Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cookbook Spotlight :: Joy of Cooking

I have what seems like seven thousand cookbooks.  There are some in my collection that I constantly refer to, others that I use when I need to feel inspired, and still others that I never use but I have the best of intentions!  I seem to buy cookbooks at a higher-than-average rate.  In fact, I often find myself reading Amazon reviews of cookbooks and an hour will slip by without me even noticing.  And there are evenings when I like to kick back on the couch with a glass of wine and a cookbook.  I just read those babies cover to cover like a Shakespearean classic or a Twilight book.  (Had to go with both ends of the spectrum with that analogy!) 

more cookbooks....

and another one that seems to have gotten away from the pack(s)!
There are a few cookbooks that every kitchen should have and some that you should either pass on or check out from the library first.  If you're me, any trip to Williams & Sonoma or your local book store results in a few unanticipated purchases, but hopefully this series of reviews will help you navigate the cookbook world.  Today's spotlight is on:
Joy of Cooking

Oh how I love this cookbook.  In my kitchen though, it's more of a kitchen dictionary than a truly revolutionary source for recipes.  Joy of Cooking has everything you need -- from recipes to guides on how to use ingredients and kitchen tools to menu ideas to nutrition information.  Want a quick primer on which wine to serve with your dinner?  Joy's got it.  Throwing a cocktail party and want to serve up some fancy drinks?  There's a section on booze drinks.  Mozzarella sticks....homemade pasta...chocolate cake...EVERYTHING is in this cookbook.  And before each section is a quick preview that gives you overall tips and tricks of the pros so that your food comes out great.

The recipes themselves are also quite good (there are 4,500 of them)!  You can use them in a pinch when you have a craving for something but don't have a recipe for it or when you are wondering whether or not you're supposed to peel turnips before you cook them.  It's way easier to look something up midway through your cooking in a book than on the internet...cookbooks are supposed to get dirty!

I've used this cookbook for french toast, the glaze for cinnamon rolls I made earlier this month, and hundreds of other things since I got it as a gift a few years ago.  It is about 1,000 pages of pure information.  Every kitchen should have this cookbook.  Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cook, Joy of Cooking is an incredibly helpful resource.

In short, you should probably buy a copy.  My mom actually found one at goodwill for $5!  Not a bad find for something so useful.

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