Leslie's Reviews > How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food

How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
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Jul 10, 07

Recommended for: butter lovers, people who need a general reference cookbook
Read in January, 2004

I first saw this cookbook in the kitchen of one of my favorite families, the Gambells, in New Haven, and the pages were falling out of the binding from extensive use - a pretty good recommendation. The reviews that say, "hm, these recipes are simple... almost minimalist" are funny... what did they expect from the author of "The Minimalist" column in the New York Times? Many friends of mine have complained about this, that the book doesn't go far enough beyond three-ingredient recipes. But from my time as a kid in my parents' house forward, I've always had some kind of super-basics cookbook in my kitchen, and although the copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I inherited from them has an awesome 70's kitsch factor (bound as loose leaves in a red-and-white checked ring-binder and full of recipes for cocktail wieners and jello-mix cake), I had to get updated at some point. So I asked for this one for Christmas, and was not sorry. Not only was the book useful, but it inspired my mom to get me another giant cookbook of the same color and shape ( The Gourmet Cookbook: More Than 1000 Recipes). Bittman does have a few problems - his prose can get repetitive (by the end of the book, you feel like he's declared everything from fish heads to green tomatoes to be "a revelation"). And as some have said, he does lead you astray once in awhile with slightly off proportions, and encourages overdoses of butter regularly, but if you love butter like I do, you'll forgive him.
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