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James Beard's American Cookery

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  1,422 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
James Beard has become an American institution. The James Beard Foundation, housed in the late culinary master's home in New York's Greenwich Village, has become the center of American cuisine through its in-house dinners, awards, and generosity to young chefs. Any book by James Beard is an absolute essential to a serious cook's library. Still in print you will find Beard ...more
Hardcover, 896 pages
Published October 28th 1996 by BBS Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 1972)
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May 25, 2017 Evelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love how he wrote and the recipes are delicious.
May 06, 2014 Eileen rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
I picked this up to see whether I wanted to cull it from my giant cookbook collection, and it turns out that no, I do not, even though the style is basically the polar opposite of how we eat. It's like a snapshot of ideas about food in 1970, which makes it super interesting as a historical object.

The trend is definitely toward the super-heavy. For instance, the salad section has subsections for various kinds of fish, poultry, and meat; many of the salads therein are basically meat napped in hom
Jun 17, 2017 Clifford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best cookbook I have ever owned. It was the first cookbook I remember using, and the first cookbook I bought for myself when I moved to my own place. I've stuck with the first edition this whole time. This is one of the essential books for me. If I could only keep one book that I own, it would be this one.
Feb 17, 2017 Adella rated it really liked it
I've had this cookbook for many years. I love reading Beard's anecdotes and have never made anything out of it that hasn't been really yummy.
Asya Fergiani
Nov 08, 2011 Asya Fergiani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another amazing historically rich culinary history of American cuisine. Yes, it is a cookbook with a great deal of historical commentary. Gastronomically inspired authors such as James Beard have filled a nitch in the non-fiction market writing about lost culinary techniques inspiring foodies to pick up their wooden spoons with new respect for the American house wife as a substantial force in the molding of American life through the kitchen. I sat up many nights greedily taking in page a ...more
Nov 07, 2010 Ruth rated it liked it
James Beard's American Cookery is an 800+ page book giving not only the recipes that define "American" cookery (as opposed to French, Irish, Italian etc.) but also the history of American cuisine along with basic cooking tips--like how to cook various vegetables.

Each two-page spread has recipes on the outside of the pages while the inside of the spread is dedicated to giving the instructions for the recipes or telling the reader about the recipe or about the history of that food. The book was o
Sep 30, 2010 MaryKay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book arrived this week and I've been pleasantly surprised as I've stareted to look threw it. Initially I was daunted by its size. I'll probably never read the chapter on veal. I enjoyed reading the forward by Tom Colicchio (of Top Chef fame) and the introduction by James Beard. From there I skipped to his thoughts on cooking green beans (page 475) to compare to what ai tried last night. I enjoy his historical spin on things. I may try his recipe for Joe's Green Beans with garlic, lemon juic ...more
Laurie Cockerell
I won this book in the Goodreads Giveaway Contest....and I am thrilled to own this wonderful cookbook. Over 1500 recipes are included in this huge volume of Beard's collection of American dishes. The recipes are surprisingly simple and use a manageable number of ingredients. Originally published in 1972, this new edition is definitely not for those looking for low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, new-fangled fare....this book is for those who love scrumptious, delightfully rich and filling, old-fashion ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Frenchprescott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since it's a cookbook, I didn't actually read it from page 1 to the end, but I owned and used it for so long that I certainly have to feel I know it pretty thoroughly. The book is fun to cook from. I often used the recipes as a resource or spring board for creating my own version, but I knew I could rely on the good taste of Mr. Beard to get me through all kinds of meals. I felt confident using him as a source for traditional American cooking, so vastly different from the various European cuisin ...more
Nov 12, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...4.5 Stars...
From my book review blog Rundpinne ...."This book truly impressed me which takes quite a bit as I am a disaster in the kitchen and would be hard pressed to name more than three famous chefs. As an avid reader, and I realize one does not usually look to cookbooks to be read, I found James Beard’s American Cookery to have a fabulous selection of historical stories regarding American cuisine."....My full review may be read here.
Jan 15, 2010 Sara rated it it was amazing
I have the original printing of this book. It is a fabulous collection of American recipes. It is a great book to compare how recipes have changed over the years. For example, the recipe for Sloppy Joes has almost no tomato and is not near as sweet as the recipes we use today. It is a great historical book as well as a great practical book for anyone interested in American cooking.
Nov 01, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the amount and variety of recipes in the cookbook was phenominal! It had a recipe for literally everything. The recipes were also easy to follow and well written. The only reason for my giving it four stars instead of five is because of the lack of pictures. I am a very visual person and I rarely buy cookbooks without pictures (I won this one on a giveaway).
Sep 30, 2010 Chellie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through the Goodreads First-reads program. When I received this book I was a little overwhelmed at first, but soon relized that it was a very easy cook book to navigate through. James Beard's knowledge of American cooking is extraoridary. This is a great addition for anyone's cook book collection.
Feb 27, 2009 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking-food
The first cookbook I ever owned. Reading Beard, his comprehensive understanding of American food and the history of the development of American taste, was fascinating to me. The recipes, though, seem very much stuck in time.
Kylie Briggs
Sep 25, 2010 Kylie Briggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
My aunt gave this book to my mom, I stole it from her. I haven't tried anything out of it yet. But I have enjoyed flipping through it and there are plenty of things I want to try...I'll update when I do try recipes out of it.
Jun 24, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it
I know I should love this more. I am fascinated by James Beard and the recipes are all fantastic, it's just not the way I normally cook. So my rating is purely based on the historical significance and role James Beard has played in American Cuisine.
Dec 07, 2010 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
You cannot go wrong in having this on your shelf. James Beard was a charming writer, a distinguished scholar, and a good teacher, and America has produced a fantastic heritage in her food. This is among the best collections of either of them.
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think htis is a great cookbook to look at because it captures a period of time in American cooking--where it had potential to go, but was not there--and I am not sure Beard was a man who could have taken it there, but his viewpoint is a good one to be familiar with
Oct 08, 2010 Deena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic tome! I love the way it's arranged, and there are so many wonderful looking recipes. The best thing about the layout is that the recipes and ingredients are on the edges of the page, and the details are near the spine, so flipping through this book is a breeze.
Dec 08, 2008 Terri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, cookbooks
This is my all time favorite cookbook. Beard traces the origins of old American favorites and is quite honest in his assessment of some recipes. He combines "down home" cooking with some more extravagant recipes.

Aug 05, 2008 Mike rated it liked it
This is an ongoing read that I'm finding myself coming back to whenever I'm really thinking about meal planning and wanting to get into the origins and basics of american meals.
T Hill
Aug 30, 2010 T Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to cook, or eat, home cooking.
Shelves: cookbook
Great cookbook with a little cooking history and a touch of humor. His love of food and home cooking shines through and make it readable by cooks and non-cooks alike.
Oct 07, 2012 Tom rated it it was amazing
My favorite cookbook, and even useful after you learn to modify the recipes to be more healthful.
Sep 01, 2010 Mike rated it it was amazing
About 800 pages of recipes and culinary history.A lot of old time classics.Kind of reminded me of culinary school.
Just remembered I worked for a James Beard award winning chef.
Christopher Kimball of America's Test Kitchen fame said that this is one of the cookbooks he references the most.
Jan 06, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
One of my cooking bibles. Wish this great American cook was still with us.
May 15, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
A dated but still informative look at each ingredient.
Jun 19, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing
I've had this cookbook for many years. I love reading Beard's anecdotes and have never made anything out of it that hasn't been really yummy.
Fredrick Danysh
Nov 05, 2011 Fredrick Danysh rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking
James Beard is recognized as a master of culinary arts. This cookbook contains recipes for many of his dishes.
Trish Steen
James Beard is one of the American Greats! His recipes are almost always spot on and he is entertaining and informative. I have a collection of his books and give one each year to my daughters.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Andrew Beard was an American chef and food writer. He is recognized by many as the father of American gastronomy. Throughout his life, he pursued and advocated the highest standards, and served as a mentor to emerging talents in the field of the culinary arts.

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