Saturday, February 19, 2011
Book Review: The First-Timer's Cookbook
My first review for 2011 is Chef Shawn Bucher's first book, The First-Timer's Cookbook. This is not your traditional cookbook since there's not a single recipe in it! Instead, it's full of the kind of tips that you call home to your mom while you're in college to ask--things that seem like they should be intuitive, but really aren't. (e.g. How do I cook spaghetti squash? How long does pasta take to cook? If my chicken's pink on the inside can I eat it?)
This book reminds me of Suze Orman's, Women and Money, in that some of the tips seem eye-rollingly obvious. While other points are really beneficial. In Women and Money, for example, Suze Orman would say things like, "A checking account is bank account where you use the money by writing a check." Similarly Chef Bucher keeps things (ridiculously) simple with tips like,"Knife skills...come down to this--don't cut yourself." Nevertheless, if you keep reading your bound to learn some valuable info, like how to use "carryover cooking" to your benefit to have perfectly done meat, which months certain fruits and veggies are at their best and even how to cook obscure vegetables like egg plant.
I personally benefited from the "how to cut butternut squash" segment. Something that previously had been the bane of my existence, I could now do with ease.
While the average stay-at-home-mom could definitely find a few new tips and tricks in this book, I think it's biggest target is those learning how to cook, also called people-who-can-only-make-microwave-popcorn. That includes, young cooks (my 11-year-old daughter is DYING to get her hands on this book), young men wanting a crash course before they serve a mission, missionaries who missed the crash course and are tired of ramen noodles, and co-eds who don't want to call their mothers.
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free from Media Guests in exchange for my candid review of the book.