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Dec 10, 2006 12:48 AM


Daughter, age 23, now living in her own apartment, struggling to survive on a low income. She only keeps vodka in the fridge, nothng else. She ignored all the school home economics classes and home cooking influences. Now I think she is finally receptive to learning the art of cooking and the joy of eating what one prepares. Any suggestions for the one best cookbook or book about food, to help her down this noble path? Thanks!

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  1. "Kitchen Sense" has everything she needs to know without being overwhelming. It's a very good foundation, and all of the recipes I've tried have been very good, if not cutting-edge.

    1. Good for her! Betty Crocker and Fannie Farmer were my first loans via the library cookbooks. They still hold up today on basics. I also recommend finding cookbooks with color photos; they can be a visual help and great inspiraton.

      1. Joy of Cooking. The new edition, or the 1973 one if you can find it.

        1. Mark Bittman's _How to Cook Everything_ is indispensible and utterly reliable. Whenever I have a question about cooking basics, I go to this book, and it never disappoints.

          3 Replies
          1. re: butternut

            I second How to Cook Everything. It was my first cookbook when I graduated from college five years ago and it is still my go-to reference.

            1. re: butternut

              Yup, Mark Bittman is the man. So many easy recipes, and relaxed in suggesting variations, and excellent techniques for beginners. And the results always taste great.

              1. re: butternut

                A third for Bittman. It's indispensable to me, but not necessarily for the recipes. It works like an accessible food encyclopedia. For example, recently made a dish that called for chickpeas; I only had dried ones on hand, and turned to Bittman on chickpea basics to quickly learn about cooking them, difference from canned, pros/cons, etc. You get this "basics" treatment for just about every ingredient and food group. The Joy of Cooking does this too, but I find Bittman more accessible, more straightforward in his advice.

              2. How 'bout The all New Good Housekeeping Cookbook.

                It's got a wide variety of recipes and simple tips on basic cooking. My wife and I still use it regularly after almost 8 years.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Ace_Mclean

                  I second this recommendation. I always go back to this cookbook for basic knowledge.

                  1. re: dustchick

                    Third! My copy is stained, dogeared, well used...