Monday, February 21, 2011

Smacznego: A Blog's Top Cookbook Recommendations

Since the launch of Smacznego: A Blog, many readers have requested a list of recommended cookbooks titles.  I have come up with a short list of six titles.  These resources are not just packed with recipes.  But each one has an educational value of teaching the science of why things happen.  This is what makes these titles valuable.
I hope you enjoy these titles.

Smacznego: A Blog loves to hear from its readers!  Please add your favorite cooking titles in the comment area below.

May you discover new adventures on the cooking trails ahead!

Top Pick!

The New Best Recipe

Every cook needs a bible, a reference point to get basic recipes and ideas.  The New Best Recipe cookbook is just that!
            Whether you are beginning to cook, or a seasoned professional, this book has something for everyone.

By Cook’s Illustrated Magazine – America’s Test Kitchen (2004) – Hardback 1028 pages - ISBN 0936184744

Clarity/Skill Level of Recipes

5 Stars

Each recipe is explained in detail.  The author’s of this book explain the science behind each dish, so even the most inexperienced cook can reproduce these recipes with success.

Reliability of Recipes

4 1/2 Stars

Most of the recipes will produce the same results, time after time.  Of course, different geographical areas and product brands will vary outcomes, slightly.

Quality of Recipes
4 1/2 Stars

With over 1,000 recipes, this book never becomes boring to read.  Because Cook’s Illustrated has put an enormous amount time and resources in creating these recipes, they are second to none.  A few recipes, however, lacked flavor, like their Apple Pie.  The crust was pasty, not flaky; the spice level dull and lacked interest on the taste buds.  The cake chapter is AMAZING, especially if you have a fancy for cheesecakes.

Overall Rating

5 Stars

Overall, Cook’s Illustrated’s The New Best Recipe cookbook is a refreshing look at the world of food.  Not too technical in terms, but stresses the importance of cooking technique and science when it comes to food.  Cook’s Illustrated starts each recipe with solutions to problems that may arise during the cooking process.  This book is enough to bring any beginner to the next level in cooking expertise.

Other Titles:

On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals

This book has to be one of the most brilliant resources available to the home cook.  Yes, this is a textbook that culinary educational institutes use for curriculum.  But who says the home cook can't use it, too?  As one may find out, textbooks are costly; however, if you are a complete nerd about food, you will not regret this addition to your library!

By Sarah R. Labensky, Alan M. Hause, Priscilla Martel, Steven Labensky - Prentice Hall (2009) - Paperback - 960 pages - ISBN 0135061075

Clarity/Skill Level of Recipes

5 Stars

Because this is a textbook, the author's primary goal is educating.  Therefore, every recipe is taught in detail.  The skill of recipes range from beginner to intermediate.  Each chapter goes to great lengths to allow the reader to understand each step in the cooking process.

Reliability of Recipes

5 Stars

Again, because this is used in the classroom, each recipe has been strenuously tested to ensure success.

Quality of Recipes

5 Stars

Each recipe is packed with a powerful punch of flavor!  Many of the recipes are from world renound hotel and restaurant chefs.  Hence the high cost of this book.

Overall Rating

5 Stars

This is the food enthusists chance to become more aquanted with culinary cuisine.  The recipes are reliable and flavorful; many are from world renound chefs.  This book will help bring your cooking to a new level of expertise.

The Bread Bible

Out of nearly one dozen bread titles tested, The Bread Bible was clearly number one!  Rose Levy Beranbaum is a geneous.  Bread is often challenging and intimidating to beginning bakers, but Beranbaum presents the material on bread in a clear concise manner that is easily understood.  If only every cookbook could be like this book!

By Rose Levy Beranbaum - Norton (2003) - Hardback - 640 pages - ISBN 0393057941

Weber's Real Grilling

If you're nuts about grilling, you'll go bananas over this book!  Weber's Real Grilling cookbook is the best singular resource on grilling.  It strays from technical terms in a successful attempt to educate on technique.  There is a guide to grilling each meat category; beef, poulty, & pork.  There is even a dessert chapter; from grilling fruits to cakes!
The introduction is packed with valuable information on seasoning foods, and making your own signature grilling sauce.

By Jamie Purviance, Tim Turner - Sunset (2005) - Paperback - 304 pages - ISBN 0376020466

The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

This is an impressive book.  Unlike the other books, there are no photographs.  However, don't let that discourage you from trying these recipes!  To mix things up a bit, The Ultimate Ice Cream Book gives multiple variations at the end of each recipe.  From custard to Philidalphia-style, this book has it all!  You name the the flavor, this book has it.

By Bruce Weinstein - Morrow (1999.06.02) - paperback - 256 pages

In Praise of Apples

Don't buy this book for recipes.  Though it does have a few, it lacks the guarentee that everyone will find a recipe that suits them.  That said, if you live in the North East, when shopping for apples, the question always comes up; is this the right apple for what I am making?  This book can answer that question!  It has a chart with every type of apple imaginable, showing its suitability for cooking, eating & baking.  This book is a good reference for horticulturalists, teaching how to plant & harvest apples.  It is a facinating reference for those who like to take cooking outside of the kitchen!

By Mark Rosenstein - Sterling (1999) - Paperback - 176 pages - ISBN 1579901247

No comments:

Post a Comment