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Monday, May 02, 2011

How-to-Cook Book A Quick, Helpful Resource for First-Timers

(Image from Indiebound)

Getting married? Moving out on your own? Suddenly feeling the need to learn how to cook? Well, Salt Lake City chef Shawn Bucher's got you covered. Or, at least he will once he finishes his entire series of First Timer's cookbooks. He began writing the series to answer the many cooking questions he gets every day. Frustrated with the lack of simple, effective how-to-cook books currently on the market, he decided to write his own. The books in the collection will all feature simple, step-by-step instructions for performing basic food preparation/cooking techniques as well as large, colorful photographs to help illustrate the concepts being discussed.

The First-Timer's Cookbook, the initial entry in the series, covers a lot of material, but focuses mostly on preparing the three main portions of any meal: meat, vegetables and starches. Bucher talks about how to select the best of each, prepare them most easily and cook them most effectively to ensure superb taste. His explanations are, indeed, easy to follow, even for the most novice of cooks. The included photographs also work well, demonstrating important ideas, like how to tell the difference between cooked and undercooked meat. While some of the information seems a little too basic, most of it will come in handy even for more experienced cooks.

My main issue with the book is that it's not actually a cookbook, or at least, it includes no recipes. I would have liked some simple, beginner-type recipes that utilized the techniques being taught, as a way for the reader to try out or practice things like making a roux or flavoring a dish with herbs.

Other than that, I found the book to be a quick, helpful resource that, I think, will give new cooks the confidence to keep honing their skills in the kitchen. Those with more years behind the stove will likely find The First-Timer's Cookbook too simplistic, but may want to keep it in mind for gifting to new brides, grooms, college students, or anyone who wants to learn the fine art of cooking.

(Readalikes: Nothing is coming to mind. Any ideas?)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: G for nothing offensive

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of The First-Timer's Cookbook from the generous folks at MediaGuests, for whom this review was written. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I'm afraid of "simple" how to books. I'm always humiliated by how much I really don't know. This one would make a great gift, though.


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