2.0 out of 5 stars
Dissapointing - so, after all, you do might need recipes, 6 Feb 2013
I must say that I looked forward to receive and to read this book, I really did. My expectations were high - while I consider myself an amateur cook and a avid reader of food writing, I have grown tired of the average coffee table cookbook. Fancy photos, strange ingredients and pointless recipes that nobody ends up looking at and let alone cooking, just wasn't my thing. I definitely was excited about reading 'Cooking Without Recipes'.
The starting of the book sounds great, it promises to deliver the readers "the 'how' of cooking, the reactions of heat and taste", but it fails.
The book does go through a list of ingredients and culinary utensils. The author tries to describe them in short paragraphs aiming making us feel more comfortable using them, but he generally falls short on providing the information that us cooks would find interesting knowing. Sometimes I would spend lines reading random facts about an ingredient when I primarily just wanted to know how to cook it.
When I got to the cooking preparations I also felt that the author abused a bit too much of encouraging 'trial and error'. Don't misunderstand me, I believe in trial and error! but I just saw too many times that instead of explaining me how cooking works (which I believe is the topic of the book), he just says something like 'into your pan it goes', without explaining a single more word.
To be honest, I expected to learn a simple explanation of how cooking works. Besides, I think the iniciated cook might feel disencouraged when his or her first trials don't work because of the lack of a minimum knowledge.
Summarising, I did learn things with the book, perhaps random facts and science bits that I didn't know. But the book doesn't succesfully teach me what I need to know to: 1st. Dare to try cooking, 2nd. Understanding how cooking works. Sadly, too much of 'just do what you feel', which in an novice cook might be equal to 'I feel like not cooking'.
Ps. The book DOES give a few recipes.