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Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook: A Cookbook
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Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook: A Cookbook

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A modern approach to cooking at home, with more than 70 innately flexible recipes.

The indispensable recipes and streamlined cooking techniques in Where Cooking Begins are an open invitation to dive into Carla Lalli Music's laid-back cooking style. The food director at Bon Appetit, her intuitive recipes are inspired by the meals she makes at home for her family and friends
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Clarkson Potter Publishers
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  249 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m not sure I’ve ever given a cookbook five stars before because I reserve five stars for books that leave me in awe, and that’s exactly what this book did. When I first heard Carla Lalli Music describing the concept of it on the Bon Appétit Fooodcast, I thought, “This book will be life-changing if it’s really that good, but how could it be?” Well, it is. This is the perfect resource I have always wanted for cooking the way that I cook. I want to give this book to everyone I know and make them ...more
Gretchen Alice
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I adore Carla and I want to make a majority of these recipes. Her casual, wry attitude comes across in the text, as does her love of super fresh ingredients. I can't wait to try these out.

(Sidebar: I do feel weird about her idea of buying most of your dry ingredients online. It makes sense from a New York or other high-density city perspective, but in Texas, I think it makes more sense / is better for the environment overall to buy in bulk from stores and save on the packaging and shipping
Cami Fussey
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Perfection. I’ve long been a viewer of Carla’s on YouTube, and, more than the mountain of delicious recipes she offers in this book, I was inspired by the premise that cooking begins when you shop. This cookbook is unlike any other, combining cooking, shopping, and pantry-maintaining techniques that teach you to use what you have, what you know, and what looks fresh and good at the market to cook daily for those you love. Or yourself. And, as per a note from her editor at Bon Appetit, Carla ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love "remix" cookbooks. If there's a sub-genre I'm a sucker for, that's it.

I love Music's "a dozen to [cooking method]" concept, where she explains a common cooking method, loosely, and then shows 12 ingredients that benefit from that treatment. It's simple, the photos are inviting, and it encourages experimentation and educated guesses.

In the same vein, her "spin it" concept (when she offers substitutions right off the bat, as a means of cooking to the produce that looks good that week) is
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Usually I can find one or two recipes in any cookbook that spark my interest, but not this one. I'm honestly surprised because I love Carla's YouTube videos for Bon Appetite. I'm also not a fan of the recipe layout.
While I wanted to love and champion this book, Lalli Music and I take the opposite view on how to approach cooking. I'm a fastidious planner, she prefers being inspired at the farmers market and letting what appeals dictate what she cooks. I'd much rather sit down and browse my (many) cookbooks, plan the weeks meals and write up my grocery list (which is kept on the fridge, easily accessible should I use something up during the week). In fact it's one of my favourite things to do each week, and ...more
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book completely changed the way I think about cooking for myself, and I could not be happier. As a single person who almost always cooks only for herself the concept of shopping small and often is almost too obvious. And now I love cooking veggies that look good to me and deciding how to cook them later. I feel like I’m a better cook because of it plus I am enjoying more fresh produce! I already loved Carla and this book only deepens the love.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Despite the name, this book does not seem to be a beginners cookbook. Recipes are long with lots of ingredients (mostly common though some may throw readers like nutritional yeast, for example) though they are not complicated. The philosophy is more of a hook, I think, than necessarily anything new, but this doesn’t detract from the recipes. This hook, if you will, is the prepping for cooking that emphasizes shopping twice a week at least for fresh foods, buying dry ingredients online and ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks-2019
I don't consider myself a professional chef, but I guess I'm not quite a beginner either because this book was a little too basic for me. The first section is about planning and preparing for cooking, the second section illustrates various cooking techniques like steaming, pan-roasting, making pastry dough, etc. The third section is the actual recipes using the techniques described earlier. One thing I did like is that each recipe has "spin it" options that give other ways to use that recipes ...more
Ryan Fohl
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots of great info! The theory of how to shop and the technique sections are very helpful. I think my food is going to get yummier and there will be less food waste. I enjoyed her conversational writing, and most of the photos were good. I really loved the “spin it” innovation with the recipes, it makes the recipes more accessible, especially if you hate fennel like I do.

What I learned: How to get out those pomegranate seeds. What a confit is, preserving in oil. So canned sardines are a confit?
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Bon Appétit and Carla’s email and video dispatches (if you haven’t seen her cooking with drag queens, you’re missing out), so I’ve been so excited to check this out. It’s great – conversational and user-friendly. Her premise is one that all cooks know: Cooking starts when you’re shopping for food, when you find an ingredient that revs you up and makes you impatient to get back home to cook it. I liked a lot of her ideas, tips, and tricks, and I learned a few new things I’m excited to try ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The one recipe I tried (Steamed Sweet Potatoes) took much longer than described and the sauce was awful (but fixable), so I'm not sure I can recommend this cookbook even if on the surface the basic techniques seem sound. I do like the idea of "start simple, add sauces and extras" (her basic techniques all involve only salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice with other flavorings being add-ons). I also like that she provides alternative "spins" for when you don't have the specific ingredients ...more
Jessica Hendricks
Maybe it’s crazy to give a cookbook five stars but I don’t care. I already have a strong girl crush going from the BA podcasts and videos, and in this lovely book Carla just continues to be her funny and smart self while educating people about food and providing good shopping and cooking advice. The technique part at the front especially instills confidence, like “whoa, I might actually be able to do this.” And not like “do a recipe,” but “transfer the understanding of cooking one thing to ...more
Carolyne Gibson
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, OK, it’s a cookbook. But if you have even the most ephemeral interest in feeding yourself well from the abundance of excellent foodstuffs that surrounds us, it’s a worthy read. In her highly approachable style, Lalli Music distills cooking into six basic techniques using a small repertoire of tools and a straightforward inventory of ingredients. Casual cooks, experienced cooks, reluctant cooks, adventurous cooks, exhausted cooks all will find new ways of focusing their efforts on ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I really like this cookbook. (But I’m stingy with my 5 star reviews!) I love how it encourages the reader to consider many different options when cooking. I think Lalli Music’s method of beginning cooking at the store, and making multiple trips to the store each week for the freshest ingredients, is a great idea. However, as someone who lives in a very rural area, that is less relevant to me. Even so, there are many recipes that I can’t wait to try, especially when it’s CSA time again!!!
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbook
I was not initially impressed with this one, but it grew on me as I read it. I'm not a novice cook, so most of the intro did not apply. Then I was thrown off by a lot of odd "high end" that few novices would likely start with. But at some point the simpler recipes won me over--Cosmo's Power Pancakes, Rack-Roasted Chicken, Caprese Mac and Cheese--and I love the author's voice, lively and conversational.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The value in this book is the "spin it" concept where you can sub certain types of similar ingredients in for others in the recipes provided. She also has great sections on the basics behind sautéing, pan roasting, making comfit, etc. where she explains how each technique works and then provides 12 items to make with each technique. Great book, great narrative voice, and interesting recipes in the second half of the book with strong vegetarian and dessert sections.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fpl, cookbooks
Starting a cookbook shelf to track all the cookbooks that I flip through, admire, and never cook a single recipe from!!!

I'm an ENORMOUS fan of the Bon Appetit test kitchen's Youtube channel and a subscriber to the print magazine, so any cookbook from that crew is one I have to check out. This one is very beautiful - Carla rules.

Recipes tried: 0
Katie Shields
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot of people rave about this cookbook. But I have a feeling that most who raved, did not cook from it. More like they raved about it because they've been told that it's good.

I believe it's for a very specific audience. It was too basic for me, but I also think it would be too advanced for the beginner.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love her way showing g you how to shop (the way she does it) and give you the best suggestions in a real way not just from a chef's perspective.. this book is filled will normal and extravagant meals. Broken up by dish types. Beautiful photography.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5. Wish there were more techniques/tips. One strength of the book for certain is the “spin it” portions of the recipes where Music tells you how you can sub different elements, which is a great way to cook more intuitively rather than strictly based on a recipe.
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: information, food, 2019
I rarely read all the words in a cookbook, but I binge read this one in one sitting. The actual recipes are a bit intimidating right now, but her system for suggesting improvizations was genius. I would have given it 5 stars for the pantry and techniques section alone.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and helpful recipes and information.Found some keepers.
Jane Dugger
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Nice layout but the recipes didn't enthuse me.
M. Nicole Lane
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Buying this one for my kitchen library !
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This is great! Borrowed a copy from the library but I will absolutely be buying a copy for home.

Some really great ideas and very helpful ingredient swap ideas. Love it.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
This book inspires me to cook more. And the recipes are great! I love her way of organizing the kitchen and shopping for food. Her pastry dough recipe is also KILLER.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Buttery beets and grapefruit salad. Really???
Kristina Marie
Jun 03, 2019 marked it as cookbooks
Oddly formatted.
Ambur Taft
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a cookbook to own, it really is uncomplicated. I was in a what time cook for dinner funk and this book motivated me to stop overthinking food and cook & eat simply.
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