Excellent Resources for Newbie & Wannabe Cooks

These resources include information on selecting food to buy, basic cooking and preparation techniques, and simple yet tasty recipes to follow.

Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer (641.5 ROM)
This classic goes beyond providing basic and traditional cooking information and techniques.  There is information about selecting produce at the store and in depth information about different cuts of meat.  I use this book as my go to print source for any basic information about cooking (How long should I boil an ear of corn?) to how to set the table for a formal occasion. (I never remember which direction the dessert forks and spoons go over the plate.) If you are exploring the world of cooking and baking, I highly recommend paging through this book and discovering all that it offers.

How to cook everything. The basics : all you need to make great food by Mark Bittman (641.5 BIT)
As the title implies, this books starts with the absolute basics of food preparation and assumes virtually no knowledge on the part of the reader.  The pictures are a great reference for all different techniques and the illustrations help you identify what is being described in the directions.  This book contains perfectly simple recipes that every neophyte and experienced cook should have in their kitchen.

Melissa’s great book of produce : everything you need to know about fresh fruits and vegetables by Cathy Thomas (641.31 THO)
This book is a comprehensive-but not overwhelming-manual that explains how to find, store, prepare and serve fruits, from Asian pear to yuzu, and vegetables, from artichoke to yu choy sum.  The pictures help you identify the items at the local farmers market or the grocery store.  I’ve perused this book to expand my fruit and vegetable repertoire.

The butcher’s guide to well-raised meat : how to buy, cut, and cook great beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and more by Joshua Applestone (641.66 APP)
For those who choose to eat meat and want to prepare it at home, this book is an amazing resource.  It provides information directly from butchers about the entire process of buying, preparing, and cooking meat.

Knife skills illustrated : a user’s manual by Peter Hertzmann (642.6 HER)
Most cookbooks and recipes assume that you already know what dice, mince, and julienne mean and how to do so.  This book fills in the gaps of such an important skill set in the kitchen.  Cutting seems so simple yet learning these professional techniques will take your cooking to another level–not only will you impress your friends and family with how your dishes look, everything will cook more evenly and sometimes faster. It takes a bit to learn these knife skills, but it is worth the investment as you can use them for the rest of your life.

A Year of Slow Cooking

Slow cooking is an excellent kitchen newbie technique.  Most dishes require few steps and often can be an entire meal.  Stephanie is always trying something new in her slow cooker and sharing her family’s opinion of the dishes.

Food Network Website: Food Network Essentials Section

This section of the TV station’s website includes videos, pictures, and excellent descriptions of food basics, essential techniques, and tips from famous chefs.

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1 Response to Excellent Resources for Newbie & Wannabe Cooks

  1. Jenny says:

    Deborah Madison’s book Vegetable Soups is also great – soups for every season! Catalog link: http://library.minlib.net/record=b2370357

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