But I can't recommend Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything enough. I was joking with Kenyatta the other day, saying I was going to title this post "Even Kenyatta Can Cook With This Book." Mercy stayed my hand. Kind of.
Anyway, I've mostly cooked from a weird mix--impromptu training garnered from my Dad, Cooks Illustrated, and Mastering The Art Of French Cooking. My Dad doesn't really use cookbooks, he just has a great eye. I've tried that and the results have been--in the main--disastrous. I don't have the touch, I need to measure. I like Cooks Illustrated and Mastering a lot, but they're best for people who don't really care about time. I mostly work from home, and have decided that putting some time into what you put in your body can't be wrong. But that's a decision made out of luxury
Bittman's recipes really tend to go a lot faster, without a no real drop-off in quality. So far I've done leg of lamb, cauliflower with anchovies, french fries and a cranberry walnut loaf. I've been really pleased with all of them. And I've discovered that I don't have to boil my potatoes for home fries--just cook them longer, and watch the heat. I'm sure some of the other recipes will be more intense. But if you're one of those people who's reads the cooking threads here, thought you wanted to cook, but have found yourself intimidated, cop Bittman's book. It's killer.
I know I'm late to this, but hey, I'm a professional amateur. May I be that for the rest of my days.