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The Cook's BookOrder "The Cook's Book" today!

THE COOK'S BOOK
Techniques and tips from the
world's master chefs


Editor-in-Chief:  Jill Norman
DK PUBLISHING

ISBN: 0-7566-1302-7
648 pages, Hardcover, $50.00 full retail price

Would you like to have Rick Bayless, Ken Hom, Michael Romano, Charlie Trotter, Norman van Aken  and other master chefs (whose names you might not recognize but are nontheless talented) in your home kitchen? Not enough room for them all?  Well then....just buy this book and you will at least have their expertise at your fingertips in THE COOK'S BOOK.

There are so many delicious looking color photos (1,800) and lots of practical advice such as more than 350 essential techniques covering all major food categories and many different cooking styles, that The Cook's Book could very well become your one and only reference for cooking anything.

The book weighs around 7 pounds....so it can also double as a work-out tool while making some of the more calorie infused recipes in the "Pastry & Sweet Doughs" and "Desserts" chapters by Pierre Hermé....but they are worth it.  The "Cakes" chapter by Stephan Franz are also in the same category of needing a work-out while cooking, but it won't stop me from cooking these recipes!

There's a chapter by Paul Gayler "Grains & Beans" with the most luscious looking photo of Roast Squab with Couscous Stuffing (page 439) that I just had to make it - and it is as delicious as it looks!  Of course there is also all the information you need to know about couscous on the preceding page.

Want to make "Pasta & Dumplings"....just go to the chapter by Michael Romano, Chef and Co-owner of my favorite New York restaurant - Union Square Café. By the way, they are celebrating the restaurants' 20th anniversary this year. The techniques of making the pasta dough, rolling it out, cutting it and cooking it are so explicit and so easy to follow that you'll be a pasta making expert almost immediately. The pasta recipes are just terrific too.

"Chinese Cooking" by Ken Hom is another chapter just filled with expertise on the art of stir frying, steaming, slicing, shredding, chopping, deep frying...well, it just says it all about how to make delicious Chinese foods in your own kitchen.

So after reading all of these accolades about the book, you probably think there isn't anything in The Cook's Book that I don't like?  Well, there is.....after living in Hawai'i for over eight years, I became very entrenched in the foods of Hawai'i and one of the most prevalent foods locals eat is called "Poke" - pronounced po-key.   I'm sorry to say that Charlie Trotter in his chapter on "Fish and Shellfish" on page 161 has made the same mistake I've seen numerous times in lots of different media - magazines, newspapers, other cook books.  So here it is.....

SAYING AHI TUNA is REDUNDANT!!!!

The word "Ahi" (pronounced ah-hee) is the Hawaiian word referring to two species of tuna;  Bigeye and Yellowfin.  Ahi is also the word for fire in the Hawaiian language.

 
Bigeye                                                  Yellowfin

There are two other species of tuna caught in Hawai'i: Tombo Ahi (albacore tuna) and Aku (skipjack tuna).

 
Tombo Ahi                      Aku

Chef Trotter's recipe for Poke on page 161 is very unique and may be delicious, but it's not traditionally the way locals in Hawai'i make Ahi Poke.   Changing recipes from their original state is always any cooks' prerogative but when a traditional recipe is changed, my personal feeling is that it should be given a new name because it no longer is the same traditional recipe!

Then there is the chapter on Vegetables starting on page 333 all the way to page 377 also by Chef Trotter where he does a superb job of educating the home cook how to cook, store, cut, and otherwise prepare just about any vegetable.  Especially pleasing to me was seeing page 365 with a description and photo of roasted butternut squash which is my favorite way to prepare this vegetable.  On the same page is a chart showing the approximate roasting times for several other vegetables.  Once you've roasted butternut squash, mushrooms, or asparagus, you'll never cook them any other way.

But don't let my one personal viewpoint of the Ahi Poke issue deter you from buying The Cook's Book - this is a truly wonderful work and I'm sure I will be referring to it on many occasions for myself and as a useful teaching tool in my cooking classes. I just won't refer to it for making Ahi Poke!

 

 

 

 
     
 
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