View Full Version : "first" cookbook

10-18-2000, 10:24 AM
My sister, who rarely cooks and focuses on 15 minute recipes when she does, has requested a "basic cookbook" for Christmas... I read through the favorite cookbook thread and wondered if anyone had some great suggestions... Here's what I'm debating so far: How to Cook Everything, How to Cook without a Book, New Joy of Cooking, Complete Cooking Light.

Which would you go with (other suggestions are welcome as well)?

10-18-2000, 10:33 AM
I own HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING, and although I was impressed with it overall when I first bought it, I'm not sure it is as all-inclusive as would be useful for someone looking for basics.

On the other hand, there is great stuff in the NEW JOY of COOKING -- and I would recommend it (hands down) as a reference tool for just about anyone.

10-18-2000, 12:18 PM
I think the New Joy of Cooking is a great book. It gives you alot of information on how to cook rather than just recipes. I use it more often as a reference than for recipes, though. Strangely enough, there is a series of cookbooks that are all "365" something. I have 365 Easy Italian Recipes (or something like that ) and 365 Ways to Cook Pasta. I really liked these books for a few reasons. The recipes really are rather simple and the book is spiral bound so it lies flat! They're relatively inexpensive books and there's a whole series of them. I know how you feel since my sister rarely cooks and I'd love to give her recipes, but she finds most of them too complicated or time consuming. I think in some cases, she may not understand the terms directions, either (such as "fold in" etc) since she doesn't cook too much. The books aren't really "gourmet" but they have some good recipes in them. I found mine at Barnes and Noble.

10-18-2000, 12:23 PM
Another excellent first cookbook is "Now You're Cooking" by Elaine Corn. I have given this to new brides who didn't previously cook/bake and have always been told that it has helped them tremendously. The recipes are super easy to follow and are not intimidating at all. There are tons of extra tips throughout the book. I would highly recommend it!


10-18-2000, 12:29 PM
I've been trying to reply to this post for about 3 hours and work keeps interrupting me!! http://www.cookinglight.com/bbs/frown.gif

I love my New Joy of Cooking. It has all sorts of wonderful "how to" and reference material in it. I also don't make many of the recipes, but I use them to develop recipes of my own, or to get basic techniques. The directions on roasting meats and poultry alone are worth it, not to mention the vegetable descriptions, the basic sauces and the indispensible how-to-cut-up-a-chicken section which I have used many, many times. It even has Asian sauces and dishes.

I own the step-by-step Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and it is my second favorite, but doesn't really provide the depth of information that Joy of Cooking does.

10-18-2000, 01:36 PM
A friend of mine who cooks only the very basics (think: adding garlic to jarred sauce and Chicken Volia from a bag only) just got married back in August. I got her "How to Cook Without a Book" and CL's "5 ingredients, 15 minutes" book. I thought both would be good for quick and easy dinners.

Personally, I own the New Joy of Cooking (but rarely use it--I'm struggling to keep up with all the recipes I'm accumulating from CL and this bulletin board) and the first cookbook I received was a Betty Crocker 3 ring binder type. I just realized that I do use NJOC for advice on cooking times for different cuts of meat and veggies if I'm not using a recipe. It is very useful for that!

[This message has been edited by BethH (edited 10-18-2000).]

10-18-2000, 02:25 PM
I would suggest the Better Homes and Garden cookbook, especially in the notebook form. It has everything in it, from boiling eggs to how long to bake a chicken. After that, you can get fancier or more specialized.

10-18-2000, 02:26 PM
I think the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (the complete one, not one of the specialized ones) would be good for a beginner. It has lots of tips as well as recipes, cooking times, substitutions, etc. -- and lots of pictures! Also, if you get the looseleaf edition rather than the bound or paperback one, your sister will be able to add recipes of her own as she goes along.


10-18-2000, 07:47 PM
I'd say that Betty Crocker's New Cookbook would be a good choice. It gives flavor variations and/or lightened versions of most recipes, the recipes are fairly basic, and it also gives tips on how to just cook various food items (how to hard boil an egg; how to bake a sweet potato; etc). I'm a cook who's still learning and it's my basic cooking bible.

10-18-2000, 11:15 PM
My first cookbook was the Good Housekeeping Illustrated cookbook. I still use it. It has many great recipies, albeit, not light ones. But also has pictures and step by step illustrated instructions. I have given it to a number of friends who were beginner cooks and they all loved it.

[This message has been edited by Laura (edited 10-18-2000).]

10-18-2000, 11:30 PM
My first cookbook was a Betty Crocker Cookbook. It has lots of basic recipes and plenty of illustrations.