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The Best Recipe (The Best Recipe)

4.41  ·  Rating Details ·  357 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Have You Ever Wondered Why a Recipe tells you to scald milk or to use cocoa instead of baking chocolate? Do you really need to flour chicken cutlets before sauteing them or to chill pie dough before rolling it out? The editors and test cooks at Cook's Illustrated wanted to know the answers to these questions and hundreds like them. We test variations on a recipe 10, 20, ...more
Hardcover, 573 pages
Published September 10th 1999 by Cook's Illustrated
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Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it it was amazing
I'll be honest. I've never really been one who likes these huge, mega-recipe cookbooks as I've always preferred smaller, more specialized books. This one did come as a surprise as a friend loaned it to me who just raved about it. The recipes are culled from the pages of Cooks Illustrated Magazine which I am not overly familiar with. With a 1000 pages and 1000 recipes, you're sure to find a LOT that you can use.
One thing important to note is that these recipes are not simply thrown into the book.
...more
Kelly
Nov 22, 2007 Kelly rated it it was amazing
This was a gift from a friend, who said she thought I'd appreciate the extensive treatises (e.g., on exactly *why* one would use two egg yolks and three whole eggs in a recipe, as opposed, say, to three egg yolks and two whole eggs). She was right.

It has been an invaluable resource - this year in particular, it seems, due to our weekly share of vegetables we've been getting from the wonderful Astoria CSA. Some of the guys that come in the weekly share are unfamiliar guests, and we need help figu
...more
Valerie
Oct 25, 2007 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
This is one of my most-used cookbooks. There are so many recipes that I come back to again, such as sautéed chicken breasts with tomato-basil sauce and capers, chunky guacamole, and sautéed pork tenderloin medallions with cream, apples and sage (although I don't use the sage).

This book also includes explanations of how many of the recipes were developed as well as product reviews (of both food and kitchen tools) that I find have helped me to become a better home chef.

There are basic as well as
...more
Al
Aug 11, 2011 Al rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
A cookbook for nerds, the writers cook a classic dish a variety of ways, blind taste test them, and then arrive at 'the best recipe.' They also explain WHY a certain method works better--like why chicken gains moisture from brining, or why blade cuts of beef need to be cooked for long periods of time at low temperatures for the tastiest results. A great resource for beginning or intermediate cooks, but if you already know what you're doing in the kitchen, then not so much. One caveat: The ...more
Gader
May 23, 2008 Gader rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with who has ever tried to cook anything
This is quite frankly the BEST cookbook. They scientifically create the best recipes based on trial and error. On top of that, they explain the reasoning behind the final recipe and let you know what other methods they tried and why these methods were not the best. There are also helpful hints about certain methods, like how to easily de-pit an avacado, and also give recommendations on the best appliances and cooking tools.
Randalynn
Aug 05, 2010 Randalynn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: foodies
I never thought to review a cookbook, but since I rave about this one so much, it has made it to my book list. I have read nearly every recipe and the analytical part of my brain loves to know the science behind the ingredients and the methods involved in creating great food. I have learned a lot, but have become a little more snobby about fresh foods, using great ingredients, and cooking from scratch. This cookbook really helped fan the flame of my love for cooking.
Amy
Jan 07, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing
We can argue all day about the merits of the recipes, it's the writing about them that's fascinating! Before I picked up this book, I had no idea that such basic foodstuffs like biscuits and sugar cookies could have such fascinating kitchen chemistry behind them. From the every day to the complex, if you've every wanted to know about why the ingredients in your kitchen work like they do, this is the book.
Jennifer
Nov 30, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent all-around cooking/baking cookbook. It has a little of everything and it's all absolutely great! The write-ups before the recipes let you learn about their experimentation and science processes for how they got to the best version of the recipe. I highly recommend this as a solid general go-to cookbook.
Dr.Kiang
Sep 22, 2007 Dr.Kiang rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nerdy-stuff, cooking
I put this under nerdy-stuff because this cookbook demonstrates the empirical work that goes into making the "Best Recipe." The basic, perfected recipies after many hundreds of tests. Then breaking down the recipe to tell you why it works. It's great for people learning to cook because, prior to getting to the actual recipies, the logic of the progression of the ingredients is explained.
Monika
Feb 06, 2008 Monika rated it it was amazing
This is such a great cookbook. I find myself going back here again and again, for everything from soups to sauces to simple salads... these really are the best recipes.

One caveat: I've found that some of the baking recipes could use some work, as they definitely aren't the best. However, the cooking recipes are handsdown the gold standard.
Ashley
Aug 21, 2008 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Cooks Illustrated has compiled what I call my cooking bible. They have exhaustively tested each recipe to find the very best tried and true recipes. I love it and use it all the time. If you only buy one cookbook this should be the one!
Daniel
Aug 17, 2013 Daniel rated it it was amazing
For Christine and me, this is the bible for cooking. Great articles preceding every recipe explaining what they tried and how they improved it, simplified it, made it more reliable. Impartial equipment reviews and food tastings. Always the first cookbook we turn to.
Tricia
Oct 01, 2007 Tricia rated it liked it
Recommends it for: cooking enthusiasts and beginners alike
Shelves: kitchen_library
This is a solid workhorse of a cookbook. All the recipes work and the instructions are clear. Great for beginners. This is a great cornerstone book for a kitchen library as it has a basic recipe and technique for just about everything.
Benjamin
Aug 18, 2008 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
They're not kidding, these recipes are all delicious. Be warned, though, that thse are all pretty involved meals. Not something that I would want to do during the week, but a great way to impress company.
Ash
Jun 08, 2007 Ash rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This cookbook not only has great recipes, but explains the process by which they arrived at them. An excellent resource for your kitchen.
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it
My home school has absconded this cookbook out of my kitchen as their favorite cookbook for the kids--and I really do love Christopher Kimball and America's Test Kitchen
Liz
Feb 27, 2011 Liz rated it really liked it
I love having well-tested recipes on hand. But mostly these are too complicated for me to tackle regularly.
Em
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