Yeah, I cook and you should as well. No matter haw daunted you are by the prospect of entering the kitchen to whip up something as simple as a boiled egg, the ability to prepare a meal is not only a necessary survival skill, it’s a series of victories as one overcomes fears and produces some very tasty results. Jeff Potter’s Cooking for Geeks ($24.99) is not only a fantastic read, it’s one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever read. A cornucopia of recipes, food and other science lessons, excellent interviews with far too many chefs and other food experts to list, the book is both a page-turning revelation and a go-to master class in all sorts of kitchen knowledge.
Clocking in at 432 pages, you’ll find everything here from how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker in ten minutes (a good task for kids with too much energy to tackle with parental supervision), how to sharpen knives, discovering how taste buds work and even a very helpful chapter on food safety that will make you pay a great deal more attention to how you prepare food for yourself and others. while it doesn’t have nearly as many recipes as the classic food tome, it’s safe to consider this The Joy of Cooking for the modern age. Well, at lest in my book. While it’s Potter’s show for the most part, it’s in the interview portions and constant recommendations about experimenting with all sorts of recipes where the book soars.
My only complaint is the rather heavy emphasis on microwave usage. While it’s much faster and convenient for millions of home cooks, some techniques are better off learned in longer form. For example, I’m one of those nuts who firmly believes, chocolate needs to be melted in the old fashioned way, not briefly nuked until it’s the right consistency. Sometimes, taking one’s time with a good recipe requires a slower and more patient prep method. Honk if you agree and if you DO honk, make sure you’re pulled over or NOT driving as you’re reading this (ha and ha).
I’d write a few hundred words more about this one, but I’ve bookmarked so many pages in my review copy that this would end up being a novel when all is said and done. Actually, I did write a few hundred more words about the book, but that review is on my other (now dead) laptop and I won’t get to yanking the hard drive out and grabbing what’s on it for a while (thank you, backlog, grrrr!). To sum it up, this is not only one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever read, it’s a must-buy guide that belongs in the library of anyone who cooks or wants to learn how. BUY his book and maybe get a copy for that skittish fried we ALL have who thinks they’re ll thumbs in the kitchen (or thinks they’ll lose a thumb as soon a they touch wooden spoon or double boiler).