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Mark Bittman - new edition?

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The netw edition of Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" has just been released. I like the original very much, and am trying to figure out if the "upgrade" is a good idea. Any thoughts or specific knowledge?

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I thought I'd bump this topic up, as I've been wondering the same thing as MichaelZ. Is the new edition of "How to Cook Everything" worth buying if you already have the original?

If you own it, is the binding on the new edition any better than the old? My copy of the first edition started falling apart almost as soon as I opened it. It currently has various chunks of the text block that are totally detached and just stuck in at the right place. And it wasn't just my copy - I've given other copies as gifts that were all just as shoddily bound. If the new one is better, that alone might be a reason to get the new one!

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I just bought it last week, but don't have the old one, so I can't compare. Binding seems just fine, it's a hard cover and I can't imagine pages falling out, but I'm not sure if they're just glued in or bound with sewing too (not sure how that's called in the book making world).

A great book with lots of info, IMO a book worth giving to anybody that's just starting and nice to have in any collection. You should be able to find it in any book store to look at. It's a big fat book.

From what I understand, it's completely revised and has a lot of new things in it, my guess would be that it's worth to have even if you have the old one. Especially if you actually used the old one a lot. If it's among the books that you have but don't use much, then I'd probably suggest to get something different. There are no photos etc, it's not a pretty coffee table book.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I think the newer version is worth getting if you like the old version. Just comparing the chapters on Beans, there seems to be very little left untouched. The Bean chapter now has 38 recipes vs. 35, with most of the old recipes updated (at least the intros) and some removed.

Simple Bean Croquettes are now The Simplest Bean Burgers. The new recipe adds rolled oats and bean cooking liquid and omits flour. Bean-and-Corn Pancakes are now Bean Griddlecakes -- cornmeal and cumin are out, flour and butter are in (but the recipe is now followed by 11 “tasty additions” and 5 sauce suggestions). An Indian fritter recipe has been removed. The section on cooking beans in a pressure cooker has been removed. The whole approach seems simpler and more focused, though still with lots of suggestions for expanding base recipes.

The biggest improvement is in the introductions to ingredients and recipes, which generally offer more insight than the previous edition (Bittman appears to have rewritten almost everything). For example, for Tuscan White Beans, he now mentions that there are two valid approaches to the dish and why he prefers them “cooked to death” rather than intact. So it's a recipe you can find anywhere, but with a bit of insight that tempts you to try mushy beans.

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If you own it, is the binding on the new edition any better than the old? My copy of the first edition started falling apart almost as soon as I opened it.

That happened to me, too. The first printing must have been seriously defective, like they just forgot to put any binding in the binding. When I was living alone and getting back into cooking, this was really useful for me, now only occasionally so. Hopefully the new edition has glue.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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