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Best absolute beginner cookbook?

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Any suggestion on something that covers the basics and more? Thanks!

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  1. "How to Cook Everything" is a favorite & great for the beginning cook. Covers basics like scrambled eggs to ethnic and goumet recipes. I use it as a reference and often give it as a gift for recent college or high school grads in a basket with some basic utensils and herbs/spices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: oldbaycupcake

      I'll second "How To Cook Everything" . Of the "hundreds" of cook books my wife has collected, I still go to this one for nearly everything, except Italian where my Marcella hazan books are sauce splattered and mexcian where Rick Bayless reigns supreme.

    2. I think the best strategy to start cooking is get one reference book (Joy of Cooking, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, Better Home and Gardens) and then get a book that inspires you (preferably something with lots of pictures).

      Before you buy a beginner cookbook, look at each recipe to make sure it has a manageable list of ingredients. Nothing frustrates the beginner cook like seeing a list of 30 ingredients that are expensive or can't easily be found.

      1 Reply
      1. re: westvillager02

        Better Homes and Gardens is still my favorite reference for the basics - i.e. how to roast a turkey, how long to boil an egg. Decent easy meals.

      2. Delia Smith one is fantastic

        1. i always found "joy of cooking" to be a huge pain in the ass. flipping back and forth to compete recipes with other recipes, painful. second hand fannie farmer, will set you back about 5 bucks and is easier to use. "cover and bake", "american classics" and
          "quick recipe" all from cooks magazine will give you years of cooking, maybe a little more advanced but tested extensively.

          1. I just inherited a Copy of "The Best New Recipe" from the Americas Test Kitchen. I like it because they really cover the methodology of how they arrived at the recipe and basic information need to cook just about anything. I would give it as a gift to someone that wasn't cooking savvy. My Non Cooking Lady likes stuff from them because, "They explain everything and they have good illustrations of how to do things"

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            1. re: Grillncook

              I second The Best Recipe. I gave my niece a bunch of cookbooks for her college graduation, and this is the one she has been using most.