View Full Version : Best cookbook for college grad?
05-21-2010, 12:12 PM
I'd like to get a cookbook for a recent college grad, but am sort of stumped - all of my cookbooks are pretty specialized... One thought I had was New Basics from the Silver Palate... Any suggestions? Thanks!
05-21-2010, 12:17 PM
Bittman's How to Cook Everything. And if the person's a vegetarian, then How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
05-21-2010, 12:56 PM
I second the idea about the Bittman book. My daughter has the vegetarian one and uses it all the time. It is the only cookbook she owns.
05-22-2010, 05:28 AM
I got The Joy of Cooking for my DIL. It has everything - even a recipe on how to cook raccoon, which I needed once as a newlywed.
05-22-2010, 06:18 AM
I vote for the updated Joy of Cooking. No raccoon ;)
05-22-2010, 06:23 AM
I recently got this book and I think it would be good for someone who wants to be able to throw together a decent meal. I think Joy of Cooking is a stretch for most people these days...
05-22-2010, 11:39 AM
I also like Bittman's books. They are certainly comprehensive! Be aware though, that there is nothing in the way of photography. I know this bugs a lot of people.
05-22-2010, 12:24 PM
Alton Brown books are always a good choice. I like I'm Just Here for the Food. (http://www.amazon.com/Im-Just-Here-Food-Version/dp/158479559X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274552514&sr=1-3#noop)
05-22-2010, 06:59 PM
America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It has a lot of skillet recipes, quick sauces, crockpot recipes,etc. It covers all levels of cooking skills. I bought it for my daughter last year for Christmas. She has since asked for ATK Family Baking Cbck.
05-23-2010, 01:58 PM
I would third (or fourth) Joy of Cooking. I got rid of almost all my cookbooks and retained that one because it is the definitive starter point for ANYTHING one needs to know. It's the equivalent of the Settlement Cookbooks that were given to every bride.
I think books of recipes are anachronistic unless one is the kind of food person that enjoys reading recipes because recipes of every kind can be more easily be found on the web. But Joy is always there to provide advice from the most basic to the really esoteric.
05-23-2010, 02:41 PM
I have both the Settlement Cookbook and the Joy of Cooking. The Settlement Cookbook is more basic; if I'm looking for biscuit dough with no frills, for example, I'll go to Settlement. But Joy is more complete.
I do have lots of other cookbooks but those two are the most generally useful.
I received the Better Homes and Gardens basic cookbook (I think it still has a red and white checker/plaid cover) when I was in college and found it very useful. It has charts for how to cook various cuts of meat and has basic recipes for almost everything. It was also in a three ring binger, so I didn't have to struggle with keeping the cookbook open, on top of figuring everything else out. I don't use it all that much anymore, but found it very helpful and still have it.
05-24-2010, 12:32 PM
Joy of Cooking. Excellent starter book - broad range of recipes including many basics. Also has sections that explain things which is great for a new cook or when you're trying something new. And I've never had a failure from it!
05-24-2010, 02:44 PM
Joy of Cooking is definitely a fab book & good standby. But, in all honesty, I've always found it difficult to cook from b/c it's so flippin huge! Very difficult to have out on the counter top while you cook. Also, the largeness makes it kind of overwhelming if you're new to cooking. I mean, it looks like there is so much you have to know that there's just no way you could ever get through it.
Just another viewpoint...
One of my very fav, basic, how-to books is How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson
05-24-2010, 05:52 PM
I received the Better Homes and Gardens basic cookbook (I think it still has a red and white checker/plaid cover) when I was in college and found it very useful.
I agree. As a young and very inexperienced cook, I had both Better Homes and Gardens and Joy of Cooking. At that time, I found Better Homes and Gardens easier to use (although I loved to read Joy for fun).
I have used both (and many other cookbooks) ever since and found them useful. I have bought updates of each once. (I haven't done so very often because, unfortunately, you need to keep the old edition since not all of the "old" recipes are included when a cookbook is updated.)
I'm sure any of the books suggested would be appreciated and used.
05-24-2010, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I (and my student!) really appreciate it.
05-25-2010, 05:08 AM
In response to the concern about the unwieldiness of Joy of Cooking, you could also give your graduate one of those clear plexiglas bookholders. I use one of those all the time in my kitchen; it keeps the pages open and clean. My Joy has been used so much, though, that it obligingly stays open on my counter even without that.
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