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The Fannie Farmer Cookbook [Hardcover]

Marion Cunningham
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 1998
Here is the great basic American cookbook—with more than 1,990 recipes, plain and fancy—that belongs in every household.

Originally published in 1896 as The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer, it became the coobook that taught generations of Americans how to cook. Completely updating it for the first time since 1979, Marion Cunningham made Fannie Farmer once again a household word for a new generation of cooks.

What makes this basic cookbook so distinctive is that Marion Cunningham, who is the personification of the nineteenth-century teacher, is always at your side with her forthright tips and comments, encouraging the beginning cook and inspiring the more adventurous. She knows what today's cooks are looking for, and she has a way of instilling confidence and joy in the act of cooking.

In giving the book new life, Mrs. Cunningham has been careful always to preserve the best of the old. She has retained all the particularly good, tried-and-true recipes from preceding editions, retesting and rewriting when necessary. She has rediscovered lost treasures, including delicious recipes that were eliminated when practically no one baked bread at home. This is now the place to find the finest possible recipes for Pumpkin Soup, Boston Baked Beans, Carpetbag Steak, Roast Stuffed Turkey, Anadama Bread, Indian Pudding, Apple Pie, and all of the other traditional favorites.

The new recipes reflect ethnic influences—Mediterranean, Moroccan, Asian—that have been adding their flavors to American cooking in recent years. Tucked in among all your favorites like Old-Fashioned Beef Stew, New England Clam Chowder, Ham Timbales, and Chicken Jambalaya, you'll find her cool Cucumber Sushi, Enchiladas with Chicken and Green Sauce, or a layered dish of Polenta and Fish to add variety to your repertoire. Always a champion of old-fashioned breakfasts and delectable desserts, Mrs. Cunningham has many splendid new offerings to tempt you.

Throughout, cooking terms and procedures are explained, essential ingredients are spelled out, basic equipment is assessed. Mrs. Cunningham even tells you how to make a good cup of coffee and how to brew tea properly.

For the diet-conscious, there is an expanded nutritional chart that includes a breakdown of cholesterol and fat in common ingredients as well as in Fannie Farmer basic recipes. Where the taste of a dish would not be altered, Mrs. Cunningham has reduced the amount of cream and butter in some of the recipes from the preceding edition. She carefully evaluates the issues of food safety today and alerts us to potential hazards.

But the emphasis here is always on good flavor, fresh ingredients, and lots of variety in one's daily fare, which Marion Cunningham believes is the secret to a healthy diet. Dedicated to the home cooks of America, young and old, this thirteenth edition of the book that won the hearts of Americans more than a century ago invites us all—as did the original Fannie Farmer—to cherish the delights of the family table.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 874 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A Knopf; 13 edition (1 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679450815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679450818
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 17.8 x 4.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,102,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, reliable recipes 1 Oct 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I was taught to cook classic cordon blue recipes at finishing school. Some of the recipes we used were originally from Fannie Farmer. Great classic American recipes that always work, muffins, cookies, sorbets and the best apple pie. Make sure you have the American cup measures and following the recipes is a doddle. Not the only cook book you'll ever need, but definately one to have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best cookbook I ever owned. 15 July 2011
Format:Hardcover
My mother gave me a much earlier edition of this book in 1979 when I married and left home. I learned to cook from it, and still have it, though it is now taped together and in a very well-thumbed condition! I have since bought many cookbooks but this is still the first one I refer to when I don't know how to do something, and I still use it on a regular basis. Aside from the great recipes (which always work if you follow the directions) she explains how to shop for and work with different cuts of meat, (even the cheap ones for cooks on a tight budget), all types of vegetables and fruit, and the inside covers of my edition contained many handy metric/imperial conversions, as well as equivalents between dry and liquid measures. It explains, in clear language, how to master all the basics and then how to tackle all the classic dishes from both American and European traditions. It also contains great pie, cookie and cake recipes. This is an essential cookbook for anyone who is learning to cook, or wants to improve their skills. I wouldn't be without it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  191 reviews
193 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Absolute Best Cookbook Ever! 5 Dec 1999
By Melissa Paro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I came to Amazon to buy the 13th edition hardcover , because my 12th edition paperback is completely worn out! The pages are torn, crumpled and stained with drips and spills, the cover is gone, and a few pages are loose from overuse and abuse of this cookbook. It is the most useful cookbook I own. I bought this book from a grocery store 15 years ago, and have bought many books since then, but Fannie is the one I go back to. No matter what you're looking for, no matter what your question is about food, measuring, equipment, temperatures--it's in this book. I did not know much about cooking when I first got married, and now I am proud to say I am considered an excellent cook. I learned so much from Fannie Farmer. There's no other book that gives this much information on cooking. I love to cook from scratch, and the recipes in this cookbook call for just that. It's basic, home-cooked food, but there are also elegant recipes just in case you need them. I've read this book so many times, I've memorized many recipes, because they really are the best around. Get this book. You will not be disappointed!
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a relatively new cook, it's my absolute favorite cookbook 5 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've had consistent success with the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The recipes and instructions include specific techniques and tips that ensure good results, yet they remain straightforward and concise. No fussy details that don't really contribute to the quality of the dish, unlike my experiences with The Joy of Cooking. I also appreciate Marion Cunningham's (and Fannie Farmer's) attitudes that if you're going to cook, you might as well make the effort to do it well, relax, and enjoy the process. This book has a clean design and is very tightly written and edited so that every sentence presents useful information.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super All-Purpose Cookbook 11 Sep 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Though I see there have been some negative reviews that this, latest edition of the "Fannie Farmer Cookbook," is not as "good" as the original, I have to say that the "original," published in the late nineteenth century as the "Boston Cooking School" cookbook, would hardly be especially useful today (recipes for squirrel anyone?). Fannie Farmer is synonymous with good, old-fashioned practical cooking--no nouvelle cuisine here--and the updated version simply keeps with the times, adding new techniques which take into account modern equipment and food mores (things like fat, cholesterol and sodium are taken into consider, but this isn't a diet cookbook).
All in all, the "Fanny Farmer Cookbook" is a super all-purpose cookbook, offering well-tested, simple recipes for just about any food you can think of. Alongside the classic "Betty Crocker Cookbook," the "Joy of Cooking" and something new from Martha Stewart (I like the "Martha Stewart Living Cookbook," which is a compilation of recipes from her magazine) and/or Cook's Illustrated (either "The Best Recipe" or the "Cook's Bible"), "The Fanny Farmer Cookbook" will create a perfectly balanced recipe collection for the experienced cook or novice baker.
On a final note, I'd recommend the hardcover edition, as the softcover model I saw in a bookstore was not very sturdy. Cookbooks get a lot of use and abuse, so I'd recommend spending a bit extra to get a the hardcover edition.
121 of 138 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just call me the fly in the soup 8 Mar 2005
By Elizabeth J. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been cooking for family and friends for over thirty years; I owned my own successful catering business for a time, and I own over 150 cookbooks. Cooking is therapy for me, and nothing pleases me more than to have someone who enjoys a dish I've made ask me for the recipe. Having said that, I feel qualified to make some complaints about the "Fannie Farmer Cookbook: Anniversary."

For the most part, I agree with editor Marion Cunningham's attitudes about food and cooking, that taste and nutrition are paramount, and sometimes less is more. Many people overseason their cooking, or combine incompatible ingredients. Cunningham is firmly against that, and so am I. I'm also a firm believer in making a new recipe exactly as directed the first time, and if you decide to make it again, then make any alterations or substitutions you think appropriate.

There are many rewards in this perennially popular, omnibus cookbook. (By the way, I can find absolutely no difference between the "Anniversary" edition and the previous one, published in 1996, except the cover art.) Whatever recent edition you may have, I consider these dishes to be outstanding, and they are part of my culinary repertoire: Red Snapper San Felipe, Eggplant-Zucchini Appetizer, Savory Casserole of Chicken, Scrambled Eggs Bourget, Buttermilk Pralines, Pasta with Zucchini, Chinese Chicken in Lettuce Leaves, Green Chili Pie and Vegetarian Baked Beans.

However, two recipes in the Poultry chapter are cause for concern, in my opinion. I don't believe the cooking times for either Sauteed Chicken Breasts (p. 240) or Chicken Parmesan (p. 241) are long enough for the chicken to be safe to eat. Three minutes per side for chicken pieces that are not pounded flat just isn't going to cut it. Common sense, however, should enable most cooks to succeed with those two recipes.

Candymaking is a different story. But since Cunningham is also the editor of the Fannie Farmer Baking Cookbook, I felt comfortable re-learning some of these old candymaking techniques from her. Confections are difficult to make: measurements and times must be exact. An accurate candy thermometer is essential, and the humidity in your kitchen must be low in order to achieve a successful product. At Christmas every year, I spend hours in the kitchen making homemade confections for gift-giving. 2004 was no exception, and I had all the ingredients and materials at hand. Yet, when I made the Toffee on page 752, it was a complete failure. The butter and sugar never emulsified. I tried several old-fashioned techniques to mend the "broken" syrup, but to no avail. Of course, I thought it was my fault the first time this happened, so I tried again. Same story. It made me sick to have to throw away two pounds of butter.

I have made fondant many times, but had not done so for years until this past Christmas. My notes in the margin of the Basic Fondant recipe on page 755, dated 11/30/04: "Follow directions TO THE LETTER. Time everything. Even so, be prepared for heartbreak."

I'm not sure what the problem is in this chapter. Cunningham's ranges for the various candy-making stages seem different than those in some of my other cookbooks. I wound up printing some candy recipes off a recipe website where the contributors are regular people like you and me. The toffee and fondant recipes I found there worked perfectly.

So, I make these comments not because I have nothing better to do than complain, but to pass on words to the wise. Sometimes I think that the Farmer book is too large. It tries to do everything and therefore is less successful in some areas than others. Some restaurants are like that, too.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Basic Cooking, This is "The Kitchen Necessity". 10 Jan 2000
By Samantha Rodriguez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm 25 and my mother has had her 11th Edition Fanny Farmer Cookbook since before I was born. The pages are falling out and the covers are taped to the binding. Holiday after holiday, this is the only cookbook my mother refers to and my mother is famous for her good cooking. Some say the recipes in here are bland. Listen, if you want to learn how to really cook as though you've been cooking all your life, this is the only cookbook that will teach you! There are basic recipes for poultry, meats, breads, deserts, all from scratch. The recipes are all simple, easy, and delicious. The best part is, once you've learned those basics, it's no time before you start adding your own flavor to make your own recipes. It's perfect for those who can't cook and for those who can because you always need the basics. I just brought one for me and one for my mom. Now I finally have my own Fannie Farmer Cookbook and my mother can finally retire her old one.
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