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Best absolute beginner cookbook?

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.

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    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"

            1 Reply
            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.

            2. Just found this little gem. Just take into the account the time period this was shot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQs1y...

              1 Reply
              1. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60...

                I'm serious. This is a great book for true beginners.
                It assumes very little and offers "Mom Tips" throughout to explain things that more experienced cooks take for granted.