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by Michael Chu
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Lots of home chef's and cooking enthusiasts have a lot of cookbooks ranging from the 2,000 Italian Everything cookbook to "How to Make 64 Garnishs From Fruit Roll Ups". But, many of the books that line our shelves are never referred to again (or we rarely trust the recipes). So, which ones have proven themselves worth their cost and more? Welcome to the Recommended Reading section of Cooking For Engineers.

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Written by Michael Chu
Published on October 12, 2004 at 08:30 PM
16 comments on Recommended Reading:(Post a comment)

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, muse10s (guest) said...
finally, teaching logical people how to do art

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
To books about food but not on how to cook that you might think about adding are "The Man Who Ate Everything" by Jeffery Steingarten and
"The Art of Eating" by M.F.K. Fisher


On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, Lena (guest) said...
I second the recommendation for "The Art of Eating"

Oddly enough, the one that I frequently refer to is a Reader's Digest cookbook. It was given to me by my grandmother. She purchased the book at a Goodwill in Florida. It's wonderful.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I highly reccomend On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. It is an excellent, technical and interesting book about food, its properties, and why we prepare it the way we do. For those who enjoy good technical reading, I think it is a must.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Especially since McGee is releasing a brand new version after a 20 year hiatus sometime this month. Check amazon for more details.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...

If you're looking for a technical manual for cooking there's Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques.
From cover to cover it does nothing but show you EXACTLY how everything is done through technical photographs and technical writing.
I just finished his The Apprentice: My Life In The Kitchen. I had no idea what his background was, cooking for Charles Degaulle, turning down the Kennedys at the White House to cook for Howard Johnson, reading Julia Child's first manuscript ... wonderful stuff. He's my new hero. You buy and read both now.

Dr. B. /

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, The Chunky Girl (guest) said...
I have a rather unscientific suggestion: Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour. It's more about food culture than cooking but it's funny, fascinating, and educational.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, Sergio (guest) said...
Thanks, great idea.
I love to cook, but I am a rookie. I'll surely use some of your advice.
By the way, if you are interested on a mexican dish, do not hesitate on asking, my grandma has a special touch on the kitchen.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, liz (guest) said...
Yes, but do all those books use your priceless recipe-description graphic method?! I bet not.

Maybe you could make your own book, make it in pdf form, then sell it on cafepress.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, frauss (guest) said...
The cookbooks I always go back to are "The Best Recipe" published by the Cooks Illustrated folks and "The Way To Cook" by Julia Child.

Both have easy to follow recipes that work along with plenty of explanation on technique and ingredients.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Yes, Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques does illustrate just how to cook, just like this site and better. Sorry eh. Every page is filled with instructional photographs and instructional text.

Cook's Illustrated should be taken with a grain of salt, their editorials are laced with misinformation and meanderings. Their 'team of experts' were unable to figure out why their cook's knife didn't slice a large ham or turkey very well. It took an entire article to figure out they needed a slicer. Their BBQ grilling 'expert' doesn't recommend wood fired pits because the LID imparts a bitter flavor to the product. Even if it did, why not wash it and re-season it? One should not blame a BBQ pit's performance on your own lame fire tending skills.

I have several years worth of their mags (I didn't renew my subscription) and each issue made me either howl with laughter or spew hatred. An article on which grocery store scrubby works best? Keeripes. Yes their Mile High Biscuits are heavenly, I give credit where credit is due. But don't by any means consider their word gospel. They will routinely attempt to figure out what has been known for many years, on a regular basis. My family has been cooking their turkeys upside down for a moisterer breast portion for years, it isn't new technology. There are better things to spend your time with rather than reading their drivel.

Dr. B. /

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, Corrie (guest) said...
I confess that most of my cooking is seat-of-the-pants. A bit of this, a little of that, voila - it's dinner.

But I'll give a hearty second to The Joy of Cooking - it's a wonderful compendium of info about food.

One of our most-used cookbooks is the good old gingham Betty Crocker. We've got two - a new one bought when we moved, and the old tattered and battered (in more ways than one!) copy that we finally unearthed. Moving hint: Leaving something to be packed last guarantees it's first off the truck and last to be unearthed.

Once-A-Month Cooking has some really tasty recipes.

A food book I want to read is What Einstein Told His Cook. It's an exploration of the science of cooking.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I'd like to recomend reading "The Cookbook Decoder or Culinary Alchemy Explained" by Arthur E. Grosser. I found it to be amusing and informative.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I go with any and all of the Southern Living cookbooks, church cookbooks of my area (Deep South) and the BellSouth "Calling all Cooks" series. I've never been disappointed with any of these.

This is a GREAT site and I've forwarded it to my children's friends who are just now learning how to cook! Wish it had been around for me - 30 years ago!!!!

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
My favorite idiot-proof cookbook is the classic Betty Crocker cookbook. And it comes with pictures. Back in print now.

Another one I really like is the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon. Great if you like to cook everything from scratch. Gives instructions for all sorts of items (fermented vegetables, mayonnaise, etc etc) and has a lot of interesting sidebar articles on nutrition. Note, however, that you won't like this book if you're wedded to the USDA food pyramid. It revels in saturated fat.

On October 12, 2004 at 04:09 PM, Kari (guest) said...
The first ENGINEER'S COOKING BOOK is published in Finnish and will soon be translated into ENGLISH! See!

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