Friday, June 1, 2012

The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook - America's Test Kitchen


 As is the way things work in my life, I got the recommendation for this book from Candace at Beth Fish Reads.  In her review, she asks if you have drunk the Cook's Illustration Kool-Aid yet.  I know with a first line like that, I'd better just boot up my library website right then and there. She was ramping up for a sales job.  


What I CAN tell you is that I have sampled the America's Test Kitchen Kool-Aid with their most incredible Slow Cooker Revolution Cookbook.  It is sitting on my counter, covered in olive oil and tomato sauce and it is well-loved.  So I knew that this more comprehensive cookbook, which includes over 2,000 recipes from ATK's Cook's Illustrated magazine, was a foregone conclusion.  ATK is known for their perfection of every recipe.  They break everything down and build it back up, test, re-test, experiment, and come up with the easiest, tastiest, most fool-proof way of making a dish.  Not only that, but they tell you WHY you are cooking your food this way.  They educate you while you are feeding your family.


I ordered it from the library, and it was delivered to me in a special bag.  That is because it is over 2 inches thick and feels like it weighs about 10 pounds.  This is the cooking Bible, people.  They have every food possibly imaginable.  They have a separate section on grilling.  


They have variations on tried and true classics.  For example, take your standard sautéed chicken cutlet.  They show you how to slice a chicken breast into a cutlet, then give you four different ways to make it...with a Lemon-Caper Pan Sauce, a Vermouth, Leek and Tarragon Sauce, a Sherry, Red Pepper, and Toasted Garlic Sauce, and a Brandy, Cream and Chive Sauce.  I made the Sherry one and it was FABULOUS and very simple.


I learned how to store cheese, and how to dry-age my steak at home.  


While there aren't colored photographs of the dishes in here (then it would be a 50 pound book that costs $300) they do have diagrams that show you how to fill a pastry bag, how to prepare a roast boneless leg of lamb, or debeard a mussel.     


I'd like to say that I had my way with this book, but I did not.  I'm not sure if that would be possible.  If you were able to have one cookbook in your house, this is the one you would want to have.  I have renewed it as much as the library will let me, so I have purchased it for myself.   I must spill sauces on it, and I must live from it.  


My only disappointment is that I wish they had caloric content of the dishes.  I know it would probably be shocking, but I do need to know these things so I can live my life.     

























For more Weekend Cooking fun, hop on over to Beth Fish Reads.






   




17 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Just as I'm trying to cook less you have to tell me about this wonderful cookbook!

softdrink said...

Mussels have beards?

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the magazine, but have not seen the cookbook. But really, revealing calories is a bad, bad idea. I can hardly enjoy myself at Corner Bakery anymore!

Anita said...

I love cookbooks. I will keep this one in mind. Thanks Sandy.

Tasha B. said...

A calorie count is a good idea--you should suggest that to them!

caite said...

I drank the KoolAid a long time ago and while I have several of their cookbooks, this is by far my favorite. There is just so much information in there...

Beth F said...

What Caite said!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

My sister-in-law swears by ATK cookbooks; we have had many delicious meals from their book.

Libby said...

We get the magazine but I don't have the books. I gotta order one or two at the library. Too many stunning endorsements to to check it out!! :)

Carole said...

This may just be a cookbook I will buy. Thanks for posting about it. Have a good week.

JoAnn said...

I own the Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook, and recently checked this one out from the library. Ditto to everything you said!

The Bumbles said...

Andy received this as a X-Mas present from my brother & his wife. We have LOVED every single recipe he has tried out of it.

Their Buttermilk Pancakes are TO.DIE.FOR. I actually just requested them for tomorrow's breakfast menu ;0)

Marg said...

A cookbook that you have borrowed from the library but then have to buy is a fantastic recommendation!

Alex said...

Someone just gave me this cookbook, but I haven't had a chance to look through it yet. But now I will the time. Nice post.

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Meg @ write meg! said...

Oh, I love Cook's Illustrated -- and Spencer and I are obsessed with "America's Test Kitchen," their TV equivalent. You're right about the calorie count... probably would be good, though I would likely lose my appetite after learning the truth!

Kathleen said...

I wish it included calories and more photos but you've given it a ringing endorsement and it certainly sounds like the sort of bible that I need in my kitchen right now. I tend to get in cooking ruts and I love the idea that they show you multiple ways to season and cook the same thing so you can vary your meals.