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Help me find a book to cook through

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"Essentials" is not a straight-up reprint. Not only are some recipes missing, but I was recently reading that the editors of "Essentials" arbitrarily reduced the fat content of many of the recipes to comport with current health sensibilities.

Shocking news, this. But since getting used to each of her recipes starting with 1/3 cup of olive oil in "Italian Kitchen", I just add that to the pan now as a default. Nevertheless, it sounds like seeking out the original is worth it.

If I were to try to cook through a book I think my first choice would be Ad Hoc at Home.

Another great suggestion! I bought this in February with the intention of cooking through it, but have given up the project, as I can't get most of the ingredients - but if I could, I would definitely be working my way through it.

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Thanks for the discussion! I ordered Colicchio's book last week but it hasn't arrived yet. There are some wonderful suggestions above and I plan on checking out all of them. The reviews of the Edouard de Pomiane book are really delightful! I haven't seen Ad Hoc, or any of Keller's books actually, and I don't own any Marcella Hazan either. I will definitely go the Abebooks route on her older book. The reason I have so many books is I am an off and on again member of The Good Cook cookbook club (4 for $1 kind of deal). It is difficult to buy books from them though as they only carry new releases, and often I won't buy a book unseen until there is substantial experience with it in the ether. I am looking to fill certain niches now and need to pare down my collection. Many books will go as some new ones come in and the quality and meaning of my cookbooks increases.

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In case you're interested, Amazon just lowered the price on Ad Hoc At Home by about $4 today, making it 45% off and about equal to the used price online anywhere.

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I'd like to suggest "The Complete Robuchon" - a terrific book filled with basic, French home cooking recipes.

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I have many cookbooks - probably around 35 or so. Some books I use more than others, some I have just to read, and some for reference. I haven't cooked my way through an entire cookbook though which is something I would like to do. The books I have, for one reason or another, don't seem to be great candidates for cooking completely. Many are large recipe collections (like Bittman, Joy of Cooking, Martha Stewart). I want the book to teach me a way or style of cooking and give an education or flavor of the writer.

... I am a decent cook and a pretty lousy baker. If I could get suggestions for excellent, accessible cookbooks that would be a great candidate to cook through, I would greatly appreciate it.

... I haven't seen Ad Hoc, or any of Keller's books actually, ... I am looking to fill certain niches now and need to pare down my collection. Many books will go as some new ones come in and the quality and meaning of my cookbooks increases.

Ummm.

You have about 35 books, and want to pare down, yet fill niches?

Honestly, 35 isn't "many".

You don't have the same problem as the rest of us!

I think you need to choose a destination before the guide-book.

I'm not sure whether you are saying that you'd like to work on the baking area.

If you were looking for a seriously accessible bread book to work through, Bertinet's "Dough" springs to mind, but Dan Lepard's "Art of Handmade Bread" (its original UK version is called "The Handmade Loaf") would be a much more demanding, broad-ranging and worthwhile project. (And, in paperback, its easily affordable - as are the ingredients!)

Mary Berry's (BBC-published) "Foolproof Cakes" strikes me as the sort of cake book that would be helpful (IF ONLY it were easily available in the USA!) Shortish, with lots of helpful process illustrations (not just of the ideal end-product) and yet covering a fair range of different home-achievable cakes, pastries and biscuits.

And incidentally, Ad Hoc is surely the ONLY Keller book that any sane home cook might ever, even for a whimsical moment, consider cooking from cover to cover.

If you are looking to improve daily eating and move away from recipes as straitjackets, then I'd suggest having a look at Nigel Slater's "Appetite". Relaxed, simple and yet far from ordinary.

Me? I'd quite like to work right through Bertolli's "Cooking by Hand" ...


Edited by dougal (log)

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I'd second the Bertolli, but, then again, dougal and I share what he's calling "destinations."

I'd veto the Robuchon. Doesn't it have hundreds of recipes?

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Some cookbooks I really like is these:

1. Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cook: Home Collection

One of my most used books for thrustworthy recipes that really tastes great and give good results.

2. Giorgio Locatelli - Made In Italy: Food And Stories

3. Anna Teresa Callen - Food and Memories of Abruzzo: Italy's Pastoral Land

4. Andrew Carmelli - Urban Italy

Three very inspirational cookbooks with a lot of great recipes and a well of stories on the food, region and country. Some of the recipes might have some seasonal or hard to get ingredients.

5. Marcus Wareing - How To Cook The Perfect...

6. Kenny Shopsin - Eat Me

If you want to do some shorter, but very good cookbooks, these might be an alternative.


Edited by jostber (log)

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And incidentally, Ad Hoc is surely the ONLY Keller book that any sane home cook might ever, even for a whimsical moment, consider cooking from cover to cover.

If you are looking to improve daily eating and move away from recipes as straitjackets, then I'd suggest having a look at Nigel Slater's "Appetite". Relaxed, simple and yet far from ordinary.

Me? I'd quite like to work right through Bertolli's "Cooking by Hand" ...

Then we have this insane home cook :)

http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com/

http://www.alineaathome.com/

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I have this and this and I'm cooking through them. At least I think its those, mine came from a used book store and in oversized print.

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And incidentally, Ad Hoc is surely the ONLY Keller book that any sane home cook might ever, even for a whimsical moment, consider cooking from cover to cover.

...

Then we have this insane home cook :)

http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com/

http://www.alineaathome.com/

Indeed so.

Self-confessed on carolcookskeller ...

Anyone can cook from any cookbook out there, but it takes a special kind of nutjob to attempt every recipe in The French Laundry Cookbook.

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Ummm.

You have about 35 books, and want to pare down, yet fill niches?

Honestly, 35 isn't "many".

You don't have the same problem as the rest of us!

I think you need to choose a destination before the guide-book.

To me it is. I have a limited amount of shelf space. I just counted - 38 cookbooks. To be honest, there are not that many that are awful books, just some I don't use much. I suppose what I meant is that am trying to keep the wheat and move out the chafe. There was an interesting article in a not too long ago issue of Art of Eating where Mr. Behr pared his cookbook collection down to 7 books that were most meaningful to him and wrote why. I don't think I could do the same thing right now. Since I have a good number of books, ones that I add in the future I want them to be good or meaningful to me. I mentioned this as membership in something like the Good Cook bookclub is all new releases. I don't like buying new release books site unseen unless I trust the author. Now, if they carried all cookbooks like a normal bookseller, I would be in a lot of trouble... :smile: The destination in this case is a book to cook through as I laid out above.

I'm not sure whether you are saying that you'd like to work on the baking area.

If you were looking for a seriously accessible bread book to work through, Bertinet's "Dough" springs to mind, but Dan Lepard's "Art of Handmade Bread" (its original UK version is called "The Handmade Loaf") would be a much more demanding, broad-ranging and worthwhile project. (And, in paperback, its easily affordable - as are the ingredients!)

Mary Berry's (BBC-published) "Foolproof Cakes" strikes me as the sort of cake book that would be helpful (IF ONLY it were easily available in the USA!) Shortish, with lots of helpful process illustrations (not just of the ideal end-product) and yet covering a fair range of different home-achievable cakes, pastries and biscuits.

I have a number of baking books - Baking by James Peterson, Bakewise by Shirley Corriher, Alton Brown's Baking book, and Peter Reinhart Bread Bakers Apprentice along with a pastry text by Bo Friberg. I am a scientist by training, but as my wife tells me, "You're a great cook, but you can't bake for crap." It is true, and I don't really know why. Baking seems totally logical to me - it is percentages and ratios and all the things I do at work. But it doesn't turn out. I can bake bread quite well (the Reinhart book is excellent!), but beyond that I have not had much luck nor have I tried to work at it extensively either. I just wanted to give a brief bio of my experience and base for anyone thinking of a book to suggest.

If you are looking to improve daily eating and move away from recipes as straitjackets, then I'd suggest having a look at Nigel Slater's "Appetite". Relaxed, simple and yet far from ordinary.

Me? I'd quite like to work right through Bertolli's "Cooking by Hand" ...

Excellent - thanks for those suggestions!

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I have a number of baking books - Baking by James Peterson, Bakewise by Shirley Corriher, Alton Brown's Baking book, and Peter Reinhart Bread Bakers Apprentice along with a pastry text by Bo Friberg.

For a home baking cookbook, I suggest: Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I've only cooked a handful of recipes from this book, but so far I've found the recipes to be very well-written, and even more important, well-tested. I like everything I've tried. This book is popular with other EGulleters and there's a big thread about it here:

This book is sizable, so it's probably not a candidate for you to cook through. I mention it as a baking book you could look at.

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Someone already suggested "Salsas That Cook", so I'll suggest another book by Rick Bayless. "Mexican Everyday"

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Of the 400 or so cookbooks I used to own, now pared down to about 150, I can say unequivocably that the ones that inspired me to cook through, and which I did at various times of my life, are:

--Cooking from Quilt Country by Marcia Adams--I treasure this book, and give it as a gift frequently.

--French Country Cooking by Charles Virion--if you can find it

--Lenotre Desserts and Pastries (even though you claim not to be a baker, if you're a scientist you probably just need

practice)

--Jim Fobel's Old Fashioned Baking Book

--Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy

--Fine Preserving by Katherine Plageman

--The Making of A Cook by Madeline Kamman

--The Cake Bible by Rose L Beranbaum

--Secrets of a Jewish Baker by George Greenstein

I'll stop here for now, and will skip the Asian options. Every one of these books is worthy. And of course, you can't go wrong doing Hazan's Classic Italian, as has been said. Zuni Cafe Cookbook I believe has also been mentioned.

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--The Cake Bible by Rose L Beranbaum

One of my favorites...with a funny little story. Okay, maybe it's only funny to me. Way back when (that being the latish mid-eighties), I was attending culinary school in the morning while working in the Kennedy Center kitchen (five restaurants from cafeteria to fine dining...brilliant kitchen to learn in) afternoons and evenings, and filling every other hour of the day working at a kitchen retailer, Kitchen Bazaar on Connecticut Ave.

One of my jobs at Kitchen Bazaar was to do prep work for visiting cookbook authors. This could be anything from making dishes to simply unfolding chairs. This was a really fun job getting to meet and occasionally work for folks I really respected like Giulliano Bugiali, Jean Louis Paladin (he was there for SOS) and many, many more. This shop had at least one signing every month.

I don't think Rose Beranbaum did any demos when she came around to do a signing for The Cake Bible, but I remember I was assigned to shadow her all morning (must have been a Saturday). At the end of the day, when she signed my book, she signed it with my last name as my first name! Okay, maybe it's not that funny to me either. Must have made a great impression though.

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Still waiting on Colicchio to show up, but I also ordered the Marcella Hazan book from Abebooks. I'll check these 2 out and go from there.

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Made In Italy - Food and Stories - Giorgio Locatelli. A great book with incredibly detailed discussions of ingredients and great recipes. An enjoyable writing style and nice photography. One of the best Italian cookbooks I have ever seen.

I would also recommend The Cook's Book - a much more general cookbook covering Meat, Sauces, Knife Skills, Baking with contributiosn by Marcus Wearing, Feran Adria, Paul Gaylor. A quite basic but well written book.

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The Classic Italian Cook Book by Hazan arrived the other day (1973 version). All the classic recipes are there and not many ingredients. She certainly writes with authority. Definitely a keeper, uncertain if I want to cook through it. I need to spend some more armchair time with it. Back to perusing the suggestions and will update later - additional suggestions always welcome!

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The Classic Italian Cook Book by Hazan arrived the other day (1973 version). All the classic recipes are there and not many ingredients. She certainly writes with authority. Definitely a keeper, uncertain if I want to cook through it. I need to spend some more armchair time with it. Back to perusing the suggestions and will update later - additional suggestions always welcome!

It's true, you never get the sense she feels ambivalent about an ingredient or a procedure. If you do decide to cook through it, lay in a goodly supply of olive oil. You'll need it.

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Small update:

The Hazan and Colicchio books are both very good. I like the style of the Colicchio book but he features large sections of his book around things that can be hard to get a hold of or things not in my normal repertoire or budget - specialty mushrooms, ramps, lobster.

I checked out from the library Cooking By Hand by Paul Bertoli and Eduard de Pomaine's French Cooking in 10 Minutes. The EdP book was really delightful, but not what I am looking for. If I find a used copy of this book out and about, I will pick it up. The Bertoli book is also excellent and one of the better cookbooks I've seen in a stretch. Alas, it had to go back to the library but Grace Young's Breath of a Wok is coming in its place.

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With the key word 'accessible' from your original post, I thought about what I might want to cook through. The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook came to mind. No, no, not for the quality of the recipes (though I find them reliable), but for the breadth. It's not as big as, say, The Joy of Cooking. 100 pages of it are just picture of the dishes. But at 8 per page, that's still around 800. I suppose I could opt to ignore beverages, desserts, breads, or whatever.

My main thought is that if I were to commit to such a thing, I'd like to come out of it with a large repertoire - not necessarily of individual dishes - but of techniques and combinations and experiences - and generally a larger food vocabulary.

I might look for a similar but smaller book. I think I'd want some diversity. American Cuisine is generally safe for me but some might want to choose, say, Mediterranean or Asian cuisines. I think Julie and Julia is an example of this with French cuisine (but not just one, but two volumes - yikes).

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      I conclude that the IR sensor is set for some particular emissivity, probably for that of stainless steel. If true, the Panasonic, even though it automatically switches frequencies, does not compensate for the different emissivities of copper and aluminum. And even if Panasonic added dedicated aluminum and copper IR sensors, there is enough difference between dirty and polished that the added cost would be wasted. Bottom line here: the temperature setting mode is of extremely low utility, and should not be trusted.
       
      B. Power Mode – Pan Material Comparisons
       
      Given the differences in power setting granularity and maximum power between the two frequencies, it is difficult to assess what X watts into the pot means in, say, a copper-versus-clad or –disk showdown. What is clear, however, is that Setting X under disk and clad seems “hotter” than the same setting under copper and aluminum.

      I will need to precisely calibrate the Panasonic for wattage anyway for the hyperconductivity project, so I will obtain a higher-powered watt meter to determine the wattage of every power setting for both frequencies. Until then, however, the only way I can fairly handicap a race is to apply a reduction figure to the ferromagnetic setting (2400W being 69% of 3500W). Given that we know the wattage at the maximum settings, we can infer that Setting 14 (actually 13.8) on the 20-step ferromagnetic range iis approximately the same heat output as the maximum setting (18) for copper/aluminum.

      The boil times for 4 liters of 50F water in 10” diameter pots shocked me. The 10” x 3mm tinned copper pot’s water reached 211F in 36:41. Not an especially fast time at 2400 watts. The 10” disk-based pressure cooker bottom? Well, it didn’t make it—it took an hour to get to 208F and then hung there. So that left me wondering if the Panasonic engineers simply decided that 2400 watts was enough for copper and aluminum. I have a theory why the copper pot boiled and the SS one didn’t under the same power, but getting into that’s for another time.

      C. Evenness Comparisons
       
      The wires which generate the induction field are wound in a circular pattern; when energized, they create a torus-shaped magnetic field. The wound coil is constructed with an empty hole at its center. As matters of physics, the magnetic field’s intensity drops off extremely fast as a function of the distance from the coil; a few millimeters above the Ceran, the field is so weak no meaningful heat will be generated. This means that most induction cooktops heat *only* the very bottom of pans, and in a distinct 2-dimensional “doughnut” shape.

      All of the above can result in a pan having a cooler central spot, a hotter ring directly over the coil, and a cooler periphery outside the coil. It is left to the cookware to try to even out these thermal discontinuities when cooking. Some materials and pan constructions are better at this than others: the successful constructions utilize more highly-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper, but unless the material is very thick, there can be a ring-shaped hotspot that can scorch food.
      Until the Panasonic arrived to market, hotspot comparisons between ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper pans depended largely on comparing induction’s flat, more discrete heat ring with gas’s more diffuse, 3-dimensional one. Dodgeball-style debate ensued, with few clear conclusions. But now, for the first time, equally-powered flat heat rings in two different frequencies allow us to directly compare evenness in ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper cookware.

      The simplest and easiest way to assess cookware evenness is the “scorchprint”, which does not require infrared or other advanced thermal imaging equipment. I’ve posted on how to conduct scorchprinting elsewhere, but basically a pan is evenly dusted with flour; heat is applied to the pan bottom. As the flour is toasted, any hotspots visually emerge, giving the viewer a useful general idea of evenness.
       
      I will later post the photos of scorchprints I made of 4 different pans run using the Panasonic KY-MK3500: (1) a Demeyere 28cm Proline 5* clad frypan; (2) a Fissler Original Profi disk-base 28cm frypan; a 6mm aluminum omelet pan; and (4) a 32cm x 3.2mm Dehillerin sauté. To make it a fair race, I heated all the pans at 2400W until they reached 450F, and then backed off the power setting to maintain 450F. I did this in order not to compromise my saute’s tin lining. As you will see, both the clad Demeyere and the disk-based Fissler did print the typical brown doughnut, with a cooler center and periphery. By far the most even was the thick, all-aluminum pan, which actually was even over its entirety—even including the walls. The copper sauté was also quite even, although its larger size and mass really dissipated heat; once 450F was dialed in, no more browning happened, even after 30 minutes.
       
      I conclude that the straightgauge pans were far more effective at shunting heat to their peripheries and walls (and also to some extent into the air) than the clad and disk-based pans. The latter accumulated their heat with most of it staying in the center of the pans. Eventually, even the “doughnut hole” blended into the scorch ring because the walls were not bleeding sufficient heat away from the floor. This was especially pronounced in the Fissler, the high wall and rim areas of which never exceeded 125F. The aluminum pan, in contrast varied less than 30F everywhere on the pan.

      D. Other Considerations

      The Panasonic’s fan noise at the cook’s position was noticeable at 63 dBA, higher than with the VMP’s 57 dBA. These levels are characterized as “normal conversation” and “quiet street”, respectively. Interestingly, I found two other, potentially more important differences. First, the Panasonic’s fan stays on, even after the unit is powered off, whereas the VMP’s fan shuts off immediately when the hob is turned off. Second, the Panasonic’s fan steps down from the louder speed to a much quieter (47 dBA, characterized as “quiet home”) level until the Ceran is cool to sustained touch, at which point it shuts off completely. I think the Panasonic’s ability to continue to vent and cool itself is a great feature, especially since a cook could leave a large, full, hot pan on the glass.

      The glowing circle is useless for gauging heat setting or intensity. And while it works to indicate a hot surface, it remains lit long after you can hold your hand in place dead center.
       
      VI. Summary and Lessons
       
      The Panasonic KY-MK3500 is a solid unit, well-conceived and rugged. It is extremely easy to use. It works well with both the common 24kHz frequency used with ferromagnetic cookware, and the 90kHz frequency chosen here for copper and aluminum. It effectively and automatically switches between the two.

      In my opinion, it points the way to expanding the worldwide induction appliance market to include dual frequencies. It also obviates the need to: (a) junk otherwise excellent cookware merely to have induction; and (b) retrofit designs to bond on ferromagnetic outer layers. In fact, in my opinion, my tests indicate that, in a dual-frequency world, adding ferromagnetic bottoms may well be a drag on pans’ performance.
       
      I also consider the Panasonic Met-All to be ground-breaking in what it can tell us about *pans*, because all metallic pans are now commensurable on induction. Clearly (to me anyway), watt-for-watt, the copper and aluminum pans performed better than did the clad and disk-based pans on this unit. Boil times were faster, there was less propensity to scorch, and the conductive-sidewall pans definitely added more heat to the pans’ contents. We may ultimately find that 90kHz fields save energy compared to 24kHz fields, much as copper and aluminum require less heat on gas and electric coil.
      In terms of heat transfer, the copper and aluminum pans came close to emulating the same pans on gas. And at 2400W/3500W it has the power of a full size appliance in a relatively small tabletop package.
       
      The Panasonic is far from perfect, however. It can’t really be considered portable. There are far too few temperature settings, and what few it has are not accurate or consistent in terms of judging pan contents and attaining the same temperature in different pans (and even the same pan unless clean). The luminous ring could easily have been made a useful indicator of intensity, but wasn’t. And it lacks things that should be obvious, including a through-the-glass “button” contact thermocouple, more power granularity, an analog-style control knob, and capacity to accept an external thermocouple probe for PID control.
       
      Most importantly for me, the Panasonic KY-MK3500 portends more good things to come. Retail price remains $1,700-$2,400, but I jumped on it at $611, and I’ve seen it elsewhere for as low as $1,200.
       
      The manual can be found here: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/commercialfoo...
       
      Photo Credit:  Panasonic Corporation

    • By artiesel
      THE BOOKS ARE SOLD
       
       
      I have Volumes 1 ,2 and 4 of Jean-Pierre Wybauw's Great Chocolate books are for sale.
       
      The books are in great shape!  There is some tape on the corner of the front of volume 1 that I used to keep it together after a drop.  Volume 1 is also autographed by the author (See pics below).
       
      I'm asking $150 for the lot OBO.
       
      Let me know if interested or if you have questions
       
       
       



    • By umami5
      Has anyone come across a digital version of Practical Professional Cookery (revised 3rd edition) H.L. Cracknell & R.J. Kaufmann.
      I am using this as the textbook for my culinary arts students and a digital version would come in very handy for creating notes and handouts.
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