The Cook’s Compendium: 265 Essential Tips, Techniques, Trade Secrets and Tasty Recipes
Firefly Books, 2014
If I was buying one food-related book for someone starting our on their own for the first time, I think it would be this awesome collection of kitchen tips and tricks. 265 of them, ranging from the basics of different cooking oils to how to make stock.
Food writer Jenni Davis arranges her book by food type and moves through everything from necessary tools to pantry basics (ie. 5 things to have on hand in your freezer, fridge, and pantry – specifically chicken breasts, Parmesan cheese, dried pasta, canned beans, etc.), and then more detailed tips within each category – how to fillet fish, how to remove the pit of an avocado, how to beat egg whites, what pasta to use with which sauce.
Obviously this collection is not totally comprehensive and a more experienced cook will know a lot of this already, but it’s a very useful reference for anyone finding their way around a kitchen for the first time.
Davis also includes a few of recipes in each section, and these are great basics that every home cook should have a version of, such as ragu, baked beans, a basic stock, or a tandoori marinade.
Pages are sometimes busy with images and instructions, but recipes are clear and easy to follow, and the tips are all useful for a safe, sanitary, and efficient cooking space. As a basic primer for first time cooks or even those with a bit of experience but not a lot of practical knowledge, the Cook’s compendium is indispensable.