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Book: "Gourmet Cooking For Dummies"


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Skortha advised me that, unexpectedly, the book "Gourmet Cooking for Dummies" is quite useful. It is co-authored by Charlie Trotter, and has some interesting recipes. (And, yes, it is one of those bright-yellow-colored books.) Note the book is not newly released.

Do members have input on the book?  :wink:

Also, have members read the newer book applauding Trotter's employee management and restaurant running practices?

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This is actually a fabulous book despite some of the absurd jocularity (Chapter titles: What's Your Beef, Have Your Cake And Eat It Too). The first hundred pages on stocking the kitchen, equipment, techniques and so on are splendid. I highly recommend this to people who don't want to pay for Jacque Pepin's Complete Techniques.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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cabrales, I'd say it could only help a great deal.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Jinmyo & CK -- Would the book be appropriate as the primary reference source (to begin with, at least) for somebody with no cooking skills?

I think it can, but I say that with reservation because the book does assume that the reader has some basic experience following recipes. The recipe directions tend to be on the brief side, which may not be appropriate for an absolute beginner working alone in the kitchen. If that beginner also has someone nearby for answering questions like "how do I peel an onion?", then I think this book is a good reference tool.

I'm flipping through the book again right now and I'm still delighted at how many topics it covers in such a small space. For someone who wants to take their cooking to the next level (or just gain more knowledge about the food their eating), this book is a great choice. My one beef with the book: there is no recipe for "Phad Thai With Ginger Marinated Beef", which was enticingly shown in the photographs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

cabrales, have you tried this book yet? What do you think of it?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I ordered the book, but have not yet had a chance to review it.  

Over the weekend, I did go food shopping, and bought some d'Artagnan prepackaged chicken sausages (now frozen -- egad, but intended to be cut up and added into any purchased pasta sauce as needed), some Ranier cherries and a small tin of oscetra (which was immediately gobbled up). I also visited the Union Square market for unborn eggs, but the stall that normally carries them has very limited quantities and was sold out by the time I arrived. I took in a container of decent purchased green tea ice cream over the weekend as well.  :wink:

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cabrales, I've never found any chicken sausages to be satisfying. I usually use Italian hot fennel sausages, liver sausages, beef and kidney sausages. I peel them and break them up and then saute the chunks and add them to the pasta sauce I'm making. Let me know how these chicken sausages work out.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Personally, I have a problem with books that suggest I'm a 'dummy.'  I already run into enough experiences that suggest that, I don't need to add anything to the foray.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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Hopleaf -- I can see how you and others might prefer a different name. However, the name of the series does convey that it is intended for people with no prior knowledge of a subject matter (which would be accurate for me, in the case of actual cooking techniques, etc.) and that the books are written to be easily understood. I think I am going to need all the help I can get.  :wink:

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It's a terrible title. And the format and line drawings are horrid. But it's an excellent text.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I suppose "Gourmet Cooking for People with No Prior Knowledge of Gourmet Cooking in an Easy-to-Understand Format" wouldn't be a big seller.  I know it's a joke...I just don't want to admit that I'm a dummy by buying it.  hell, I don't want to admit that I'm a dummy at all. I've actually been given several titles in the series, as well as in the "Idiots Guide to..." series, but they've all ended up in the ReSell pile. Word to the wise, books with Dummy and Idiot in the title don't offer very good resale value.  I don't mind the other, similar, series called "Everything You Need to Know About..." which I find that much more pallatable to my ego.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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cabrales, maybe you'd like to consider some other strategy to plunge into cooking.

Just take some chef cookbook: Keller, Trotter, Vongerichten, ..., that has a recipe that you'd like to recreate, and have some book on techniques (Pepin, Kamman...) handy. Isn't it much more fun that way? And at least it worked for me...

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Helena -- I might need some basics before I can take a chef's cookbook and prepare items in it. It's a problem that the cookbook I would enjoy cooking from is likely "Atelier d'Alain Senderens", including the Canard Apicius (high, high difficulty).   :wink:

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Helena -- I might need some basics before I can take a chef's cookbook and prepare items in it.

cabrales, this is my point exactly. You can learn basics while cooking the chefs recipe.

I can give you parallel examples from my two other hobbies:

First tapestry-related one: many years ago i went to the show of the famous Latvian textile artist and was so smitten by his works, that i bought his catalogue, my husband made me some tapestry frame, i had tons of yarn leftovers from my hand knitting and i started to weave. No classes, just some book on weaving technique, and a lots of ambition. After several pathetic attempts, i produced really decent results.

Another example - foreign languages: back in russia i learned french by reading Francoise Sagan and Boris Vian both in original and in excellent translations into russian, I learned vocabulary and grammar as i worked through the text. Was it a lot of work? You bet. But nothing can beat the sense of accomplishment, once you understand the puns in Vian's books in his original language!

The same feeling after i produced the lacquered peaches from Vongerichten!

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I agree that the entire "Dummies" series is a turnoff because of the title. I also resent the insinuation that one is a "dummy" because one doesn't know something. There is this thing called "learning," isn't there? I also resent the increasingly popular trend that there's something "cute" or "funny" about being dumb. I mean, how dumb can you get?

That said, I admit I have used books of this series in computer-related areas and found them to actually be very helpful. It's true you have to wade through the cutesy language and all, but the info is basic and good. So I think I'll give the gormet cooking one a go. Gotta start somewhere. I'm a fairly decent basic cook, and I know how to read, I guess that should be helpful. Onward! Thanks, I didn't even know they had a cookbook in this series.

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