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ProfessionalHobbit

Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

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JoC is a collection of recipes, many bizarre, that appear to be assembled uncritically.  You'd better be a capable cook to choose and successfully make a dish from that book. 

 

POS? Well that was obviously hyperbole and fit nicely with the JoC abbreviation, I thought. 

 

I'd be happy to just say JoC is vastly overrated and a lousy cookbook. Having said that I still have one on the shelf. 

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3 hours ago, ProfessionalHobbit said:

See, JOC is really great. And if that were the book chosen, I'd be more enthusiastic.

 

I don't feel the same way about Bittman's. I've made a few things from JOC and they've generally worked out well. I feel that one of the differences is that JOC doesn't cut corners unlike its competitor. You can clearly see it in the recipes.

 

I am firmly in the JoC camp.  Not a few of my favorite standbys come from there.  I've been relying on JoC for close to fifty years.  Is it possible you and @gfweb have different editions?

 

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@ProfessionalHobbit, I think it's safe to say that you are not in Bittman's target audience for that book.

 

Nonetheless, if you can get past his titles for things, does it really matter what you call something, as long as you enjoy what you make? And if you don't like something, once you have the experience to specify what you don't like (NOT "This isn't adobo because the ratios are all wrong!" but rather "Hey, this chicken braised in soy sauce tastes OK, but I think I'd like it better if it had more vinegar and less soy sauce!"), you can change it, and make notes in your cookbook about how you changed it and why. And when you're ready to move on to something more advanced, you can look up other recipes for a particular dish, and figure out for yourself how Bittman's is different and whether you like his version or someone else's better.

 

For an absolute beginner, HTCE isn't a bad starting point, because it explains techniques reasonably well. Many cuisine-specific cookbooks can't say that. If you're new to the kitchen, and still need someone to tell you that it's OK to flip something when it's browned on one side even if the ten minutes specified in the recipe aren't yet up, you really need a Cookbooks 101 text rather than something that jumps in at the graduate level.

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The party seemed to be a success.

 

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Mac-n-cheese

 

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Sausage with broccoli rabe, grapes and walnuts

 

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Empanadas

 

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Potstickers

 

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Pork spareribs braised in tomato sauce.

 

I know that I rag on Mark Bittman a lot, but I do find that some of his recipes can be good if they mimic Italian dishes like this one does. It's from "How to Cook Everything", pages 532-533. It's a basic rendition of Sunday sauce - the only changes I made were omitting the dried chile he calls for and reducing the amount of garlic (i.e., from three chopped garlic cloves to one crushed garlic clove).

 

Then shredded the pork and combined them with rigatoni cooked in the same sauce. I ditched the chicken biryani in the end.

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On 3/13/2018 at 7:58 PM, gfweb said:

I'd be happy to just say JoC is vastly overrated and a lousy cookbook. Having said that I still have one on the shelf. 

 

I have one on the shelf too. New. Never opened.

They make great door stops!

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