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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on 20 June 2013
Dont expect glossy pages or pictures, this book is better than that pretentious rubbish we get to see from "celeb chefs" cook books nowadays.
There are clear explanations to why they use the methods they use, they talk to you by dumbing down, although it is American in principle they have spent an awful lot of effort in perfecting these recipes that really do work by the way.
No need to convert American Weights and measures as this is all done for you. I have quite a lot of cook books but this one in my opinion is at number one of my reach for list. I am never out of the kitchen now giving this book a thorough going over, now my Mrs thinks i am turning into a "Feeder" lol far from it, it has giving me a renewed interest in all aspects of cooking.
For what you get from this cook book, the shere ammount of recipes (2000) goodness me, and clear concise explanation Why they chose the methods and how is a bargain. So if you are umming and ahhhhing about the price, dont let what you think is more than what you want to spend, lets face it with this book you surely get what you pay for.
An excellent cook book. If you choose not to get this book, for me you lose out in the long run.
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on 11 November 2017
How to cook. I'll get there eventually. This helps.
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on 6 March 2013
You'll never run out of recipes, has everything you could possibly think of cooking. Also gives you reasons on why things should be cooked a particular way. Vodka in pastry - it works.
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on 14 February 2012
In the US, "Cook's Illustrated" magazine is to serious home chefs as Sports Illustrated is to sports enthusiasts or Scientific American is to science geeks. Professional chefs like "Cook's Illustrated" too because it is serious and authoritative about its subject. Every recipe is tested relentlessly by America's Test Kitchen (the home of Cook's Illustrated) before it is published. The recipes work.

I have jokingly referred to "Cook's Illustrated" as the magazine for cooks with OCD but that is entirely unfair. Yes, the bi-monthly magazine offers only 12 recipes per issue, is illustrated in black and white drawings and takes no advertisements; however, its fundamental approach to cooking can be radically creative, unconventional and extremely contemporary in scope. It is a fundamental, no-nonsense guide to new American cooking.

This cookbook includes a stunning 2000 plus recipes culled from the magazine. Don't expect luscious color illustrations; like the magazine there are only black and white drawings. These drawings are generously scattered throughout the book and do a fine job of demonstrating and educating. Each recipe comes in two or three sections: Why this recipe works, the recipe, and one or two ways to augment or vary the recipe. "Test Kitchen Tips" are sidebars that are scattered throughout the book. "Tip #1" is "A Good Way to Store Cheese" (abandon your plastic wrap and start using waxed or parchment paper wrapped with aluminum foil). "Tip #154" is "Secrets to Making Great Coffee" (French Press or Manual Drip).

Many of the recipes can get complicated and time consuming as flavors are built and concentrated. Meats and poultry are brined prior to cooking; sauces are pushed through a sieve. This is not a 60 second chef type of book.

This is also not a waist watchers/healthy heart type of book. Butter, sugar, cream, red meat, sausage, bacon, cheese are all important ingredients. Eat well today, diet tomorrow.

The authors of the recipes are not above using readily available store bought shortcuts such as canned low sodium chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and cans of beer. Peculiar, hard to find ingredients will not be requested.

I would recommend this book take its place on a kitchen shelf along with these eight indispensable American classics:
Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition - 2006
The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: Anniversary
New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne
The Way to Cook by Julia child
The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser
Silver Palate Cookbook 25th Anniversary Edition by Julee Rosso
The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso
How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by my homie, Mark Bittman
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on 23 November 2016
Best book ever. You can do any receipe. If you follow it, it will taste like your favorite restaurant in town. We use it all the time and can't recommend it enough. I'm French and still use it in France now.
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on 28 October 2011
First of all, `Cook's Illustrated Cookbook's title is a bit misleading - for those who really like illustrations for their recipes, there are none in here. What is in the book, by way of illustration are the Test Kitchen's very good diagrams that illustrate skills such as; forming a tart shell, carving an herbed roast turkey, chopping onions without tears.
This is a big cookbook with 890 pages. It contains recipes for: appetizers, salads, soups, chilies, stews and braises, curries, stir-fries and Asian noodle dishes, pasta, rice, grains and beans, vegetables, poultry, meat, fish and shellfish, grilling - a really wonderful chapter, since it gives both charcoal and gas grill instructions, eggs and breakfast, quick breads and coffee cakes, yeast breads and rolls, pizza, calzones, and flatbreads, cookies, brownies, and bars, cakes, pies and tarts, fruit desserts, pastry, puddings, custards and frozen desserts and beverages.

There is a very detailed secondary index listing every recipe and a thorough index giving ingredient, dish name and type. There is also a volume and weight conversion chart. Chilies have several varieties as do pork chops and salmon and several other dishes. Serving sizes are given and 154 kitchen tips are inserted telling you such hints as; how to store cheese, salting - the secret to juicy roasts. Some help is missed in several places, for example in a recipe for coconut icing; they do not tell you how to toast the coconut - strange for a book that usually gives so much guidance. For those who still believe the way to grill is with charcoal - it is a relief to have these instructions included. The recipe for beer can chicken has become a legend in our back yard. The coconut cake has been pronounced almost as good as our fabled grandmother- a minor miracle to say the least. Linguine with garlic cream sauce is wonderful, as is the mushroom lasagna.

In my naivety I assumed with a Cook's label there would be different recipes than the ones in the Test Kitchen cookbooks. With very few exceptions, since I have an extensive collection of Test Kitchen cookbooks, every recipe is in here. For those of you that have several Test Kitchen books I would rate this 2 or 3 stars. I was really disappointed; but if you do not, it is a wonderful book which I would then rate it a 5. So in a quandary as to what to rank it I've given it a 3, because of the extensive repeats. It would be a good book for even a confident beginner who wants to learn good cooking; but I really resent the constant reprinting of what is already out there with no disclaimer.
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