By no stretch of the imagination would I call myself a chef, or even a cook, but I do spend my fair share of time in the kitchen, providing the lion’s share of the family meals. To this end, I of course have the family staples…those meals that I know everyone likes, or will eat, but I do like to mix it up from time to time to try new recipes. Not being much of a chef, I need recipes that are fairly simple, fairly basic. To this end, The James Beard Cookbook is a godsend.
This might be considered a “no-frills” cookbook as there aren’t any fancy photos or family stories included, but the recipes are straightforward, easy to follow, and those that I tried … quite delicious.
Beard does preface each section with tips on how to care for or prepare certain items, and from this alone, I learned some valuable lessons. But the reason to buy this book is for the recipes (it is, after all, a cookbook).
I haven’t gone through and made every recipe within. I haven’t even done a third of these, but of the ones I have done, I’ve been impressed with the simplicity and the tastiness. It’s not hard to find recipes that are flavorful, and it’s not hard to find recipes that are simple, but the two together…?
One of the brilliant aspects of this book is that so many of the recipes are made with everyday ingredients, or at least ingredients that the average home likely has in stock. In too many ‘high-end’ cookbooks, I find the need for ingredients that not only do I not keep on hand, but too often are even difficult to find in my rural area. And what James Beard shows us is that you don’t need unusual spices or ingredients to create masterful, tasty foods. You just need to know foods and how to combine them for the best results. Deviled Pork Chops? Yes! Basic Marinara Sauce in which the first ingredient is six slices of bacon? YES!
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for simple, every-day recipes or something to serve at a fancy dinner party, The James Beard Cookbook will provide the instructions.
Looking for a good book? The James Beard Cookbook is a first-rate cookbook that doesn’t waste space with photos, but is packed with recipes and instructions.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The James Beard Cookbook
author: James Beard
publisher: Open Road Media
Kindle Edition, 565 pages