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Mar 16, 2014 10:46 AM

ISO Cookbook with recipe variation charts

A couple years ago I checked this cookbook out of the library, and have long since returned it, but I can't for the life of me remember which it was.

Some clues:
*It was hard cover, and I think brown was a primary color on the cover?
*I think maybe there were two authors, both male, but I'm not sure.
*The book's main gimmick/theme was that each recipe came with a chart of (maybe four, maybe eight? I'm pretty sure 8) variations on each recipe, similar to the attached image (which is from Sheila Lukins' 'All around the world' cookbook, *not* the book I am looking for).

I love charts like this, so while I'm looking for the name of this one cookbook, I'd also love any suggestions of other cookbooks/sites/blogs/etc with similar features.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Was it "Simple to Spectactular: How to Take One Basic Recipe to Four Levels of Sophistication" by Mark Bittman and Jean-Georges Vongerichten?

    I don't own it, but checked it out from the library years ago. I don't remember if it has charts in it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: stockholm28

      Nope, although that one looks cool. :)

      The variations weren't from zero to fancy so much as, like, if it was a crock pot recipe (making this one up), it would be like, you have a base recipe and then a chart like so, where you could swap in the whole row of complimentary sets of ingredients, or mix and match among them. And I think it also had variations on amounts, like (if you're using thyme, use half a teaspoon, if you're using basil use a whole teaspoon or something like that.)
      Pork Apples Cider Thyme Potatoes
      Beef Turnips Dark Beer Rosemary Noodles
      Chicken Carrots white wine Basil Couscous

      Some of the combos were obvious, but some were more innovative. Mostly it was about, here's your base technique recipe, and once you've got this down, here are 8 ways you could go with it.

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Nope (someone identified it downthread as 'Cooking Know How'). But Ratio is one I've been meaning to check out for a while, thanks for reminding me of it.

      2. Cooking Know-How by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough has a predominately brown cover and variations in charts. Many are 8 - some are 4. For instance, East Indian Curries has variations for Lamb, Duck, Curried Beef Stew, South-African Inspired Curry, Tamil-Inspired, Kashmiri Rogan Josh, Punjabi-Inspired, and Bengali-Inspired. Enchiladas has Chicken and Black Bean, Smoky Beef, Mushroom, and Spinach. The book was published in 2008. Could this be the one?

        4 Replies
        1. re: MMari

          OOhh good guess. Amazon has a sample recipe with a sample chart, too.


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Thanks for the Amazon link. The sample chart provided does a much better job of explaining it than I could!

          2. re: MMari

            Ding ding ding! Yes! That is it. :D A check of that amazon link w/ the sample recipe confirmed it. A little bummed it hasn't made it to ebook yet, but the used hardcover price isn't bad, so I'll definitely have to scoop it up again. It seems like it has even more photos than I remember.

            Thanks so much for remembering/finding it for me. :)

            1. re: mfrugjc

              You're very welcome. I have that cookbook and your hint about it being by two guys and the charts in it immediately brought it to mind. And it had a brown cover! (And, btw, I'm a reference librarian!)

          3. Believe it or not, this is the type of question reference librarians love to research. Try calling the library with the description. If they still have the book, they'll easily find the name. It's not imposing on them to ask.

            1 Reply