Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: Martha Stewart's Cooking School

I have found a cook book that I really love. Because it it actually a cook book. It is fully illustrated with color pictures, showing how to make things and perform basic recipes. It's not about special versions of things - there's no "Ginger and Carrot Orange Glaze Teriyaki Butterflyed Shrimp and Steak." It tells you how to make steak. Period. It is divided into types of food - meat/fish/poultry, vegetables, grains/beans, desserts; and then, divided into "lessons" on basic methods - how to grill, how to broil, how to steam. There are detailed instructions on how to slice vegetables, separate eggs, carve a turkey, patty out hamburgers - all the instructions that most recipes take for granted. It has basic recipes, such as the one pictured above - chocolate cupcakes. As it turns out, it is almost as easy to bake from scratch as it is from a box. While the concept is extremely simple, I don't think that it is for simple cooks. I know how to cook, of course; so it is not about learning how to cook. I think it is more about learning the foundations of cooking so that you can be more confident, and not rely on store-bought prepped foods. It shows a basic recipe, then variations on it. I made a basic creamy tomato soup from the book that knocked the socks of anything I have had from Campbells. At $45 (I got it on Amazon new for $30) it is a splurge, but definitely worth it. There is nothing faddish about it. It is a reference book, that I have already used far more than any other cook book I own. Highly recommended.

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