Publisher: Family Circle/Murdoch Books
Date Published: 1998
Cooking – A Commonsense Guide was given to me when I was 15 (2003) and initially I took this little gem for granted. It did not have the flamboyant covers nor chique photography of most modern cookbooks. But it was later on that I realised its true value.
The power of this book stems from two areas. Firstly, the book asssumes that you do not know what you are doing. Not in a condescending manner either, but in a simplistic approach of not taking ‘common sense as common’. Recipes that some would consider easy or already known by all mankind (such as french toast for instance) are outlined in a curt, effective manner without the assumption of prior knowledge.
This not only encompasses the recipes themselves, but also the extensive background material. There are introductory sections that outline all the different cuts of meats, vegetables, grains, pastas and herbs by picture (as above). There are also sections on sauces, freezing charts and measurements.
The second reason the book is excellent is due to its focus on classic recipes – the tasty, comfort food, tried and tested, home cooked kind. Although the recipes are mostly anglo-saxon versions of different cuisines (for instance mulligatawny) this doesn’t take away from the yum factor.
To me it would seem like a good idea for every person to be given a copy of this book when they move out of home – its got pretty much every basic recipe you could think of, answers most questions (like ‘how do I cut up a whole chicken?’) and with its simple approach will be less likely to cause learners frustration.
♥♥♥♥♥ – 5/5