Is There a "How To" Book You Keep Returning To?

When I want to know the deep Whys and Wherefores, I dig out a Harold McGee. But for instant technique reference and/or confirmation, I grab chef James Peterson’s What’s a Cook to Do? I like that it’s small-format and well organized.

What’s your favorite technique reference?

Delia Smith’s “Complete Cookery Course”.

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I have my McGees. In pre-Internet days, I used James Beard’s Concordance, or maybe in my youth the Joy of Cooking. These days, I go online, trusting myself to filter my results.

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Also a great source for me ; I find it a lot more informative than Cook’s Illustrated, which is almost unsurpassed in its ability to annoy me.

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And it’s constantly updated, unlike printed books.

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I often start with Serious Eats (online or cookbook) as well, and Cooks Illustrated ( sorry @Meekah ! and yes; I pay. :grinning:) for technique.

How about fleshing out recipes? I’m not sure what I mean by that, but sort of a "How To Cook Everything " idea, for which I sometimes use… “How To Cook Everything”!. Also “The New Cook” or something like that from a course at the CIA for basic recipes to start with for things like BBQ rub or Chili powder.

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:joy:. I just get super annoyed at how they are always “improving” recipes. The one that irks me the most is what they do to the Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella.

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Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman. How to make a roux? 3 parts flour to 1 part fat. How much of it to use to thicken a sauce? 10 parts liquid:1 part roux. Bread dough: 5 parts flour, 3 parts water (plus salt and yeast). All parts are by weight. I keep some of my own ratios on scraps of paper in the book, with the exact weights: pizza dough, 150g flour:120g water, plus yeast and salt, sandwich rolls: 450g flour, 297g water plus yeast and salt.

ETA: link:
https://www.amazon.com/Ratio-Simple-Behind-Everyday-Cooking/dp/1416571728/

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I love Cook’s Illustrated (and their TV shows) for their approach to food and cooking, but I think they show too much of their New England roots and Eurocentrism that I constantly have to adjust for in terms of taste and expectations. To their credit, I think this is less so after Christopher Kimball’s departure.

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Interesting! I wonder if there is a connection to him doing “Milk Street”. I can’t vouch for it’s “authenticity”, and there is plenty of “hawking” , but it doesn’t seem more Eurocentric than most in the US.

Yeah, he’s always been a bit much for me.

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I forgot … I have this, too!
His book “Schmaltz” used to be available as a stand-alone app (as were several cookbooks” but they weren’t updated and died in the app graveyard.

Yes, indeed. The intrigue and legal machinations behind his departure from Cook’s Illustrated and his starting of Milk Street are quite something to read. It’s all out there on the Internet Tubes …

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A bit?

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Which includes a link to…

NYT on “Why Christopher Kimball Is Moving On From America’s Test Kitchen”

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I’m low key and understated. :joy:

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There’s just something about Kimball that rubs me the wrong way. Every time, in everything. Deeply.

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My grandpa left me this one book.

Best book ever written. Recipes, yes, but instruction on how to build a chicken coop, compost box, etc. just tells you how to do everything important, in 1910.

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I need a copy. Or should I say, I needed a copy decades ago? Maybe not too late to stop making mistakes!