I once listened to The Diana Chronicles on tape which was read and authored by Tina Brown (who seemed a bit hostile in her portrait of the former princess). In the book, Brown recounts a scene in which a young Diana glimpsed a sight of her future husband while playing hide and seek in a nursery. Returning home from her adventure, she proclaimed, "I've met him," knowing intuitively that she'd met the man she was to one day marry. My story might not have the same intrigue as a royal romance but, suffice it to say, I think I've come across a "cookbook" which will carry me through my cooking adventures. In short, I've found it!
Notes on Cooking: A Short Guide to an Essential Craft is written by Lauren Braun Costello and Russell Reich. Upon finding the tome on Dan Barber's Blue Hill website, I knew intuitively (much like Diana) that I had found a book I would carry throughout my home-cooking career. Devoid of a single recipe, Notes on Cooking provides a more fundamental approach to cooking or elements to consider before one embarks down the road of a dish. Filled with helpful anecdotes such as the suggestion of reading a recipe twice for familiarity and knowing the "flavor" of your water, the book equips cooks with a better awareness of basic elements affecting their final product. Ranging from the very basic such as the use of heat and narrowing to methods of choosing quality ingredients and finally presentation, Notes on Cooking, in my opinion, is a book that belongs on the shelf of any cook. Hopefully, it will be a relationship that lasts.
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