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Essentials of Cooking

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In this unrivaled practical guide, one of America's most widely respected cookbook authors distills his vast knowledge and experience into the 100 essential techniques that every cook needs to know. Seven hundred and fifty photographs unravel the mysteries of the method and provide practical application on the spot. Each technique is further explained in terms of how it ma ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published January 10th 1999 by Artisan (first published 1999)
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Jun 01, 2007 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone technical who wants to learn to cook
Shelves: own-as-reference
I learned to cook from this book. It goes beyond recipes to teach you the point of various dishes and styles and techniques. Then you can go into the kitchen with confidence and knowledge, and figure out what to do instead of just following a script without understanding why.
James Peterson cookbooks are something every cook should read. The basic idea is simple step-by-step photographs paired with simple, step-by-step directions for many recipes. In this particular book, Essentials of Cooking, Peterson provides simplified steps for many cooking, baking, filleting, carving, etc. techniques. I love watching cooking shows and reading cook books. Essentials of Cooking provided me a convient way of learning the how-to of the kitchen. I highly recommend reading this book ...more
May 29, 2008 Rhonda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies
Shelves: cooking
Peterson gives excellent guidance on improving your techniques in the kitchen. The photographs are beautiful and the step-by-step instructions quickly increase your confidence in the kitchen. The wide variety of skills covered include basics such as making chicken broth or egg pasta dough; steaming vegetables; making a vegetable flan; steaming shellfish; boiling dinners; and working from scratch and catch (fresh whole fish and rabbit). This is not necessarily a cookbook with recipes but a refere ...more
This is one of my most useful cook books. It's easy to go out and find a recipe on the internet, but it's a little trickier to figure out how to do those "fancy things" right. While this book offers little in terms of measurements and even less for recipes, the basic knowledge made available is fantastic! Well photographed and beautifully presented, various methods for making the French Mother Sauces, butchering your own meat, chopping vegetables are all provided in a surprisingly user friendly ...more
Anne Holcomb
Mar 16, 2008 Anne Holcomb rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to improve their cooking skills
Shelves: food
Ever needed to know how to turn an artichoke, carve a turkey, make basic sauces, or blanch vegetables but were afraid to ask? This book is a great essential resource for those tasks in the kitchen that it seems like you should know, but don't. It also has awesome, basic recipes and step by step pictures along with all the tips. This book can help any cooking novice become more accomplished in the kitchen. I break it out again and again when I need to answer a question. A great reference book!
As with most cookbooks, I haven't necessarily read it from cover to cover, but I have used it PLENTY. You won't find many inspiring recipes in this book. Instead, you will find a ton of high quality photos that illustrate how to do things. Learn how to dice carrots, butcher a chicken, poach fish, make a vinaigrette, make pasta, etc. This book is a great personal primer for serious home cooks as well as a valuable reference guide.
This is an awesome cookbook because it has color photos and step-by-step directions about how to wash, skin, slice, and cook lots of different foods. The recipes are very basic, but he teaches you how to improvise and be creative with the basics. The title doesn't lie; he covers the essentials.
Fantastic. Lots of good, clear pictures; full in-depth explanations and instructions; tons of cross-referencing; glossary with some pictures included; complete index. Everything I wanted from a book that calls itself the "essentials", plus several new ideas that would not have occurred to me.
It's a really good book to learn the basic techniques in the kitchen, there are no recipes or measurements in this book. It's just about learning how to do a certain sauce, how to french ribs, or what goes into a bouquet garni, etc. correctly
Catherine Woodman
James Peterson is a master at deconstructing a recipe, and if you are the obsessive kind of cook, or need alot of instruction on the way, he is the man for you--beautiful cookbook
Will Kester
I thought there were only two essential for cooking: Food and fire...well, and someone to feed. This book is great for two types of cooks: Good cooks and bad cooks.
Michael Tibbs
Must have for any home cool.
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James Peterson grew up in northern California and studied chemistry and philosophy at UC Berkeley. After his studies, he traveled around the world, working his way through Asia, by land, to Europe. Eventually he landed in Paris and was amazed by the French attitude toward food and drink. (This was in the mid seventies when food in America was practically non-existent.) It was in France that he fou ...more
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