Friday, April 11, 2008
America's Test Kitchen Family Favorites Cookbook
America's Test Kitchen is a PBS TV show produced by the same people who produce Cook's Illustrated magazine. This cookbook is a nice combination of these two efforts.
The book is one of those cookbooks that you can trust. Every recipe will "work." That is because the authors/producers have gone to great lengths to test and retest every recipe, figuring out methods and ingredients that will produce consistent results and which are accessible to the home cook. Sometimes, this means the recipes will be a bit labor intensive, but there are "quick and easy" notations as well as make ahead notations throughout to help you plan better.
The cookbook also contains invaluable product reviews; these include everything from appliances to food products. The book is full of helpful technique photos and photos of finished recipes.
I highly recommend this cookbook as a basic cookbook. Whether you need a recipe for pound cake, cream biscuits, a basic salad with several variations, busy weeknight pasta dishes, or an elaborate beef tenderloin, this cookbook is a good place to turn. I especially like the basic versions of salads, sandwiches, and vegetable dishes along with great variation suggestions. This enables me to memorize/perfect the basic technique and then add to the recipe as I need to.