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Need cookbooks with pictures for newish cook with husband who only likes meat/pots

  • z

My niece moans that she cannot eat just meat and potatoes or pizza which amounts to her husband's complete diet. She wants to cook for herself and mini chowpup to include a wider range but needs a cook book or books that are visual and have plenty of piccys to guide her. My 1000 collection is not much help and I don't want to start her off on Rachel Ray or am I being too snobby? Need some help please - puplet has started to eat vegetables so a full course meal is not too far into the future (they live in Las Vegas).

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  1. Perhaps a Subscription to Cooks Illustrated. They often have illustrations on how to prepare the meal and a magazine will keep new ideas coming to her constantly!! :)


    1. "The Way to Cook" by Julia Child has wonderful pictures and very clear directions and has lots of suggestions of variations on a master recipe.

      And maybe you could see if there are any of the food network chefs whose food appeals to her - Giada, Ina, Tyler - that might be a place to start. And I wouldn't discount Rachael Ray - for someone who is looking for ease of preparation and variety, she might be just the ticket.

      1. I would highly recommend the series by Donna Hay; the illustrations are beautiful and the ingredients lists are short and simple. What about a subscription to Cooking Light? They often have good ideas for simplifying (and making much more healthy) favorite foods of meat lovers. You also can't go wrong with either of the Giada books (have and love them both), although it limits you to Italian. Ina and Tyler both have beautiful cookbooks with great recipes but sometimes the techniques and/or ingredients lists can be complicated for a very beginner. They'd make great additions to any collection though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: abbeyraish

          I was going to suggest Donna Hay too. Recipes are simple and varied, and pics are beautiful. I have Off The Shelf. I don't really use it much anymore, since the recipes are so simple that I've kind of memorized my favorite ones.

          I'd also recommend Jamie Oliver. For really good food, you can't get much simpler than him. Nigella Lawson's How to Eat doesn't have that many pictures, but it's well-organized and full of fantastic simple recipes. I think it even has a chapter about cooking for kids, if that's a concern.

        2. Valenti's One-Pot Meals has a variety of veggie and meat dishes.

          1. Not illustrated, but Peg Bracken's "I Hate To Cook Book" is good for beginners, even those who don't hate to cook, but don't know where or how to start.

            1. jamie oliver. The naked chef.

              1. The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

                1 Reply
                1. re: hummingbird

                  I gave that to my sister and I think that is what she used to learn to cook. I used Julia's "The Way to Cook" to teach myself to cook.

                2. No pictures, but "Kitchen Sense" by Mitchell Davis is a great cookbook for someone who needs a basic cookbook that includes forays into ethnic cuisines. Recipes are well-written, not too difficult, and include suggestions for using the left-overs. My only nitpick is that he really pushes the "time that it's safe to eat" limits in his comments. Probably IS safe, but I'd feel uneasy about keeping things as long as he says is okay.

                  1. The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks by Ina Garten have lovely pictures next to each recipe. It is pure food porn.

                    1. I second the choice of Ina Garten, I have all of her books.
                      The pictures make you stop and want to make the dish.

                      And they taste as good as they look.

                      1. Have you seen the magazine "Everyday Food"? They also have a tv show on PBS. The dishes are simple, look tasty and every recipe in the magazine has an accompanying picture.

                        Here's a link to the tv website:


                        and to the magazine (which I like better than the show) :

                        hmmm, can't get the magazine site to load. Well, it'd be worth a look, I think.

                        Good luck to your niece and her busband!

                        1. Any of the America's Test Kitchen books would be excellent. They will give her intereting ideas for both her own palatte and for her husband's. There are a number of volumes, so if she likes one, she can buy more. Lots of photos of both technique and finished dishes, and illustrations of technique. A wide variety of dishes.


                          1. Yeah I will second (third? fourth?) Jamie Oliver and his Naked Chef books. They are a little short on technique lessons but in some ways that's the point - his recipes are unfussy, precision is not required, and he really tries to show that anyone can jump in and make interesting food.

                            1. Thanks for all the help; I am going to order two copies of GH Illustrated - one for me and one for her so we can go through receipes together long distance. Then I will buy her a Jamie Oliver book for Christmas. Someone threw a GH cookbook at me when I first went to live in New York in the Stone Ages and I remember how great it was to learn. Now with pictures ..........well that's an ever bigger help.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ZoeZ

                                I bought one about 30 years ago when I first started to cook, it was to see what dishes were suppose to look like when done.

                                I still have two, and every so often when I'm looking for an old basic recipe I still refer to them.

                                I think they have some pretty good recipes. A good book to start with to graduate to others, but always keep for reference.