little help from the noobs

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by foodguy, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    At the corner of hipster and hip replacement
    OK, a little picking of the group brain here. I'm thinking about doing a column on books that are intended to help you learn to cook. This isn't really elementary cookbooks, like marcella, or really even old mass cookbooks like joy or fannie farmer. i'm thinking more along the lines of James Petersen's new "kitchen simple." i'm assuming that a lot of you are either in college or freshly out ... what books taught you the most? thanks!
     
  2. mordecai

    mordecai Immoderator

    Messages:
    11,479
    Likes Received:
    778
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Aside from Joy, it was mostly Dean & Deluca cookbook and a subscription to Everyday Food a couple years ago. Great idea by the way.

    Edit: a couple of blogs helped too. 101 cookbooks for one. She recently released a book of vegetarian recipes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  3. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    At the corner of hipster and hip replacement
    thanks. heidi is great.
    eta: for a vegetarian.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  4. randallr

    randallr Senior member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    The best cookbook I've used is foodwishes.com It's not exactly a book but I think Chef John is awesome and everything he does is approachable for intermediate cooks. Do you know him?
     
  5. gomestar

    gomestar Super Yelper

    Messages:
    19,400
    Likes Received:
    3,865
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    honestly, Ad Hoc has been the best for me. Some recipes can be a little involved, but you asked about books that helped one learn to cook that aren't really elementary. Second is the Complete Robuchon or a Batali book for Italian.

    My brother got me Bittman's 'how to cook everything' for Christmas one year, and I have used it for one recipe to date. I like it for a reference, but not really a 'how to cook' book.

    Also I am not that far out of college, if that helps.
     
  6. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

    Messages:
    14,457
    Likes Received:
    4,790
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    The Temple of Jawnz
    Not really of use to many on your side of the globe, but when I was starting to get more serious about cooking, I liked the Japanese western-style cookbooks that all inevitably have recipes for things like stews, sautes, steak frites, chicken dishes, cooking vegetables, etc - they have pornographically detailed picture step by steps of all the important cooking techniques involved, and they usually cover the basic methods of cooking, knife cuts, etc, similar to as you would learn at a French-based culinary school. If you started knowing nothing, and then went through a good example of one of those books and mastered each of the techniques, you would have a really solid foundation, with dishes that would probably impress someone who cooks for a living, even.
     
  7. alexg

    alexg Senior member

    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    222
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Ad Hoc was probably the most helpful for me. The recipes can be complicated, but he explains the reasons behind everything in a way that's actually interesting to read. I think more important than recipes are explanations for techniques and ingredients.
     
  8. KJT

    KJT Senior member

    Messages:
    1,302
    Likes Received:
    12
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    

    I find James Peterson's Cooking to be like this. It taught me a lot. Way more, in fact, than the CIA book The Professional Chef that I purchased expressly to learn.

    I have two other Peterson books Sauces and Fish and Shellfish that are extremely good resources, but only if you know what you're looking for.

    The first cookbook I ever bought was How to Grill by Steven Raichlen. I was 18-19 years old, my parents were out of town for a few weeks, I got sick of take out and needed to feed myself, and grilling seemed to be the most approachable way to start cooking. The first thing I ever cooked out of it was a butterflied pork loin, layered with an olive tapinade, rolled up, tied with butchers twine, and grilled. Looked something like this: [​IMG]
    I'm sure it was overcooked and looked like shit, but it was sort of an epiphany, like "If I can cook this super fancy dish, I can make anything." A buddy and I worked our way through that book, making the different recipes, trying the different sauces, making a lot of stuff that was disappointing, but sometimes made something great.

    Then there was a Food Network kick for a while, where I watched a lot of the shows and bought the chef's cookbooks. Nice to make dishes from, from time to time, but didn't teach me much other than learning from my mistakes.

    Then I took Pepin's Fast Food My Way from my parent's house, and that opened my eyes to more traditional cooking. So I got The Joy of Cooking and Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and like those when I want something traditional.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  9. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    14,384
    Likes Received:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Location:
    The wild and the pure.
    The first book I ever really used was called Le Cordon Bleu at Home. Pretty sure it isn't around anymore, and it certainly didn't have the pics you find in Peterson's books, but gave a great background.
     
  10. b1os

    b1os Senior member

    Messages:
    9,474
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Location:
    Berlin/Hamburg
    Don't have that many. I like Marcella Hazan's Essentials of classic Italian cooking.. Also, Le Cordon Bleu's Complete Cooking Techniques seems useful. I also do like Alain Passard's collages et recettes, however you should definitely be capable of speaking some French when using it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  11. Johnny_5

    Johnny_5 Senior member

    Messages:
    4,325
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Location:
    In the woods
    Although there are some great cookbooks out there for a beginner like myself (The Way to Cook comes to mind), foodwishes.com has been the best resource. Chef John breaks down intimidating techniques and ingredients so well, making all of his video recipes very easy to follow. For me, the hardest part about becoming comfortable in the kitchen was not being sure whether or not I was doing was correct. Since, the videos offer so much great detail all of the guesswork has been taken out.
     
  12. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

    Messages:
    14,457
    Likes Received:
    4,790
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    The Temple of Jawnz
    I really don't know about Ad Hoc belonging here. It's obviously not the most technically challenging cookbook out there, but you do need to be absolutely obsessed with cooking to create a lot of the recipes from it as directed, if only for the time involved with a lot of the recipes. That beef stroganoff looks delicious, but fuck if I'd want to cook that according the recipe that seems like it'd take 2 days, with no guaranteed result. I also don't really feel like it teaches much in the way of classical cooking. It has lots of nice little TK techniques here and there that go with specific recipes, like the blowtorch prime rib roast and the 20-some ingredient brined fried chicken, but the takeaway doesn't seem to be that big.
     
  13. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

    Messages:
    8,831
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    At the corner of hipster and hip replacement
    these are all great suggestions. i'll have to check out chef john. don't think i know him. thanks all! keep 'em coming if you think of them.
     
  14. b1os

    b1os Senior member

    Messages:
    9,474
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Location:
    Berlin/Hamburg
    Chef John is cool. Funny videos and easy to do recipes.
     
  15. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

    Messages:
    17,863
    Likes Received:
    3,974
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    omicron persei 8
    

    post some names of the japanese books you mentioned.

    the beef stroganoff recipe is really just a way to deal with left over braised short ribs, which imo is a fantastic idea to put in a cookbook (ie what to do with leftovers)


    Ad hoc vote +1

    colicchio's thinking like a chef

    how to pick a peach (no dicksuck. god i love this book. learned so much about veggies)



    I think we all know how to cook proteins, but whats difficult is trying to put together sauces and accoutrements with the proteins.

    A column about simple sauces to make, how to put together seasonal ingredients, etc would be great. I really liked the studies in colicchio's books. He takes a few seasonal ingredients and has different recipes combining the ingredients in different ways.

    I want to be able to go to a market and say those vegetables would go nicely with those ones, would make a good accompaniment for this protein. I realize this takes time and practice, but some kind of guide or long term study would help a lot for noob home chefs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by