Can anyone suggest a basic cookbook bible?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by aks sharma, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. aks sharma

    aks sharma

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    hi i am looking to buy my first cook book.i have heard that larousse gastronomique is the best one around.it has pictures about types of meat,spices,scales and a whole lot of things which are pretty basic.but the material and methods and recipes are mostly french.now is there another similar cookbook around the same 1k pages with a lot of details and pictures.i heard american culinary institute's the professional chef is the next best thing.i just need a cookbook so i can understand basic meats,methods,quantities,etc.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Larousse is not really aimed at home cooks in my opinion. For Western cooking, Joy of Cooking is probably better for recipes. If you want technique (knife skills, pan skills and such) James Peterson's Cooking or his older Essentials of Cooking  are both good. 

    If you want more professionaly oriented cooking books, Larousse is more reasonable. There are still other books I'd recommend before that one such as Wayne Gisslen's The Chef's Art.  He has written a number of culinary textbooks as well, but The Chef's Art is a good book for self teaching where the others are more geared to support in a classroom settings. For a similar reason, many of the Culinary Institute of America's books are not ones I recommend. They are meant to be used with a classroom, not teach by themselves. 

    If you want a book more oriented to a particularl country's cuisine and techniques, say so. 
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I should also add Jacques Pepin New Complete Techniques
     
  4. minas6907

    minas6907

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    If its your first cook book I'd suggest Joy of Cooking as phatch said. Otherwise On Cooking or the cia book Professional Chef will have all the information, but geared toward a professional kitchen.
     
  5. mike9

    mike9

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    Hard to go wrong with "The Joy of Cooking".  Another favorite of mine is "I hear America cooking" for regional recipes, Luchow's German Cookbook, and of course my 1971 edition of "Traditional Greek Cooking"  I have others, but those are the four I refer to most and the "TJOC" the most when I forget time/temp stuff, or German Potato Salad that I make like once a year.

    For technique you really need to go to youtube, or watch you local PBS station for Jacques Pepin, etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  6. iridium12

    iridium12

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    Two thumbs up (would be more if I had more thumbs) :)

    Wayne Gisslen's is a must have.

    If you want to really technical and all I would also recommend "The Escoffier" but like Larousse, it is very technical and would only really benefit professional cooks / chefs as they can grasp most of it from the start.

    My son is currently getting inspired to follow in my footsteps (about time if you ask me) and he grabbed my copy of Larousse last week, disappeared for about two days and came back shaking his head - what is all this....I gave him my Wayne Gisslen and he seems to be a happy camper at the moment

    Cheers
     
  7. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    For an excellent introduction to basics and American cooking, definitely Joy of Cooking.

    Look for the 75th Anniversary Edition rather than the 1997 Revised Edition, which many people actively dislike because they believe the book was ruined by that revision's emphasis on healthier cooking, the removal of some well-loved recipes,  and the introduction of guest chef "editors" for each chapter. The newer, 75th Anniversary Edition restores much of what people loved about earlier editions (but, alas, has still excised the illustrations that show how to skin a squirrel.) There are still snobs who insist nothing but the 1977 edition--the last revision before 1997-- will do.

    James Peterson's books are excellent with a stronger emphasis on techniques than on recipes.

    I'm also really fond of Madeleine Kamman's The New Making of a Cook. There is a 1977 edition just called The Making of a Cook. The New Making of a Cook is a 1997 revision and it is immense.

    Joy of Cooking is upbeat and reassuring. James Peterson is a patient and painstaking teacher.  Madeleine Kamman is a woman of encyclopedic knowledge and very strong opinions,
     
  8. aks sharma

    aks sharma

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    omg thank you so much for your responses.all the books mentioned have great reviews online.i have been actually a home cook for years but now finally going to culinary school in the 6 months time.so thank you and i will definitely purchase larousse at some point in my career but according to your responses i think first i should go for Wayne Gisslen's The Chef's Art.
     
  9. genemachine

    genemachine

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    There is a *New* Complete Techniques? I missed this... how?

    Also, Complete Robuchon is a nice one, too. Obviously French oriented, but goes through it ingredient by ingredient.