Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 18, 2008 09:27 AM

Good cookbook for a new cook?

A good friend of mine just moved into a new place with a big kitchen. She was recently married so she has every gadget imaginable and wants to start cooking. She is a novice and asked me to recommend some cookbooks. Does anyone have any in mind? She likes the ones with pictures and no fuss, delicious recipes.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Number one for a new cook: Julia Childs "The Way to Cook". Master recipes, big pictures, every section tells you where to start, how to substitute and gives you choices. I learned to cook with it more than 20 years ago, and it is still a great resource.

    Pictures are a tough requirement, but you may want to also have her look at Nigella Lawson's books. Again, if pictures are required, her recipes are easy to follow and I use them a lot.

    Other books I would recommend, (that are great, but don't have pictures), Mark Bittman's "The Best Recipes in the World", and "The Cook's Bible" published by Cook's Illustrated.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Felixnot

      I thought my self to cook with The Way to Cook as well, and think it's a great choice.

      1. re: Felixnot

        I must agree with Julia's "The Way to Cook". I am an accomplished cook, but still find myself pulling out Julia when making something we don't have often (like crepes, or a leg of lamb) IMHO, this is the very best for new cook.

      2. timing is everything
        really good, but not for recipes, for basic timing info

        joy of cooking

        2 Replies
        1. re: thew

          Agree, the new edition of Joy of Cooking is fabulous, especially for a "new" cook.

          Much as I love to cook and love Julia Child, unless you're fearless and undeterred, the Way to Cook is a little daunting. But it serves well as a guide for those who are accomplished in most areas.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            FWIW, I was 23 or so when I started using The Way to Cook, and really didn't no much of anything about cooking.

        2. She would like "America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook," which is huge, filled with pictures and cooking tips. It must have at least 1,000 recipes in it. The ATC franchise is publishing a baking cookbook to match, which I've already ordered. It will be available in a few weeks.

          1. Any of the "cook's illustrated" books, or John Ash "Cooking One on One"

            1 Reply
            1. re: Firegoat

              The Best Recipe, which is one of the "Cook's Illustrated" books is a good choice for the novice cook since it not only tells you how to make a recipe, but also why the recipe works -- i.e. the science behind the recipe. It is not the most exciting cookbook out there, but it is thorough and explicit.

            2. Alton Brown - "I'm Just Here For The Food"
              Mark Bittman - "How To Cook Everything"