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How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food

(How to Cook Everything)

by
4.02  ·  Rating details ·  66,825 Ratings  ·  693 Reviews

Great Food Made Simple

Here's the breakthrough one-stop cooking reference for today's generation of cooks! Nationally known cooking authority Mark Bittman shows you how to prepare great food for all occasions using simple techniques, fresh ingredients, and basic kitchen equipment. Just as important, How to Cook Everything takes a relaxed, straightforward approach to cook

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Hardcover, 960 pages
Published August 28th 1998 by John Wiley & Sons (first published January 1st 1998)
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Popular Answered Questions
Online9 Lots of vegetables and some fruit - half the plate. Some protein - one quarter of the plate. Some whole grains - one quarter of the plate. Even snacks…moreLots of vegetables and some fruit - half the plate. Some protein - one quarter of the plate. Some whole grains - one quarter of the plate. Even snacks should follow these proportions. Give kids some choice in how to fulfill these basic food categories (for example, do they prefer broccoli or green beans in tonight's dinner for the vegetable category), but be firm that you want them to eat these kinds of foods because you want them to be healthy. Avoid sweets and desserts, and do not use them as rewards for anything.(less)
The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. RombauerMastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia ChildHow to Cook Everything by Mark BittmanBetter Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by Better Homes and GardensThe New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated Magazine
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1,175 books — 1,064 voters
My Greek Traditional Cook Book 1 by Anna OthitisJoy of Cooking by Irma S. RombauerHow to Cook Everything by Mark BittmanThe America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook by America's Test KitchenBetter Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by Better Homes and Gardens
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Missy
Jun 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so, October is National Book Month, and there's a meme going around: what book do you want everyone to read, fiction and non-fiction. And why. So, this was my non-fiction book.

Why I want you to read this:

I know so many people who tell me they can't cook, they don't know how, it's too hard, and it's not. If I could teach all the people I know and love how easy it is to have real, good, actual food, I'd be a very happy woman. Since I can't come into your kitchens and show you how few steps i
...more
Martin Earl
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
This could go on my "reading" shelf because I'm ALWAYS reading it. It is my standard starting point for any recipe search that I do. It is true that I don't always find everything I want (yes, we all know the title is hyperbole), but what I find is just great.

This book is the "Joy of Cooking" for a new generation. It has supplanted that venerable old institution, and presents the world of cooking in a way that can both engage the neophyte and interest the adept. And the fact that the recipes an
...more
Louis
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who do not have much experience cooking but want to learn and dreams of becoming good.
Shelves: food
There are many different types of cookbooks. The most basic type is a collection of recipes, presumably built around some theme. Another type is the picture book, filled with pages of pictures of beautiful gourmet dishes. Then there are the celebrity chefs, with books that promise something akin to what you can get from their restaurants, or results like their TV shows. I have one cookbook that is basically a travelogue, beckoning the reader to distant exotic lands. But the one that every househ ...more
Leslie
Jul 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: butter lovers, people who need a general reference cookbook
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 m ...more
Jonathan Peto
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks, nonfiction
I've had this for a few years (Thanks Santa) and have done more reading than cooking, my fault, probably a crime. I've renamed it How to Cook Nothing, but now that my wife is returning to work soon I'll be trying out many more recipes. I expect success. I already know the little food essays that dot the pages and open the chapters are excellent, because the writing is clear, learned, and vivid. Like familiar ingredients that combine to create something scrumptious or surprising, the simple chapt ...more
Mischenko
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book. It's never let me down. We keep it on our kitchen cookbook shelf and that's where it's staying! Highly recommend, especially for the younger ones just starting out...
Steven Peterson
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
On page xi, Mark Bittman lays things out: "Anyone can cook, and most everyone should. It's a sorry sign that many people consider cooking 'from scratch' an unusual and even rare talent. In fact, cooking is a simple and rewarding craft, one that anyone can learn and even succeed at from the get-go."

There are the usual features in this cookbook (and welcome for all that): ingredients that ought to be in your kitchen (page xiii),equipment, techniques (such as grilling, broiling, roasting, sauteing
...more
Jennifer
Oct 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
When I got this book, it was being billed as the new Joy of Cooking (maybe it still is), a basic cookbook that covers everything from how to cook to what to cook. And, for the most part, it is. The directions are simple, Bittman clearly explains everything from the type of pots and pans you should have to the basics of cooking meat. At the same time, I find that I rarely use this book, unless I'm looking for a simple recipe for vegetables or salad dressing or something else that is to serve as a ...more
Joey Comeau
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is exactly what it promises! It's a huge block of a book, and walks you through the very basics of almost everything. Which is exactly what I needed.

I've eaten out almost every single meal since 2006 or so, and this book made a daunting task seem manageable. Not only was I starting to cook again, but I also had to buy dishes, pots, measuring cups. This book was very clear about what a person needed and what they could do without at first.

There is also the "How to cook everything vegeta
...more
Caitlin
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a person who gives books as presents. It's fortunate that my son loves reading as much as everyone else in my family because he's gotten many books as presents over the years. When he was here to see me this summer he expressed an interest in some cookbooks. He's living in a dorm that is set up like an apartment so cooking is a new necessity. I gave me the copy of The Joy of Cooking that my father gave me (this was probably the second or third copy - for awhile there I tended to walk away f ...more
Jean
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Simple breakdowns of classics with very interesting twists. We did the "Adult's Birthday Dinner." Here's the breakdown of the recipes I've eaten and the cookbook club cooks who cooked them.

Molly - Spicy Lentil Soup: Definitely one to recreate on a chilly Sunday. I love hearty vegetarian fare.

Molly - Sicilian Onion Pizza: Great crust, better than I expected toppings Surprisingly mellow considering the volume of onions involved.

Sheela - Catfish with Brown Butter: (was supposed to be Skate but Sk
...more
Jude Watson
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has a purpose: to introduce home cooks to the most basic cooking techniques for a wide variety of ingredients through simple recipes. It accomplishes this goal handily. The cooking techniques in this book are well explained and largely foolproof, and give a great starting point for situations like the one I'm finding myself in today, a classic case of "WTF do I do with these sunchokes I impulse-bought at the farmer's market?!"

However, the recipes in this book are almost totally uninspi
...more
Mykle
Mar 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: college students
Shelves: can-t-decide
This is an omnibus in the Joy of Cooking tradition; you'll notice it's the same size and thinckness as the Joy, sells for about as much, and is clearly targeted at the same market segment. Both books purport to briefly cover every kind of food that Americans used to cook, cook now or ought to cook.

However, while the sizes of the two books are the same, the type in Bittman's book is much larger. His recipies are actually quite good, but HTCE simply lacks the depth of the Joy ... and who needs two
...more
Kristie
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great cookbook for anyone that is just starting out. The recipes are fairly simple and use ingredients that are generally readily available. There are many explanations as to how to do things - eg. how to shape a pizza or fillet a fish. Many of these explanations are not necessary, since you will probably buy your fish already filleted, etc. However, it is good to have instructions available for anyone that wants to try something new. For the most part, I thought the recipes were foods ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Does NOT tell you how to cook EVERYTHING

Shoes? Monkey wang? No recipes for those.

Still, a very good reference book and the recipes are pretty easy.
Arlette
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can Thomas Keller the hell out when I feel like it, but when I'm trying to figure out what to do with a jar of egg whites, a pint of homemade mayo, some leeks and the whole fish I bought at the market on impulse; or when I'm brain-dead after work or in one of those odd depressive fits that occasionally move through my brainscape like a storm front, when just remembering to feed myself feels like a small victory; this reminds me how to turn stuff into food, reliably and with minimal fuss. Since ...more
Chase DuBois
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you don't know how to cook, you are especially dependent on recipes, and many recipes are intimidating/daunting because they're complex --they have many ingredients and/or many steps. Because you're a newbie, you don't know which ingredients are crucial, which means you may think you have to go to the store when you didn't really need to, which means you may abandon cooking for the night when you didn't really need to.

Bittman's column in the New York Times is called "The Minimalist," and it
...more
Dianna
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dianna by: Julia S
Truly simple recipes. Julia turned me on to this guy, and this book is full of the kind of recipes you can read once and remember without having to keep referring back. I have a shelf full of cookbooks (really the only type of book I still buy), but in two weeks I've cooked more things out of this one book than all the rest combined.

I cooked brussel sprouts for the first time in my life: loved them! Bittman suggests that brussel sprouts were made for bacon... I have to agree. He gives a chart (
...more
Cynthia
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Mark Bittman's are the first and only cookbooks I have had where I felt like I was learning how to cook and not just follow a recipe. I love how he gives the basic recipe and then variations, e.g. here's chicken soup, now change a couple of ingredients and it's Asian chicken soup, or substitute this for that and it's Mexican chicken soup. So you start to understand what the fundamental elements of a dish are, and what can you play with. As someone who needs structure and is somewhat fearful of e ...more
Tiffany
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Best all around cookbook ever! This is my go to book when I need information and a recipe for a new ingredient, or a recipe for an old classic, or to find something to make with what I have on hand. This would be the perfect gift for someone just setting up their own place. Bittman's clear, concise writing and simple approach to good food make it easy for the novice cook to read and use.
Merinda
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. I borrowed it from the library, and after having it in my home for less than a week I decided we needed to own it.

Nearly everything I can think of to cook I can find here. Everything. And every recipe is simple and teaches basic concepts of cooking and variations that you can take and run with. Some of my favorites so far are fried rice with pork and shrimp, biscuits made with yogurt (better than our old family recipe), gazpacho and olive oil salt bread (so fast!). He does
...more
Jennifer Kim
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Before I had kids, I used to say - if it takes me more than 10 minutes to make, it's not worth it. Also, I was so horrible and clueless about cooking (baking and anything else to do with food included) that when my husband ran to the kitchen because the cookies were burning, I calmly told him - "it's OK. Don't worry. Just flip them over!" I was completely ignorant about how cookies baked in the oven. And making a garden salad brought me to tears. This was my baseline.

Now, after two kids and seei
...more
Becca
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
I went to the used book store the other day with some cast-off hard-backs to trade in. I shoved several lounging cats aside, and found all 944 pages of this tome. The shiny "Julia Child Cookbook Award" and "James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award Winner" stickers intrigued me. So did the Washington Post quote, "Think of it as a more hip Joy of Cooking"
Them's fightin' words. I'm a Joy devotee. But flipping through, I was intrigued. I like the illustrations, the larger print, the informative lists a
...more
Jonathan
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all humans who consume food
Shelves: food
Hands down the single most useful cookbook I own. I bought this in 1998 shortly after the first edition came out, and have since given copies to many people. If you cook, you need this book. If you don't cook and want to begin, this is (in my opinion) the best place to start.

This book is noteworthy in that it's useful for both total novices and experienced cooks. Bittman writes in an informative, down to earth style. No "gourmet" pretension here. At the same time, he's very opinionated, and I to
...more
Diana
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
No secrets here, the title gives it away. This book literally walks you through how to use a kitchen and prepare food for human consumption. Often with very good results, even if you are a reluctant cook, like myself. (Don't let the number of cookbook reviews on here fool you - I love eating good food, I just find the daily preparation of it a drag.) I use this book often, evidenced by the fact that it opens to many favorite recipes automatically. This is a great book for anyone wanting to learn ...more
Laura
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This (and it's companion, HTCE Vegetarian) quickly became two of my go-to cookbooks last year and helped me explore outside my usual cooking realms. I'd set HTCE (and HTCEV) aside and fallen back into a cooking rut. Last weekend I pulled HTCE back out, and was reminded again how great it is. I love the format of the basic recipe followed by adaptations that can be made to the basic one - for me, those get me thinking about other variations that might be excellent as well. Plus, HTCE *finally* he ...more
Brad Barbour
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this cookbook enough for anyone wanting to get more serious about cooking, and and as a general, extremely comprehensive primer. A masterstroke of culinary utilitarianism: this book could make even the most dedicated recipe Googlers consult its written instructions instead. Bittman writes in a clear and readable style, and excels in instructing the reader on various basic techniques and the function of ingredients. There is also a lot of information on locating and selecting gr ...more
LOL_BOOKS
I WANT TO GET A COOKBOOK FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO "EAT HEALTHIER", BUT THEY ARE KIND OF PICKY AND NOT MUCH OF A COOK, THOUGH THEY HAVE A LOT OF FREE TIME. DO YOU HAVE ANY GOOD SUGGESTIONS? I AM TRYING TO STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT CALLS ITSELF VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN ON THE COVER, BUT ITS OK IF THE COOKBOOK IS STEALTHILY VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN.

ONE OF MARK BITTMAN'S HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING BOOKS MIGHT BE A GOOD CHOICE. THEY COVER ALL THE BASICS, AND AS SOMEONE WHO IS KIND OF PICKY MYSELF, I'D RATHER HA
...more
Lisa
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Michelle Gerry
Shelves: cookbook, own, favorite
Everyone should own a goto reference cookbook. For a long time this was my betty crocker cookbook i got when i got married. but that book has died from over use (was once even used as a trivet). This book is my new goto cookbook. Bittman has lots of opinions and sound advice on everything. I don't always agree with everything, but it's a terrific starting place.

One item of note for those of us at higher altitude, beware the chocolate chip cookie recipes need adjustment. (I've finally just wrote
...more
Amanda
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
This book was useful back when I really didn't know how to cook anything. I bought it based on the recipe for alfredo sauce.

Now that I know how to cook (and enjoy food), I've upgraded to the Best Recipes books and find myself being offended by what Mark Bittman thinks of some of my favorite foods. (Pasta and cheese don't go together? Muffins shouldn't be sweet? Brownies shouldn't be too fudgey?)

I donated this one to the library after 8 years of oftentimes frustrating reference.
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MARK BITTMAN is one of the country's best-known and most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of New York Times on food policy and cooking, and is a columnist for the New York Times Magazine. His "The Minimalist" cooking show, based on his popular NYT column, ...more

Other books in the series

How to Cook Everything (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food
  • How to Cook Everything: The Basics: Simple Recipes Anyone Can Cook
  • How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food
  • How to Cook Everything: Bittman Takes on America's Chefs
  • How to Cook Everything: Quick Cooking
  • How to Cook Everything: Easy Weekend Cooking
  • How to Cook Everything Summer
  • How to Cook Everything Thanksgiving
  • How to Cook Everything Christmas
  • How to Cook Everything: Holiday Cooking

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“[C]onvenience is one of the two dirty words of American cooking, reflecting the part of our national character that is easily bored; the other is 'gourmet.' Convenience foods demonstrate our supposed disdain for the routine and the mundane: 'I don't have time to cook.' The gourmet phase, which peaked in the eighties, when food was seen as art, showed our ability to obsess about aspects of daily life that most other cultures take for granted. You might only cook once a week, but wow, what a meal.” 4 likes
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