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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.