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I am a absolute beginner. I don't have a single pan in my apt and my fridge is (really) empty. I need a book to really guide me by the hand. A cookbook won't do that, so I am hoping to find the right book to get me moving in the right direction. Any recommendations or ideas will be helpful. I am a male, 38 and live alone in a studio. Want to learn how to cookie for a variety of reasons. The main two are: cook for my (current non-existent) girlfriend. Go on a diet and cook my own food (i am already lean and in good shape, so don't need to feel sorry about me here).


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closed as primarily opinion-based by TFD, Mien, SAJ14SAJ, rumtscho Oct 27 '13 at 10:03

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Not an answerable question, it's just opinion. FWIW avoid the trendy TV personality cookbooks, and try your local community adult education cooking classes or clubs – TFD Oct 26 '13 at 21:52
@TFD Just looking for a book suggestion. Can you give me one? – JohnPristine Oct 26 '13 at 22:05
We have quite a few questions on the site about these topics. You'd be better served by searching for those, as opposed to looking for a book that covers everything. We even have a few (closed, but nevertheless visible) duplicates of this exact question. – Aaronut Oct 27 '13 at 15:54
I actually think there are a few books out there that can help, however there probably aren't any specific books on this topic alone. Cook with Jamie (yes a Jamie Oliver book) gives information about equipment, knives and how to sharpen them, necessary equipment including things like what to look for in a peeler and tin opener for example, and where and what the different cuts of meat are depending on their location on an image of the animal. Definitely worth looking at. Other than that a teaching book might be useful something like Professional Chef: S/NVQ Level 2. – John E Oct 28 '13 at 15:49
Cooking for Geeks (…) is a great book for this as it goes into a lot of the basics and covers pretty much the entire kitchen. While it's primarily aimed at us geeks, it can be a great introduction to the kitchen for anyone who wants to get creative and understand how cooking works, not just what recipes are out there. – Tom Oct 29 '13 at 17:18

Buy How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson. That's the book that got me started. It will teach you basic techniques that you can do you own thing with.

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That was the book that came to mind first when I saw the question. It's more about techniques that you can apply in many varied ways, and they're relatively simple. (admitedly, I haven't read 4-hour Chef (mentioned below), or Ratio, which I believe covers some of this) – Joe Oct 28 '13 at 18:25

The 4-hour chef by Tim Ferriss is written exactly with this mindset. The good news is that his cooking knowhow comes from some of the top chefs plus Tim's usual hackery. The book assumes you've never cooked and includes affordable products suggestions for the kitchen.

The Audio version might be free per this post on his blog. Though I recommend the print/e-book version for the pictures.

Read his book first and eventually subscribe to cooks illustrated for proven recipes. This way you (and your companion's) will eat yummy for the rest of the your life.

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