Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: The James Beard Cookbook by James Beard

An undisputed classic from the man who changed American cuisine forever
Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the best basic cookbooks in America,” The James Beard Cookbook remains as indispensable to home cooks today as it was when it was first published over fifty years ago. James Beard transformed the way we cook and eat, teaching us how to do everything from bread baking to making the perfect Parisian omelet.

Beard was the master of cooking techniques and preparation. In this comprehensive collection of simple, practical-yet-creative recipes, he shows us how to bring out the best in fresh vegetables, cook meat and chicken to perfection, and even properly boil water or an egg. From pasta to poultry, fish to fruit, and salads to sauces, this award-winning cookbook is a must-have for beginning cooks and expert chefs alike. Whether it is deviled pork chops or old-fashioned barbecue, there is not a meal in the American pantheon that Beard cannot teach us to master.

Both timeless and eminently sensible, The James Beard Cookbook is the go-to book for twenty-first-century American home kitchens.

The main reason I was eager to get my hands on this book was because after years of watching cooking shows and reality shows, I know that the James Beard Award is a very big deal and that James Beard is a brilliant chef and he wouldn't put out a cookbook that wasn't up to his standards.

In The James Beard Cookbook, readers learn about measurements, herbs, condiments, how to purchase and prepare ingredients, what type of ingredient to use with certain cooking techniques, and many, many more.

To say that this book is comprehensive actually feels like an understatement. It was more like going through the James Beard cooking school. It's a must-have for any kitchen, I think, as there are plenty of very, very useful things in here. So much so that the probably will be retaining them all, that is if you don't cook and put the tips to use on a regular basis.

Unlike modern cookbooks, there aren't any pictures here and the instructions are given in paragraph form, which not many cookbooks do nowadays. If you're a visual learner, you may find it just a tiny bit harder to follow the instructions. The instructions and techniques are simple enough, though, so as long as you actually know what the technique asks of you to do, you should be able to come up with the final product without any trouble.

One upside of having no pictures and using paragraphs instead of a numbered list for instructions is that there are a lot more recipes here than the typical cookbook. It certainly makes this a value-for-money book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the e-ARC.


  1. It has pretty much everything you need to know about cooking.
  2. The recipes are simple enough to follow and there are plenty of variations you can try.
  3. There are a lot of recipes and very helpful tips. 


  1. There are no pictures for the recipes. 


  1. You are looking for a must-have addition to your kitchen cookbook collection.
  2. You like cookbooks that have a lot of recipes.
  3. You like it when cookbooks have plenty of useful additional information. 



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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