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Cooking: 600 Recipes, 1500 Photographs, One Kitchen Education Hardcover – 30 Nov 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 534 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press,U.S. (30 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580087892
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580087896
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 3.7 x 28.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 793,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Put simply, Cooking is a revelation. No other cookbook so deftly illustrates as broad a scope of classic culinary methods and flavors as you'll find here. As a veteran chef and award-winning cookbook author, James Peterson is uniquely qualified to take food lovers into the modern kitchen and turn them into passionate, precise, intuitive cooks. What's most impressive about a book of this breadth and size (540 pages and 600 recipes, brought to life with 1500 vivid color photographs) is how accessible and fun it is to read. Every recipe in Cooking sings with a deep knowledge of the ingredients at hand, encouraging cooks not just to follow the recipe but to really understand and relish in the process, and the result is a terrific turn-to reference for any cook seeking inspired instruction. --Anne Bartholomew --Amazon.com

Peterson's masterful survey of kitchen skills is a refreshing dose of tradition for anyone weary of quick-and-simple recipe books. The substantial volume is replete with step-by-step color photos, often 10 to 15 per recipe or process, that show the stages of a steak's doneness or how to make napoleons. The immense store of recipes to learn by is arranged partly by course and partly by main ingredient, with each section proceeding through many of his 10 basic techniques. Peterson is careful to include a range of dishes for every skill level, and cooks with any amount of experience will appreciate the numerous boxes that highlight preparation tips and tricks. Dominated by recipes like Fish Meunière and Boeuf à la Bourguignonne and with a prodigious chapter on sauces, the book feels like an old-fashioned French culinary education slightly updated with some nominally international dishes (Lamb Korma, Chiles Rellenos with Tomatillo Sauce), an attribute that may turn off some modern-minded cooks, but will reward those keen to absorb Peterson's deep knowledge of food and well-honed explanations for how best to prepare it. Color photos not seen by PW. (Oct.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --From Publishers Weekly

About the Author

JAMES PETERSON is an award-winning cookbook writer and cooking teacher, whose career began as a young cook in Paris. In the mid-eighties, he was a partner and cook at the Greenwich Village restaurant Le Petit Robert. A cooking teacher for over two decades, teaching at Peter Kump's New York Cooking School and at the French Culinary Institute, he is the author of 13 books, including Sauces, which was his first book and the 1991 James Beard Cookbook of the Year. A self-taught food photographer, James creates the photography for his own books as well as for others' projects.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pam on 21 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ok, so where do I begin?! I think that I'll start off by saying that this is simply a GREAT book! It does what it says in the title - "Cooking". There're over 500 pages worth of recipes, step-by-step techniques, over 1,500 pictures for those of you who are visual learners, and more! How do I emphasize this enough.. The table of contents are 6 large pages long and consist of:

1. Techniques - e.g. roasting, braising, poaching, smoking, steaming, sauteing, barbecuing, boiling.

2. Starters - e.g. cheese puffs, canapes, tartlets, foie gras terrine, chicken liver mousse, fried squid, crab cakes.

3. Broths and soups - e.g. brown chicken broth, fish broth,, beef consomme, mushroom soup, miso soup, tomato soup, french onion soup, gazpacho, Thai hot-and-spicy shrimp soup, Chinese hot-and-sour soup, oxtail soup.

4. Salads - e.g. vinaigretter, caesar salad, mushroom and duck confit salad, salad nicoise, japanese cucumber sald, pasta or rice salad.

5. Eggs and cheese - e.g. cheese souffles, quiche, cheese fondue.

6. Shellfish - e.g. mussels steamed in white wine, clam chowder, oyster on the half shell, sauteed scallops, shrimp tagine, boiled lobster, blue crab soup, braised squid.

7. Fish - e.g. Salmon teriyaki, red wine fish stew, skates with caper and lemon, grilled tuna, Indian style braised fillet of stiped bass.

8. Beef - e.g. grilled/broiled steak, tenderloin sandwich, the best burgers, beef stew, boeuf a la bourguignonne.

9. Veal - e.g. roasted veal, veal pot roast, veal piccata, sauteed calf's liver, braised sweetbreads with root vegetable mecedoine.

10. Lamb - e.g. braised lamb shank with garlic, roast lamb, lab stew, lamb korma, lamb pot roast.

11. Pork - e.g.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 84 reviews
227 of 235 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Insights and Training on Cooking...With a Bullet! 19 Nov. 2007
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Cooking' by culinary teacher extraordinaire, James Peterson has every symptom of being this veteran writer's magnum opus. Since Peterson has written many other excellent cookbooks, he may have created the problem for this book of living up to his earlier works. In fact, he has written the definitive book on `Sauces' plus `Fish and Shellfish', `Splendid Soups', `Essentials of Cooking', `Glorious French Food', and `What's a Cook to Do', which are among the best on their subject. This last volume is possibly the best book of the `Tips and Tricks' genre.
If you have none of Peterson's other books, your decision easy. Like most of his other books in their genres, this is among the best textbooks on cooking techniques for amateur cooks. Other books in this class are Madeleine Kamman's `The New Making of a Cook' and Darina Allen's `Ballymaloe Cooking School Cookbook'. It is better than the CIA's `The New Professional Chef', which is oriented toward restaurant cooking. The only cooking textbook I would recommend to supplement this book for most people is Jacques Pepin's classic `Complete Techniques'.
Peterson sees and says things which most other culinary writers miss or take for granted. High among this list of insights is that for the dedicated amateur cook, specific recipes are far less important than the mastering of general principals, so that one can reach that desirable plateau of culinary skill where you can cook without a cookbook. Two of my favorites I found in this book are the observation that olive oil is NOT a good oil for vinaigrettes (it becomes bitter) and when sautéing fish in aluminum pans, they must be heated quite hot or the fish will certainly stick.
To be sure, the objective of dedicating time exclusively to learning how to cook may not be for everyone. One can eat well and be well nourished by following Rachael Ray's recipes by rote, even if it takes you twice as long as the speedy Rachael. If cooking quickly is what you need, this book may not be for you (however, following Rachael's recipes is improved greatly by mastering techniques in this book). Thus, Peterson begins his book with a discussion of the ten basic cooking methods. From there, Peterson has chapters of recipes covering virtually every major ingredient and style of cooking. And, that is all he has. True to his title, this book is about `Cooking' and nothing else. It has no bibliography, no chapter on cooking equipment, no chapter on sanitation, no chapter on kitchen safety, and no chapter on nutrition. All of these things are important, but to paraphrase the famous line from `The Hustler', "This is Ames, Man. No gambling, no bowling, no card playing, just `Cooking'".
To enhance that concentration on cooking, Peterson begins with one of the best Tables of Contents I've seen in a fair while. Every recipe in the 22 chapters from `Starters' to `Cookies' is in the TofA. Another major feature of the book is the truly encyclopedic array of `How To' photographic essays demonstrating how to perform specific techniques. Like the insights and observations, this feature is also more important than the specific recipes. There are over 220 of these, more than the number of recipes you get in most cookbooks. Notable is the fact that all photographs in these series were taken by the author. By the author's count, there are 600 recipes in the book. It is obvious that this may not contain every recipe you may ever need (`Joy of Cooking' has 4000 recipes), but it is a pretty good bet that it contains virtually every familiar recipe, especially from the French canon and from the classic American table. Thus, this book becomes an excellent reference for when you wish to make a Caesar salad, a French Potato salad, veal Marsala, buttermilk biscuits, or a simple omelet. Not only will Peterson give you everything you need to know about making an omelet, he will offer up some insights about the process which may have even escaped Julia Child and Elizabeth David.
This is not to say every recipe will be the most authoritative last word. Since Peterson has already written the definitive book on `Sauces', his information on that subject will be sound, but not exhaustive. His recipe for buerre blanc in `Cooking' is less detailed than the recipe for the same sauce in `Sauces'. But then, `Sauces' was, to a certain extent, written for the professional chef.
Just as this is not the book for those who wish to be in and out of the kitchen quickly, it is also not for anyone with major weight loss issues. There is much butter, cream and pork fat to be found on these pages. Unlike the superb Alice Waters book, `The Art of Simple Cooking', this is not for those who wish to limit themselves to simple recipes. It includes famously difficult or time-consuming recipes such as soufflés, duck comfit, cassoulet, and risottos. On the other hand, most of these seemingly intimidating dishes become easy once you actually know how to do them, and do them a few times.
I am especially fond of the fact that the author gives us just as many recipes for lamb as he does for pork. That means, regardless of what your personal tastes may be (unless you are a dedicated Francophobe or a vegan) you will almost certainly find much in this book you will find useful. And, most cookbooks this size with this many pictures easily run $20 more expensive. So, if you own few or no other James Peterson books, this one is a must buy if you wish to learn to improve your cooking. If I were to find anything amiss with the cookbook, it is the size. It will really tie up real estate on the kitchen table. Thankfully, the book is a great read for the armchair, so it pays its way outside the kitchen!
83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Best General Cooking and Baking Book Ever 31 Dec. 2007
By Ronald Lerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I cannot overstate how good a book this is for the maniacially dedicated amateur. While I have dozens of classics to choose from, my favorite go to books for real "stretching" over the past twenty years have been Pepin's Technique/Methode and Kamman's New Making of a Cook. Peterson's 'Cooking' is far broader than Pepin's and comes with much better instructions and pictures than Kamman's, whose incessant scientific editorial comments can be bothersome.

Peterson's approach is no nonsense, modern and worldy; many of us view Hot and Sour Soup, Chile Rillenos or Indian Chutney as everyday eating out staples, and if we like the presentation or want to "shoot" the chef in action, our cell phones are on the ready. This then is the sheer genius of the work. Peterson teaches, with simple instructions and copius "how to" color photos (1500), both basic and advanced principles and then gives us recipes (600) tips and techniques that employ these skills for an evolving everyday mastery of more than just basic french cuisine. Beginners can easily master fluffy omelettes, linguine with clam sauce or thai curry. More advanced cooks can go for terrine of foie gras or croissants from scratch. Even the holiday only cook can find out how to roast turkey and get a carmelized crust for the gravy- how many once in while cooks get treated to those kinds of tips? Everything seems so accessible!

To be sure other texts offer more in depth text and picture coverage of specific areas (Rinehart's 'Bread Bakers Apprentice' or Pepin's 'Technique/Methode' with instructions for the arduous but rewarding 48hr. meat glaze are good examples). And there are more genuinely encyclopedic books of great value- James Beard's 'American Cookery' comes to mind. Still, with numerous alternative recommendations to the recipes, this book covers a vast canvas of modern cookery. We even get a colored pictorial "degree of doneness" guide to steak "bleu" showing 90 degrees all the way through to medium well at 145. Your guests will be fascinated choosing their "color" and will leave your home knowing what temperature they like!

One glaring deficiency is that Peterson does not provide US or metric weight measurements to more easily execute and scale recipes- a major disappointment. Another early complaint- I've only had this book two weeks but have already spent many hours with it reading and cooking- is that Peterson tells his audience that plain jane salt is "fine" for regular use when even the most novice cook should be instructed to use Kosher salt (at minimum) for reduced salinity and increased control. I know- get a life!

In summary, the beauty of this book more than any I've seen is that rather than showing us how to prepare a fish dish, Peterson teaches us how to fish (figuratively). This fundamental skill development, so available at both the novice and advanced levels, across so many genres of food, is what makes this work a "budding" classic. Peterson is no stranger to James Beard Foundation and other awards. And as there are only two reviews on Amazon at 31 December, we can see just how new and relatively undiscovered this work is(published 2007).

I have ordered copies of this for my children, nieces and nephews. They are aware of my obsessions, as well as the the smells and tastes of my kitchen, and so too have begun gravitating toward more adventurous eating and cooking. What a great introduction to the joys of mastering a broad array of culinary skills, from the how to's of vinagrettes, starters and sauces, through meats, fish, veggies, eggs and souffles, complemented with a surprisngly strong take on breads, pies, pastries, and cakes. 'Cookbook' is the single best of its kind. A real winner.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Cooking; That about says it all. 18 Sept. 2008
By Glen Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you want to learn the basics, or brush up on your technique, this is a great book for you.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Just what the Chef ordered! 18 Jan. 2008
By Ronni Katz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Peterson is a master chef and in his book gives the foodie the chance to learn from his experiences and gain some of his wisdom and insights in the kitchen. I am a cooking school grad (and former pastry chef) and as a "pro" in the field I found his explanations to be clear and concise. The book could be read by someone new to cooking and someone experienced and EACH would take away something of value! I recommend this to any foodie who LOVES to cook and wants to learn how to do it right!
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Cookbook..... truly beautifully written and illustrated! 7 Dec. 2007
By Naomi Manygoats - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I love all of James Peterson's books and recipes that I have tried....this one is the best so far... the book is well worth twice the price! It is exceptional for any level of cook- wish that I had this as my FIRST cookbook... it may have been the only one I truly needed to learn from!

The section on lamb is stunning....
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