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Monday, February 2, 2015

Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell

I think that Mark Bittman's 'How To Cook Everything' is the best first cookbook to receive if you have some experience cooking, but what about the person who really knows nothing about being in the kitchen?  That person needs to start at a very basic level, and this is the cookbook for them. I think it will be my 'going off to college' cookbook gift.  Cal Peternell is the author.  He is a professional chef, working at the legendary restaurant in the Bay Area, Alice Water's Chez Panisse.  The story goes that when his eldest son was leaving home he suddenly realized that he really hadn't taught him how to cook.  Knowing only one professional chef, I can extrapolate from that friendship to why it might not be great to cook at home.  First of all the hours are long, and second of all, it might be similar to the cobbler's children having no shoes.  You just don't want to bring your work home with you.  In any case, he wrote this simple approach to cooking that is both instructional, true, and beautifully done.  It reminds me of Mark Ruhlman's book "Ratio", in that it gives a basic recipe and then variations that can be cooked with that basic recipe.  The chapters are things like "Pasta", "Toast", "Beans", and "Eggs".  It is a guidebook into the world of cooking.

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