I read somewhere that if you want to be a great cook you should start by getting a great cookbook. The food world had been buzzing about the cancellation of Gourmet magazine as Gourmet Today – a behemoth of a cookbook – was being released. My options were to purchase the book or borrow it from the library. The closest mainstream bookstore is about 35 miles away in all four cardinal points (literally if I drive north, south, east, or west I will reach a Barnes and Noble or Borders; however in the town I live in – nothing). This drive calculates to about $4 in gas each way and if I’m going to a bookstore I have to also purchase a hot cafe mocha (it’s a rule of mine) which is about $3. Oh and did I mention Gourmet Today costs $40? So buying the book was out of the question and lucky for me as I entered the library one afternoon, shelved as a new book was that “great” cookbook that would turn me into a great chef.
I had a love-hate-then love again relationship with Gourmet Today: More Than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen. Allow me to describe the stages
Stage 1 – Love at first site. Corny I know. But I really was so excited about this cookbook I immediately told my husband this was what I wanted for Christmas – he shook his head (not in a “I’m not getting you THAT for Christmas” but a “My wife is easily excited by cookbooks and I must accept that fact.” kind of way) I flipped threw all 1008 pages as fast as I could. I was immediately disappointed that there were no photos in the book, only sketches, but I got over that quickly enough.
Stage 2 – So many, many recipes. So many new techniques to try. So many ingredients I do not own, do not care to own, and are not available near me. And then I did not like this book anymore. How was I suppose to be a great cook if I could only cook 5 meals from the hundreds listed? In the introduction the author talks about how Americans today are eating more consciously, cooking more food at home, and buying more organic products because we are becoming more ethical eaters and apparently this new appetite called for a new cookbook. The first two I’m okay with and I try to do both daily but I’m not the environmental type; I don’t eat and cook at home to fulfill some obligation to the earth. For some reason it upsets me that ethics has been brought into cooking and the introduction did not settle well with me.
Stage 3 – After letting the book sit on my desk for a few days I returned to it. As I flipped through the pages I noticed things that would work for me like the Tuna Pasta Salad on page 192 or the Steamed Broccoli with Olive Oil and Parmesan on page 574. I also began reading these little segments that pop up here and there that offer techniques and tips with certain foods. I’ll share a few of my favorite below.
After realizing that I was never going to successfully prepare every recipe in Gourmet Today but could still turn out to be a good cook I began to love the book again. I think it’s a great resource and a great way to broaden your culinary horizons. Needless to say I will probably check out Gourmet Today a few more times from the library a time and again. And if someone purchases the book for me, well I can say I would be absolutely delighted to have such a great cookbook.
Here is a box from the book with some helpful information. This one is how to make homemade ricotta cheese in about 5 minutes. Yes I will be trying this in the future.
A picture about how to make ravioli. A helpful photo for you to enjoy.
Finally here’s a short tutorial for making a lattice pie crust. Will I ever use this? Probably not, too much work for me but I appreciated that it was in there.
So how about you, have you browsed through Gourmet Today? What did you think? What are some other cookbooks you like? Leave you comments below.