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How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1,000 Photos
 
 

How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1,000 Photos [Kindle Edition]

Mark Bittman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

‘A gem for the inexperienced and experienced…this is a most useful book to add to any cookery shelf.’  (Yorkshire Gazette & Herald, 30th May 2012)

Product Description

The next best thing to having Mark Bittman in the kitchen with you

Mark Bittman's highly acclaimed, bestselling book How to Cook Everything is an indispensable guide for any modern cook. With How to Cook Everything The Basics he reveals how truly easy it is to learn fundamental techniques and recipes. From dicing vegetables and roasting meat, to cooking building-block meals that include salads, soups, poultry, meats, fish, sides, and desserts, Bittman explains what every home cook, particularly novices, should know.

1,000 beautiful and instructive photographs throughout the book reveal key preparation details that make every dish inviting and accessible. With clear and straightforward directions, Bittman's practical tips and variation ideas, and visual cues that accompany each of the 185 recipes, cooking with How to Cook Everything The Basics is like having Bittman in the kitchen with you.

  • This is the essential teaching cookbook, with 1,000 photos illustrating every technique and recipe; the result is a comprehensive reference that’s both visually stunning and utterly practical.
  • Special Basics features scattered throughout simplify broad subjects with sections like “Think of Vegetables in Groups,” “How to Cook Any Grain,” and “5 Rules for Buying and Storing Seafood.”
  • 600 demonstration photos each build on a step from the recipe to teach a core lesson, like “Cracking an Egg,” “Using Pasta Water,” “Recognizing Doneness,” and “Crimping the Pie Shut.”
  • Detailed notes appear in blue type near selected images. Here Mark highlights what to look for during a particular step and offers handy advice and other helpful asides.
  • Tips and variations let cooks hone their skills and be creative.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 69286 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (7 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BS03TYU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,590 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good, could it be hyperbole? 1 Feb 2013
By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Ordinarily the reader should exercise a great degree of scepticism when faced with a book that describes itself with superlatives. How to cook everything? All you need? Yet, this time, such caution might be a tad unnecessary.

This is a book that could be one of those truly great first cookbooks for a younger person, perhaps someone off to college or someone moving out from the hotel of mother and father. Yet probably nobody except top chefs should feel a embarrassed by this book as you might think you know everything but...

Nothing is taken for granted. The author starts with a great overview about setting up your pantry (store cupboard) and your kitchen with the necessary (rather than "desirable" or "faddy") tools. It was pleasing to see the tool list split between the "absolute minimum" and "other handy tools" - a good thing if you are on a tight budget. A further extensive list of items for baking and roasting is made for those who want to try their hand at that - if you don't, don't buy the stuff. Simple, huh?

Everything is taken one step at a time whilst the text is informative and concise in nature. The reader is not patronised - you have to read the text carefully to get the most out of the book rather than just look at the pretty pictures, but is that such a hard thing to do? Even, 'speaking' as a more experienced cook, the text seems to be friendly, approachable and informative and certainly some ageing memory cells have become refreshed in the process. It is surprising how much we can forget, take for granted or perhaps never learned - especially if one has not received formal culinary training.

All of the various preparation and cooking techniques are explained in surprisingly few words and pictures, yet one does not feel cheated.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book 24 Aug 2012
By Pauli
Format:Hardcover
good book with lovely photos. i would recommend this book for anyone learning to cook as it is very instructive and well written.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great 8 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
why if I do a review do I have to put 18 words when perfect will suffice, 3 still do
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  182 reviews
349 of 356 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a re-packaging of the original, The Basics should be your first "cookbook" 6 Mar 2012
By Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
How to Cook Everything: The Basics is a "cookbook" designed to teach new cooks the fundamentals to ingredients, cookware, and food preparation. It is a variation on Mark Bittman's original classic How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food (which I'll refer to as HtCE). I have not read Bittman's 2003 book of the same name, How to Cook Everything: The Basics, but as far as I can tell, this book is not an update to that one (which received a lot of criticism for not being original enough from HtCE). The publication date is 2012, and there is no reference to the 2003 book in the publication notes. While this does use a lot of information from HtCE, it seems to be a completely separate book.

CONTENT
Although it is filled with recipes, The Basics is not really a cookbook. It is presented in a very straightforward way that is designed to not only give you starter recipes, but to provide recipes that teach the fundamentals of cooking. For a "basics" cookbook, one thing I look for is whether it truly is targeted to teaching the basics. When I was first learning to cook, I would be thoroughly confused every time a recipe called for "onion," and went to the story only to discover four different types of onions. And what does "salt to taste" mean? Fortunately, Bittman's book takes these things into account and is very good at not making assumptions on the cooking level of the reader. For example, when discussing olive oil, Bittman states "every time I refer to olive oil in this book, I mean extra virgin." These tips are placed in the beginning and scattered throughout the book and are just the types of explanations I think should accompany a cookbook on the basics. Where the original HtCE just gives a list of essential ingredients you should have, The Basics provides more guidance, with tips such as "buy unsalted butter," and "use firm tofu packed in water," instead of just telling you what ingredients to buy. It is ordered in the traditional Breakfast, appetizers, salads, soups, pasta, entree, etc. formula, but the recipes are also ordered by technique - designed to teach the fundamentals early in the book and progressing to more difficult skills by the end. You don't have to go in order however, and if there is a specific lesson you want to learn (eg, blanching), you can turn to the back and view a "Techniques" glossary which has a list of all the techniques presented in the book so you can go directly to what interests you. Each technique has a basic lesson, followed by several recipes that incorporate it and allow you to practice the technique. With most cookbooks you'll maybe see 2-3 recipes for every one picture. At over 1,000 photos and 185 recipes, you can see that in addition to the main dish, the recipes each have several smaller pictures showing different stages of the food production to give you a better idea of what you should be doing. The very first recipe is how to boil water, only it's not called that, it's a recipe for oatmeal. But the purpose is to show new cooks how water temperature affects food consistency and give them experience with the different levels of water heat.

DIFFERENCES VERSUS ORIGINAL HtCE
The original How to Cook Everything is the first cookbook I bought and one of the best primers for anyone interested in learning to cook. At over 1000 pages, it truly does tell you "how to cook everything," from slicing an onion to making your own sauces, to rolling sushi. It is one of the best "beginner" resources I have in my kitchen, but at times can be a bit overwhelming due to the amount of information. The Basics takes the same premise of HtCE, simplifies it a bit more, and adds pictures. There are some small noticeable differences in theory between the two books. HtCE has a list of 12 "Must-Have Kitchen Tools," 14 "Tools You'll Probably Want," and 8 "Nice-to-Have" tools. The Basics has a lit of 16 "Absolute-Minimum" tools, followed by 17 "Other Handy" tools. A salad spinner is on HtCE's "must-have" list, but on The Basics' "Other" list. Which of these lists is "correct?" It's hard to say. I definitely agree with HtCE that you must have a timer (even if it's your microwave). The Basics lists it as "other." How is a beginner cook going to learn without a timer? If you are trying to decide between which book to get, I would say that if you have absolutely no idea which end of a spatula is the business end, you should start with "The Basics." If you can cook a decent plate of eggs and know what a "simmer" looks like, you will get much more for your money with the Original "How to Cook Everything." The Basics won't have ten different way to make braised potatoes or a diagram showing you how to prepare lemongrass, but it will give you a recipe for mashed potatoes and show you a few different variations to it. HtCE is designed to give you as much information as possible about everything. The Basics is designed to give you as much information as needed to do everything right.

RECIPES
I have completely read through about half of the recipes in this book, and tested about two dozen of them. As mentioned, none of these recipes are going to be featured on your favorite cooking shows anytime soon. They use minimal common ingredients. You won't have to ask someone where the star anise is or worry about finding sherry vinegar in a store near you. The recipes are not bland, but they're not difficult or fancy either. Even though they're basic recipes, they seem very tasteful and I think they will appeal to a large audience. The "Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon" is only made up of olive oil, bacon, shallot/onion, spinach, vinegar, and mustard, yet it is a very respectable salad. You'd probably be disappointed in it if you ordered it at a restaurant, but served alongside a simple steak and potatoes meal it can go a long way to a nice dinner. I can easily see a beginning cook getting excited producing a lot of the foods in the book.

CONCLUSION
In additional to the original HtCE, the other "basic cooking" books I've read are Betty Crocker Cooking Basics: Recipes and Tips to Cook with Confidence (Betty Crocker Books), Cooking Basics For Dummies, and How to Boil Water. This book currently ranks well at the top of my list for complete beginners, with "How to Boil" coming in second. Unless you have been cooking for a year or two, I think "How to Cook Everything: The Basics" will be an invaluable resource for the new cook. It is very well put together with a lot of thought put into it. The full color photographs go a long way to expressing ideas in the book moreso than the drawings in the original version, and just about every major technique is covered. You won't be creating blue-cheese infused butter with it, but by the time you're done, you should have a very respectable grasp of making the perfect Sunday dinner to share with some family and friends.

UPDATE April 2013: I've been using The Basics for a year now and I've now cooked about 75% of the recipes in the book. I still come back to it often and get tips from it. Definitely worth the price.
85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simpler to use than his previous great works 22 Mar 2012
By Raele - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
(This is both a review, and a response to a negative review preceding mine.)

Mark Bittman is an excellent chef, who breaks things down, keeps it simple, and keeps me cooking. Whether or not he chooses to currently eat much meat does not impact his ability to instruct others in how to properly prepare it, after many years of having successfully done so himself. In fact, the meat prep techniques are flawlessly presented.
To JimBob: We are not being invited to write a "character review". It is to be a COOKBOOK review.
That means you would be expected to include things such as:

Does the food TASTE good?
Do the recipes WORK?
Are there perhaps helpful ILLUSTRATIONS?
Do the STEPS make sense?
Is it easy to locate a particular RECIPE?
Given the title, does it SIMPLIFY my cooking time?

This books wins on all counts. While I will continue to use How To Cook Everything for less-often used recipes, this new volume will be my go-to guide most of the time. I plan to help my teen daughter expand her repertoire using this book, as the photos will simplify everything and keep her 21st century mind engaged. Perfect for teaching oneself or one's child. A remarkable and crystal clear tutorial, often featuring one full recipe per spread; how perfect and easy on the eyes! It ought to be a gift for every housewarming party or wedding shower. In fact, I used to use How To Cook Everything (the more extensive work), along with a hand sewn apron or oven mitts, for just that purpose. Now I will use this one. You will just want to eat The Basics cookbook up!
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely fantastic cookbook. 20 July 2012
By Patrick Rinker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just turned 25, and my lack of cooking skills was beginning to be embarrassing and unhealthy, so I began searching for a cookbook to help me out. I usually got recipes online, but they tended to be either too complicated or too expensive for someone who's not that well off. I eventually settled on this book, after already having bought Bittman's other cookbook and finding it too difficult to wade through.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this book has turned my culinary life around. I cook pretty frequently now, and I basically exclusively cook out of this book. I'm going to list several things about this book that I like:

* TONS of great tutorials for things like cutting up veggies, how to boil pasta the right way, etc. Along with these great helpers, every recipe includes page numbers to the relevant stuff, so you can easily flip back and forth to figure out how to do all of the mechanical stuff.

* The recipes are arranged in each chapter from easiest to most difficult, so it's perfect for new cooks to build up their confidence.

* The recipes are simple, and simple generally means cheap. It does NOT, however, mean flavorless. Everything I've made out of this book has been fantastic, even the super-simple Chopped Salad and homemade dressing.

* The section on what tools/equipment needed in a kitchen has also helped me furnish my kitchen better.

I would say that if you are a beginner cook, this book is absolutely the one to buy. It's affordable, well written, and will help you make fantastic food. Seriously. Look no further.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Beautiful 24 Mar 2012
By bakerbronte - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I appreciate Mark Bittman's ability to educate the reader about food thoroughly while sharing simple, wholesome, home kitchen-friendly recipes that won't break the bank.
If you already own the original How to Cook Everything, you're really in for a visual feast now as The Basics version is filled with beautifully photographed pictures depicting various stages in each recipe. They are not step by step exactly, but his recipes are so well-written that they do not need to be in order to convey the cooking process.
Bittman has a friendly, confident tone that almost feels as though you have an old friend in the kitchen at your side, guiding you through caramelizing your first onions or braising your first chicken.
He even has a "Getting Started" section to walk you through stocking your pantry, equipping your kitchen simply but efficiently, and outlining basic cooking techniques in case you aren't familiar with them. I consider myself an experienced home cook and would not hesitate to purchase this as a shower gift for newlyweds or for an advanced cook. There is plenty in this new volume to entertain anyone interested in cooking.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to decide whether to try his Braised Beef with Red Wine or Mediterranean Style Braised Chicken for supper.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Motivation, Broadens your Skills! 24 April 2012
By Net Admin / Home Chef - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am already a fan of Mark Bittman from some of his other cookbooks and from his New York Times cooking column on the web. I don't think of myself as a beginner in the kitchen and I do a lot of cooking, but I'm mostly self taught from cookbooks, TV chefs, and things I've found on the Internet. I got this book with the idea of using it as sort of kitchen basic training. I thought it might broaden my skills by showing me how to do some things I hadn't tried and perhaps give me some hints and ideas which might even be useful for the things I already do make. I have to say that this book is really excellent for someone like me with those goals. I've had it less than two weeks and have already fixed several of the recipes, with several more I will be trying soon. Everything has come out very well so far, including some things I never expected to try such as making my own pickle spears.

The fact that there are so many photos with the recipes is a real motivation. The pictures of the final dishes look so good that they really make you want to prepare them, and the other photos show you step by step what you'll need to do. There are chapters on meat, poultry, seafood, pasta and grains, vegetables and beans, soups and stews, and so on. Not a lot of recipes in each chapter, but chosen to illustrate types of preparation (e.g. braise, saute, roast, and fry) and basic principles for the type of preparation being covered. There are hints for avoiding common mistakes and making adjustments when necessary. Everything is very accessible, with no exotic ingredients you wouldn't find in you local supermarket and fairly straightforward preparations.

There are a bit under 200 recipes here, and though they do include suggestions for variation, some things I would have liked to see aren't covered. I have been thinking for a while about trying Bittman's recipes for quick roast duck or braised duck legs from Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times: Featuring 350 recipes from the author of HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING and THE BEST RECIPES IN THE WORLD. I would have enjoyed finding those recipes or something like them here so that I could watch him do it step by step, but in fact there are no duck recipes at all. There is also nothing on making common sauces such as Hollandaise or Bechamel. Still, this book is a great place to learn a lot of basic skills and get some good ideas even if it won't show you quite everything. Once you are comfortable here it will be easy to find more recipes in something like the book I mentioned above or even Bittman's other excellent work How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food. The ideas, hints, tips, and skills you've picked up here will be easily applied.
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