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Definitely the Joy of Cooking. It's not a convenience cookbook for people with busy schedules or low patience - the majority of recipes in there are geared toward flavour and not specialty diets or quick prep times - but at least 9 out of 10 recipes I try in there have near-perfect flavour and texture. IMO, this should be in every cook's kitchen, even the ...
Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food If I'm going to be using a technique I'm not 100% familiar with.
Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." It's really great - simple and easy - plus you can get the whole thing as an iphone app for $4.99.
Why bother paying for instruction or books. The best way to learn is watching a video and practicing. Youtube Youtube has a great wealth of videos on knife skills. I'm more a visual learner. I like to see a video. A book are not going to help me squat. Knife Skills: Julliene with Ann Burrell Knife Skills: Chiffonade with Ann Burrell Knife SKills: ...
I love working with dough and baking my own bread and pastry. So my bible is Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I use this book so often that I don't even bother to return it to my bookshelf anymore.
Supercook Supercook's core feature is a "pantry inventory" system. You basically fill in all the ingredients you have in your kitchen. You are presented with recipe choices based on a subset of your ingredients, as you enter them. You can then "emphasize" certain ingredients which makes them a required ingredient in the recipes you are shown. It will also ...
It's not a "cheat sheet", and is rather too big to stick to your fridge, but I highly recommend the book The Flavor Bible, which is an encyclopedia of exactly these associations. What ingredients does any particular ingredient go with? How do you cook it? Absolutely terrific book!
Not a book, but Google is the one I use by far the most. I typically have a rough idea what to cook, do a google search to find recipes for inspiration and then make something with bits and pieces from various sources.
The New Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Just the right balance between recipes and discussion of technique. I always consult this book before cooking a new cut of meat for the first time.
I really like the book "Knife skills Illustrated"; it is a bit annoying that it has left and right handed versions of everything, though.
References I use: Harold McGee "On Food and Cooking" Michael Ruhlman "Ratio" - Using these ratios, one can make all sorts of things without a recipe Michael Ruhlman "The Elements of Cooking" Cookbooks I'm fond of: Marion Cunningham "Learning to Cook" - Got me started 11 years ago. Lynn Rossetto Kasper "How to Eat Supper" - Also her NPR show, "The ...
I know it is a long list, but we cannot forget Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Full of techniques.
One resource I'm impressed with is Rouxbe.com, which is an "online cooking school" with truly excellent video content. (Disclosure: I'm an affiliate, though I haven't earned anything from it - I only signed up because I think it is great, I don't refer anything just to hope to make a buck). That link will give you a 14 day free trial. The thing I like is ...
IMO, this really would have greater lasting value with a single detailed answer instead of a poll. Here's an annotated list of all the recommendations so far: On Food And Cooking (Harold McGee) is all science at a very detailed level, combining food chemistry and biology and explaining the interactions between ingredients and the mechanisms behind various ...
http://allrecipes.com/Search/Ingredients.aspx This site has tons of good recipes. You can include up to 4 ingredients, pick a category, and enter additional keywords.
First, trust your nose. Smell the food you're cooking. Open the spice and sniff above it (but not too close, and don't sneeze!). If they smell good together, they usually taste good together. If you're working with products you can't taste test (like raw meat), either wait until the food is cooked to season, or be very conservative in your early experiments. ...
If you're looking for books, you could try "Roman Cookery" by Mark Grant or "The Classical Cookbook" by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger for ancient Roman food, or "The Philosopher's Kitchen" by Francine Segan, which combines ancient Greek and Roman cuisine. Many of these recipes are derived from the works of Apicius, but are not solely based on his ...
How about Ruhlman's book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking? The entire work is dedicated to breaking cooking down into ratios, and it includes recipes. I hear the bread recipe is particularly good.
Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cookery" (a newer edition of this) and a Danish book called "Mad" (eng: Food) from 1939. I also frequently use "Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Cookery" for all those techniques and methods that I only need once in a while, but when I need them, I need them desperately.
Based on my reading, (Buford, Bourdain, etc.) The only way to really learn how to cook is to intern in a restaurant. It's not about recipes, it's about being forced to cut 50 pounds of onions in 2 hours, and about grilling 60 steaks in an evening. It's about being able to sense when something is done. There is no substitute for being thrown to the wolves. ...
Upvote for chris (I don't have the rep yet). Though I'm no longer in the culinary industry, I graduated from a cooking school (Scottsdale Culinary Institute) a number of years ago and worked in a couple of high-end kitchens (namely, Christopher Gross). If you want to cook at home, watch Food Network and read cooking books/magazines. However, if you think you ...
One of the problems with using regular cookbooks to cook for yourself is after doing it for long enough, it's hard to get motivated to cook anything too complicated; no one else is going to know if you have a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. I contributed a few of my lazy ideas to Neurotic Physiology's "Grad Student Cooking in Style", but a large part of ...
"On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee
To piggyback on Tim Gilbert's answer, my wife will actually open two spice jars and hold one up to each nostril at the same time, to see if they smell like they would go together. More often than not, she picks out good combinations. Since there have been some great comprehensive links I don't think I have much more to add to your specific question about ...
As you're assessing your resources, remember that the one thing school always gives you, books can't give you, and the internet rarely gives you: feedback. For casual learning, books and trial and error are fine. Since you specifically asked about the caliber of skill that comes from culinary school though, you'll want feedback from people who are more ...
A few principles for re-heatable food that I've found over the years: Things with or in sauces heat nicely Dry things don't heat as well (plain rice, for example) Liquid distribution in the dish is important for even heating Dryer things like meats heat better when they have glazes or toppings (keep steam in) Things you can stir up mid-heat are nice for ...
Two words: Alton Brown. There are molecular gastronomists that are more technical, but he's the best for meshing the two in a format that others can understand.
Sites that haven't failed me yet: Smitten Kitchen Simply Recipes Cooking for Engineers And, a shameless plug for: Just Right Menus
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