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serious, albeit beginner "cookbooks" for self-teaching

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With money very slowly being saved to send myself to culinary school, are there any books I can get to begin to learn techniques and become more hands-on than I am right now? Basics are always a smart place to start, I'd like to build as strong of a foundation of knowledge as I can on my own while I wait for my piggy bank to fill up :] I'd love to hear any and all suggestions!

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  1. Three of the best in my opinion

    Cooking by James Peterson
    The Way to Cook by Julia Child
    Complete Techniques by Jacques Pepin

    1. Martha Stewart's Cooking School adam

      3 Replies
      1. re: adamshoe

        I took this one out of the library, and I'm thinking of buying it. I like it because the technique is explained, and then more advanced recipes using the technique are included.

        1. re: cheesecake17

          I read the Peterson and the Stewart books back-to-back (what can I say, I can't help myself) and found the Stewart book better for precise descriptions of technique, although the Peterson book was more fun to read.

          1. re: buttertart

            I haven't read the Peterson book, but I enjoyed the Stewart book. My younger brother picked it up, and thought it was really interesting.

      2. Pretty sure the CIA has a book.

        1. I will also add The Good Cook by Anne Willan.

          The CIA books tend to be geared toward professional cooking with attendant large portions, but they do have some geared to home cooks. Have not seen them so cannot comment.

          1. The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan.

            Only for Italian, obviously, but very clear, complete and useful.