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How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and…

How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know… (2000)

by Pam Anderson

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My mom got me a copy of this when I moved into my first apartment; it's definitely a good gift book for those who don't have a lot of cooking experience. There are some recipes, with lots of suggestions for variations, but the focus is on techniques (what's sauteeing?), and there are good tips about grocery shopping and kitchen equipment too. ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 5, 2015 |
The concept of this book intrigued, and the author's background with Cook's magazine seemed a good recommendation. I've been doing this kind of cooking my whole life, so I wondered what I would learn. I learned a lot, actually.

I liked the author's writing style and her emphasis on methods that bring together a good, classic meal in less than an hour (though I think my all-gas stove may have different temperature ranges and some of the time/temp notes were off-- pork chops cut from the loin as she specified needed 5-6 minutes per side rather than 3).

In particular, I learned a better way to 'saute' and 'sear' meats... but I admit my kitchen's puny fan doesn't really have the oomph to cope with the smoke from her searing method. I like her steam/saute vegetable method, though I found it worked better with greens than broccoli-- but her suggested add-ins were great. We tried her butterflied roast chicken, and again had a smoke problem, but the chicken itself was outstanding and a 6 pound chicken cooked in 60-70 minutes. Her suggestion for marinating stir fry meat, even if only briefly, in a soy-based marinade made a huge difference in my stir fry; and her instructions for making a classic pan sauce raised my technique several notches while giving me scope for my 'what have we got in the cupboard and what goes well together' fun.

Some of her choices seemed incongruous-- using spaghetti for pad thai because you can't depend on getting rice noodles? And yet expecting that the reader will have access to unfried papadums? (The papadums in particular seemed a wierd throw-in to round out one of her sample menus.) But I look forward to trying her pad thai recipe, and using the various add-in and sauce suggestions. Warning: thi is not a diet book: there's plenty of fats and carbs in her dishes, though there are also salads and near-plain veggies. ( )
  bunnyjadwiga | Feb 25, 2014 |
a good resource but results depend on the effort invested--currently none on my part ( )
  EhEh | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is another book that is a great starting point for the beginning cook. Each dish starts with the basic dish and then adds different flavor ideas to change it up. ( )
  mlake | Oct 8, 2011 |
There comes a time when the late fees you keep accumulating checking out a book from the library make it worth it to buy the book, even at full price.

I LOVE this book. It has made cooking so much simpler for me. ( )
  allasa | Jun 21, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767902793, Hardcover)

Learn what makes a recipe tick, says How to Cook Without a Book author Pam Anderson, and you'll serve great food fast. Recognizing that most cooks feel challenged in the face of daily meal making, Anderson provides a game plan: prepare dishes based on available ingredients and simple cooking techniques you've mastered--not on recipes you've got to look up and ingredients you'll need to shop for--and you maximize the potential of kitchen ease. Cooks looking for a way to address the what-will-we-have-tonight quandary definitively, or those who feel they lack the energy or know-how to tackle cooking every night, should find the book essential. In chapters such as "Simple Stir-Frys" or "Weeknight Ravioli and Lasagna," Anderson presents a particular cooking procedure, provides a recipe that embodies it in its basic form (the protein-adaptable Weeknight Stir-Fry, for example), then offers simple variations (such as Stir-Fried Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms or Stir-Fried Shrimp with Pepper and Scallions). Chapters conclude with an at-a-glance review of key technique points. Following Anderson's tips and innovations, lasagna, for example, becomes a weeknight option (use egg-roll wrappers for the pasta, Anderson advises, and forgo the baking); she also shows how, once mastered, her Big Fat Omelet, which serves four, can become the basis for a wide range of lunch and dinner entrées. With a comprehensive pantry section and a dessert chapter that puts frozen puff pastry to work in imaginative ways, the book is a trove of information that cooks can use and depend on. --Arthur Boehm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:01 -0400)

Anderson teaches a modern version of the lost art of cooking by heart. "How to Cook Without a Book" gives every cook the confidence to whip up delicious meals without making a special trip to the grocery store or deciphering long-winded, complicated recipes. Illustrations.… (more)

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