Hardcover: 768 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter; First Edition edition (October 11, 2005)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 2.1 x 8.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #53,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #35 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > International #91 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Asian Cooking #295 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Methods > Quick & Easy
Years ago I stopped collecting cookbooks and gave most of them away. Except for Mark Bittman.This book is AWESOME. This man got is all right. The book is uniquely creative, wonderfully conceived, and easily approachable. There is no food snobbery here. The joy of this book, as with Mr. Bittmans columns and his great book "How To Cook Everything" is that it is specifically designed for the home chef. It is for we who really enjoy producing first rate food without being bent out of shape by finding totally esoteric and hard to find ingredients. By the standards set forth in this book it is okay if you want a first rate kitchen and do not own a truffle shaver. Or a caviar chiller. Or a personal killer wine cellar. Or the budget of the former Shah of Iran. But you do have the will to create and experience great food.There are so many things to commend this book: The description that precedes each recipe is invaluable. The recipes themselves are absolutely wonderful. The well thought out and carefully constructed list of basic and more unusual ingredients for the shelf of the home cook is perfectly constructed with sense and with an organization that gives the cook a real understanding of ingredients used in the recipes. From garam masala to Thai Fish Sauce to fresh and dried herbs and spices, all is explained and de-mystified. And the organization of recipes is unusual and well thought out since they are placed within a category according to the method of cooking (IE Braising, roasting, grilling, et al.
I bought this book about two months ago because I was bored with my normal cooking routine and wanted to play around with some new recipes. I could not be more pleased with the outcome.What makes this cookbook great is its approach - it is aimed at making international cuisine practical for those of us who have a day job but still want to eat well on a weeknight. It does this by: (1) outlining the core spices you'll want to add to your spice rack to be able to readily cook various cuisines, and; (2) skipping unnecessary steps in recipes that prolong the time and effort needed to cook well.The net result is that you can eat fantastic international cuisine any night of the week using the ingredients you have available in your kitchen, and for about the same effort as cooking dull staples.Purists may complain about the "veracity" of some of these recipes, and that is fine and appropriate. That is not the point of this book. The point is that you can make a Thai or Indian dish for about the same effort it would take to make a lackluster tuna casserole, and it will be better than what you can get at a restaurant (indeed, I cannot sing the priases of the Red-Braised Chicken recipe enough - this is the best north Indian dish I have ever had, and it is incredibly easy).Also: you will also never, ever, go back to canned pasta sauce again. Once you play around with a few recipes, you will be readily able to concoct heavenly sauce from fresh ingredients in the time it takes to boil pasta.My only complaint with this book (and this is very, very minor), is that you need to keep an eye on the calories of some of these recipes - they can add up quickly.
`The Best Recipes in the World' by New York Times columnist and leading cookbook author, Mark Bittman promises to be a really great cookbook, and it comes very, very close to fulfilling that promise.First, one very important thing to do is to say what this book is not, as, like many of Bittman's other books, his titles have a way of inflating one's expectations. For starters, the book is much more than those two excellent `best recipe' cookbooks, `The Greatest Dishes' by Anya von Bremzen and `The Cook's Canon' by New York Times alum, Raymond Sokolov. The former gives us only eighty recipes and the latter stops at 101. Both numbers are well within their ambitions of giving us recipes `every good cook should know'. Bittman's objective is to give us a much bigger book with over 1,000 recipes from around the world.Second, this is not a scholarly book in the vein of Paula Wolfert's magnificent studies of various Mediterranean cuisines or even Clifford Wright's study of the whole Mediterranean. And, Bittman makes no pretensions to being scholarly. One drawback of this somewhat personal view of world cuisines is that Bittman does a lot of blurring culinary boundaries which specialists in various regions would prefer to make clear. For example, he highlights only nine (9) culinary regions of Japan and Korea; China; Southeast Asia; India; Greece, The Middle East, and North Africa; France (and Europe in General); Italy; Spain; Mexico and Latin America. I implore you to not take this as any kind of gospel on world culinary regions. I just finished reading Clifford Wright's new book on spicy foods (`Some Like It Hot') and he identifies eleven (11) spicy cuisines which don't even cover half the world.
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