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serious, albeit beginner "cookbooks" for self-teaching

cbean Jun 3, 2009 01:36 PM

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!

  1. margshep Jun 3, 2009 01:54 PM

    Three of the best in my opinion

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

    1. a
      adamshoe Jun 3, 2009 02:11 PM

      Martha Stewart's Cooking School adam

      3 Replies
      1. re: adamshoe
        cheesecake17 Jun 4, 2009 08:52 AM

        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
          buttertart Jun 4, 2009 10:34 AM

          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
            cheesecake17 Jun 4, 2009 10:36 AM

            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. j
        jaykayen Jun 3, 2009 02:46 PM

        Pretty sure the CIA has a book.

        1. margshep Jun 3, 2009 03:57 PM

          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. s
            small h Jun 3, 2009 03:57 PM

            The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan.

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

            1. Bob Brooks Jun 3, 2009 04:46 PM

              La Methode and La Technique by Jacques Pepin are excellent, picture by picture instructions on the classical basics. Try to find them on www.half.com and they'll be ridiculously cheap.

              1. c
                cbean Jun 4, 2009 07:33 AM

                Thanks so so much, I can't wait to start building my library

                1. m
                  morwen Jun 4, 2009 09:40 AM

                  Le Cordon Bleu's "Professional Cooking" by Wayne Gisslen. I have the 6th edition but originally got the 4th edition out of the library and had to add it to my own. Available at Amazon. There's a student edition and a teacher edition but if there's a difference between the two other than price I couldn't find it. Go for the teacher edition.

                  1. nomadchowwoman Jun 4, 2009 11:09 AM

                    Sauces by James Peterson is also excellent, covering every imaginable kind. And I still think Larousse's Gastronomique is an important reference book in any cooking library.

                    1. BobB Jun 5, 2009 01:04 PM

                      A couple of good broad-based books that start with the basics and work their way up are Mark Bittman's How to Cook Evereything and the Rombauer's family's Joy of Cooking.

                      1. David A. Goldfarb Jun 5, 2009 01:15 PM

                        I always recommend James Beard's _Theory and Practice of Good Cooking_ for it's emphasis on technique over recipes and excellent illustrations--


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                          MMRuth Jun 5, 2009 01:16 PM

                          Yes, that is a book I refer to often, though I've not cooked from it much. For the OP, I used JC's The Way to Cook to begin to teach myself to cook, and still use it quite often.

                          1. re: MMRuth
                            David A. Goldfarb Jun 5, 2009 01:25 PM

                            That's another fine choice. I often find myself checking _The Way to Cook_ when I'm unsure of something.

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