cook, that's certainly a tall order. First off this cookbook is huge, it's over 450 pages, the pages are glossy so they would hold up over time, the pictures are lovely and there are lots of them.

There are tips scattered throughout the cookbook. Such ideas as to ripen an avocado is to place it in a paperbag with a banana. The ethylene gases emitted by the banana will speed the ripening process of the avocado. Every page has some sort of tidbit or tip included.

These recipes are advertised for the home cook. So to me that means food you would serve on a daily basis. That wouldn't include a lot of these recipes. The one for deviled eggs was to make the filling using capers, champagne vinegar, parsley, and anchovies. I did like the tip about after boiling the eggs to crack them and leave soak in the water for an hour before peeling. I'll have to try that next time. But to serve these deviled eggs at the next family reunion? I don't think so.

Another recipe was Tuna Tartare on Ruffles Potato Chips. Is this sushi on potato chips? No kidding it was sushi grade tuna mixed with a raw egg served on Ruffles potato chips. This is for the home cook?

Another recipe was Steak Tartare on Baguette Croutes. This time you used raw filet mignon with capers. There are lots of caper recipes just to warn you. So as not to be outdone with the raw fish, there's Ceviche. I've never and will never serve my children raw fish and eggs for dinner. That is not essential home cooking.

If you're describing a cookbook that is "essential home cooking" then you're referring to Betty Crocker Big Red CookbookBetty Crocker's Cookbook (5-Ring Binder) or even The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook: America's Bestselling Step-by-Step Cookbook, with More Than 1,400 Recipes. This falls into the same category as the new Martha Stewart Cooking School Cook book. It's too high end for the everyday dinner.

I made the corn bread with dried blueberries. It was not very good. The corn bread was dry and not very tasty. I also made the chocolate chip cookies and they were dry as well. I'll just go back to the Tollhouse recipe on the bag.

If you like the Martha Stewart Cooking School cookbook then this is just for you. If you want a cookbook that is truly essential home recipes then go for the Betty Crocker Cookbook (you know, the big red one) or Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook or even Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe book. This one is a coffee table book at best.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book! March 4 2010
By G. Reinbergs - Published on Amazon.com
As some other people said, I like that the ingredients are not hard to find, (because who wants to be stuck with all kinds of expensive rondom ingredients you never will use again!), and that it gives you the kind of tips that if you are not so familiar with cooking, are extremely important tips to know! Everything I have made tastes amazin, the only issue I have is that I think some of the food in the pictures have had little enhancements made in preproduction to make it look slightly shinier and browner, if its a baked good, or crispier and more colorful if it is regualar food, because I just can't seem to get my finished product to look exactly as it does in the pics,... anyway they taste amazing, and the book is easy to navigate, and has LOTS of pictures, so thats what matters most to me!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent CookBook! Aug. 4 2011
By Tom Saric - Published on Amazon.com
I've used Williams Sonoma books in the pasta, and while the recipes all worked out very well, they often were so complicated that I would have to read the 5 page recipes multiple times and it would take hours.

The recipes in this book, on the other hand, are far simpler, yet they turn out just as well as the longer recipes. There is great variety of recipes in the book (breakfast through dinner and desert; indian through american and japanese). I've made about half of the dishes in the book and they've all worked out for me and I'm no professional chef by any stretch. I find that these recipes are a notch above other cookbooks in terms of the quality of food (most of it could be on a menu at a higher end restaurant) so it is great to be able to eat well at home.

I rarely write cookbook reviews, but I thought I owed it to this cookbook for making my meals much more exciting!
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