How much can I love this cookbook? First off, the technical features! It is a binder that has sections clearly tabbed - and you can find ANY recipe quickly. There is a table of contents on each tab for each section and a full index in the back. PLUS it lays flat.
BUT now for the best part! The RECIPES are AWESOME. I always get so many compliments on the cookies - the best chocolate chip cookies (thick and caramelly, like the best gourmet ones you can buy). Easy to follow, step by step recipes for all sorts of things - I've tried so many things including, pulled pork BBQ, homemade BBQ sauce, classic yellow birthday cake, the yummiest lemon bars, simply roasted Turkey, etc.
Based on the TV series on PBS, the ATK gang basically find the best way to make something and write a recipe for it. No fail, always worth the (sometimes extra) effort. I have the other book "The Best Recipe" and the recipes are great, and I loved that book - but I love this one more. It's got great colour photos and is a bit more everyday friendly.
I've been able to find a recipe for almost anything I've ever wanted to make, from basics like meatloaf and pizza to Osso Bucco and homemade Challah (the BEST bread you'll ever taste). I was an avid cookbook collector until I realized this is the only book I would ever need if I were suddenly faced with only being able to keep one.
I have never seen the television show but the book looked interesting. The book gives tons of cooking and equipment tips with references to which products and methods work better then others. I have now tried about 4 or 5 recipes and each one has turned out fantastic. The recipes use ingredients that are easily available or items ordinarily found in many kitchens. I will now start collecting more books from the America's Test Kitchen family.
Christopher Kimball, founder of America's Test Kitchen, you are a genius. I LOVE the show and I LOVE this book. Gone are the days of trolling the internet for recipes that fall somewhere between ridiculously gourmet and easy-yet-icky. The recipes in this book tell you how to make good, tasty, non-fussy food from scratch. I have had this cookbook three months and have probably made 50 recipes from it and none have been disasters.
I love the tabbed index, you can open right to the section you want to go to and then right on the tab there is an index for that chapter, so you can find any recipe you want very quickly. I love the pictures that go along with the recipes and show you how to do anything tricky. I love the explanations of WHY the recipes work (I'm a self professed geek, and the science of cooking is really interesting to me). My husband loves this cookbook because everything in it turns out well, our Filipino nanny loves this cookbook because all of the steps are very clearly laid out. I love this cookbook because I trust it so completely. Mr. Kimball says put your pork loin in the slow cooker with prunes, I do it, it turns out great, end of story.
My only complaint is that there is an inordinate amount of roast cooking in this book. Which may be a positive thing; goodness knows there have been enough roasts cooked to death in America and a lesson how not to do that is needed. I wish that there was more international flavor represented. The Thai Beef was amazing, and I'd love to have more of my favorite international dishes America's Test Kitchen-ized.
This has become our go-to book, and I look forward to trying even more recipes out of it over the coming years. This would also be a great gift for anyone just starting out and needing a cookbook which gives you the basics of cooking (how to make a grilled cheese sandwich and boil eggs are both included!).
Thank you Mr. Kimball, my cookbook shelf is suddenly much less crowded!
I wanted this cookbook for Christmas, when I didn't get it, I ordered it myself. The best decision I could have made. This cookbook is amazing. I sit and read it like a book, it is so filled with tips and knowledge. I have only had it for a couple of months but everything that I have made turns out so impressive. It truly is the best tacos, chocolate chip cookies, oven fries, etc. I keep calling my sisters telling them that they have to try these recipes. The binder is so handy as it lays flat and has lots of pictures, not only of the final product but of techniques as well. It really is worth the low price for such a high quality cookbook.
I am a fan of America's Test Kitchens and their empirical approach to creating recipes. When they offer a recipe, you know that it has been tested against many others and the one provided is most likely to deliver. Sure, there are purists out there, both professionals and home cooks, who will find much to complain about; but, for us normal people, this book will get great results.
If you like to cook and to eat - you can't go wrong with this book. It and its baking companion are the most frequently referenced books in our kitchen library. Money well spent; meals well eaten.
The book is easy to follow. Divided into very functional sections, with very simple instructions to follow. I have replaced several of my cookbooks with this one. I also gave it as a gift to my 2 young adult daughters, who also were very exciting to be able to cook receipes from this book. This book is great for people just starting to cook on their own but just as beneficial to those who have been cooking for years. Less expensive to purchase online than at the store.
I don't think I can add much to the other fab reviews, but I can back them up! This cookbook is awesome. I'm not much of a cookbook person having relied heavily on the web in the past, but this cookbook is not only full of tried and true recipies, it also has loads of helpful hints, tips, instructions, etc. -- no more web for me! An incredibly useful resource for any home chef!
I have watched a few of America's Test Kitchen TV shows and am happy to see equipment suggestions and various techniques included in the cook book although most of the recommendations for food products are not helpful for those of us in Canada, especially if we live outside the major cities. The ring binder feature will be helpful; instead of trying to keep a book flat you can remove the recipe page and insert it into a page protector to keep it clean.
I received 2 other cookbooks at the same time and noticed something that could be a big problem: the way flour is measured. Most of you probably know about this already.
"America's Test Kitchen": dip measuring cup into the flour bin & sweep the excess off the cup; 1c = 5oz = 142gr.
"Flour: A baker's collection of spectacular recipes": stir the flour, dip the measuring cup into the flour & sweep the excess off the cup; 1c = 140gr (equals 4.9 oz). Thankfully weights are given for all recipes.
"Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book": stir the flour, spoon flour into measuring cup, sweep the excess off the cup; 1c = 4oz = 125gr. This is wrong: 4oz = 1/4 lb = 113.4 gr. If 125gr is correct then it should be 4.4oz.
In the future perhaps all recipe books will include weights for the dry ingredients (except for measuring spoon size quantities).
I highly recommend this cook book! I don't use any of my other cookbooks anymore. My friends have bought it based on my never-ending chatter about how great it is. Very easy to follow, step-by-step instructions with pictures and everything always turns out awesome!