THE COOK'S BOOK
Techniques and tips from the
world's master chefs
Editor-in-Chief: Jill Norman
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
SAYING AHI TUNA
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
There are two other species of tuna
caught in Hawai'i: Tombo Ahi (albacore tuna) and Aku (skipjack tuna).
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
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
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!