- Print Length: 464 Pages
- Publisher: America’s Test Kitchen
- Publication Date: October 1, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009L7QGYW
- ISBN-10: 1933615990
- ISBN-13: 978-1933615998
- File Format: EPUB
Although I like having all sorts of specialty cookbooks around the house (even if they’re rarely used), it has always frustrated me that I’ve needed to keep 3 or 4 general cookbooks on hand, because none of them had quite all that I need in my core kitchen reference. I think this book may have done it for me, though — I’m all excited by it, and so are the men of the house.
I had seen “America’s Test Kitchen” cookbooks before, but had never picked one up, since they are apparently in reference to a TV show that I’ve never seen. But I liked that this one was a full cookbook with only “quick” recipes of 45 minutes or less. Now, while I’ll admit that my dinner standards some nights are low enough that I really don’t consider 45 minutes to be quick, that is a good upper boundary for how long I’m willing to spend on dinner outside of a special occasion. As a result, the average cookbook has a lot of frustrating waste for me — yummy recipes that I would never have the time and energy to actually make. This one, on the other hand, seemed like it could be a good fit, and they even highlight the recipes that take <25 minutes. Here are some of the things I like best about it:
1) The book doesn’t assume that you have all the foundational cooking knowledge that many other cookbooks presume, and it does a great job of illustrating those skills on the spot — right there amidst the recipes that require them, without taking up a lot of space or droning on.
2) It gives great purchasing suggestions — what equipment and tools you really need most and what you can do without, and which specific brands they tested with their ingredients and found to be the best buy for the money.
3) In addition to all the obvious categories of a general recipe book (appetizers, soup, meats, desserts), I loved that it had some other useful categories I don’t often see. There were sections on pressure cooker recipes, entree salads, pizzas and calzones, casseroles, pasta dishes, vegetarian main dishes, egg main dishes, grilling options, kid friendly dishes, and no-cook desserts that are great for those summer days when you loathe to turn on the oven.
4) They also had great pages around ideas like things to do with that rotisserie chicken you just picked up at the grocery store, or things to do with soy crumbles, or chicken tenders, or pre-cooked rice. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has groaned at eating the same thing over and over again to use up what’s in the fridge, so this was an awesome idea.
5) They managed to pack in an amazing amount of info without compromising readability. In part, this was because they used pictures where they were useful, instead of having pictures of everything. A lot of it came down to really good page layout, though — better than most cookbooks by far.
The only real downside to me was the lack of nutritional information anywhere. Especially when I’m cooking for those with diabetes or other dietary needs, it is sooooo nice when cookbooks at least have some basic info regarding carbs, proteins, fats, and total calories per serving. I know that it can take up a lot of space to include this with each recipe as the book goes along, but a table at the back would only take a page or two and would have made this cookbook absolutely perfect in my eyes.