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Cooking by Hand

4.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  131 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
One of the most respected chefs in the country, Paul Bertolli earns glowing praise for the food at California’s renowned Oliveto restaurant. Now he shares his most personal thoughts about cooking in his long-awaited book, Cooking by Hand. In this groundbreaking collection of essays and recipes, Bertolli evocatively explores the philosophy behind the food that Molly O’Neill ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 19th 2003 by Clarkson Potter
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Bridget
Mar 02, 2015 Bridget rated it it was amazing
one of my favorite cookbooks. it's probably more writing about food than it is recipes, but it's really awesome for anyone interested in traditional italian cooking. it's worth it for the pasta section alone.

note to my vegan friends: as you're the only ones who i think look at my reviews i thought i'd mention that this book has some interesting stuff for you but the majority of it isn't vegan friendly.
Dave
Apr 27, 2011 Dave rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference
In addition to Ruhlman's Ratio, this is a book that will always have the status "currently reading." Every time I read a section, I learn something new. I recently spent some time in the pasta chapter. I was surprised that a book with this title mentioned nothing about rolling pasta by hand, all that's discussed are machine methods, but it is still a tome of knowledge.

The brief discussion of flour is concentrated with good facts about the various grains from the hardest durum wheat to the relat
...more
Matt
Nov 04, 2007 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking-food
For a very formative period of my career I cooked for an (unnamed here) madman who had been Bertolli's sous-chef. One of the first things he had me do--after instructing me to forget all the crap I thought I knew about food and cooking--was read this book.
I wish I could thank him for that.
"Cooking by Hand" is really a fantastic cookbook. It may be the best-written cookbook (and one of the best written BOOKS) I've ever read. Bertolli's food has so much more soul than most of his contemporaries
...more
Peter
Aug 06, 2008 Peter rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book by a master of the craft. Bertolli has been an unsung chef in the US because he has been busy cooking and writing evidently. He is really the chef that put Chez Panissse on the map, co-authoring the Menus cookbook with Alice Waters. This book is full of dense and technical information, as well as heartfelt and goofy writing. A great book for people who care about food and what it can mean.
erik
Feb 23, 2007 erik rated it really liked it

Paul Bertolli is awesome, and this book is full of scattered gems, but it's organized in such a schizophrenic manner that it's hard to get anything out of it without effort. You can't really use it as a reference book; you have to read it from cover to cover, and then pray you can retain some of his ideas.

That said, it still gets 4 stars because of its sections on pasta (the gnocchi!) and on curing and sausage making. Those sections alone would be worth the cover price.
Marjorie Elwood
Sep 02, 2014 Marjorie Elwood rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbook
By far the largest portion of this book is a compendium of recipes for fairly esoteric foods, such as balsamic vinegar and an assortment of divine cured meats. Had the author left it at that, I would have given this a 4-star rating. But he concluded with a "conversation with a glass of wine", in which the wine, the radicchio, and various other foodstuffs chat with the author. A mite too precious for me.
Mihai
Jan 20, 2015 Mihai rated it it was amazing
Great cookbook - not as focused on cooking by hand as the title would suggest. A wealth of italian recipes - from the most simple dishes with a couple of ingredients to complete menus and wine pairings.
Gabe
Aug 18, 2011 Gabe rated it it was amazing
Probably on of my favorite books on the culinary arts. Beautifully written and great philosophy-of-cooking kind of stuff. Inspirational and educational at the same time.
Jonny
Jan 24, 2008 Jonny rated it it was amazing
one of my three favorite cookbooks. Essential
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