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Looking for a cookbook for shower gift

Plover's picture

Apparently the young woman who is to marry my nephew does not cook. At all. Though she does bake some. And he has a cooking repertoire of approximately three things. I don't think either of them are very adventurous about food.

I'm hoping to find a cookbook that is basic, friendly, explains ingredients and processes, has simple, tasty recipes, and does not patronize.

Does such a thing exist? Any suggestions? I mean, the poor things have to eat, right?


Edited 4/21/2008 10:44 pm by Plover

moxie's picture

(post #62937, reply #1 of 37)

Anything of Rachel Ray's.

"I have always relied on the kindness of strangers." - Blanche Dubois

KarenP's picture

(post #62937, reply #2 of 37)

 Linda Carruci's "Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks".  

chiffonade's picture

(post #62937, reply #3 of 37)

It's been a really long time before I had to consider this because I'm way out of the "friends are having wedding showers" age group but here's what I used to do.


In every home good type store like Linens and Things they sell a basket for use on picnic tables.  It has 1 large compartment (for napkins) and 3 smaller ones (f/s/k).  I used to put a copy of The Joy Of Cooking in the large compartment; and miscellaneous utensils in the other 3 pockets.  Wooden spoons, whisks, a rolled up tea towel or two.  I'd also include an instant read thermometer if I had to assemble this gift now.


Brides always seemed really happy to receive the gift and Joy is a great all-around cookbook - although I'd try to get a "new" copy of the "old" version.  Don't care for the newly released version.  (I gave a copy of the older version to my daughter for Christmas - it was her first cookbook.  My mom gave me my copy and it was also my first cookbook.)


"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


Chiffonade

*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."

Chiffonade

sclbcake's picture

(post #62937, reply #32 of 37)

I love your quote ! I never have noticed it...my daughter would love it also.....

chiffonade's picture

(post #62937, reply #33 of 37)

Thank you!  I feel it's a message worth spreading.

"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


Chiffonade

*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."

Chiffonade

sclbcake's picture

(post #62937, reply #34 of 37)

my daughter and I laugh about her all the time...I told my daughter about your having that quote on your email and she laughed and laughed !! sandra is a little overboard !!

chiffonade's picture

(post #62937, reply #35 of 37)

Just think what a shower gift would be from Sandra Lee... A big basket of Jell-O and Taco Packets. 


A Sandra Lee-related shower gift would be to take a couple of her cookbooks and tie them in a big ribbon that reads:  DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!


"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


Chiffonade

*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."

Chiffonade

sclbcake's picture

(post #62937, reply #36 of 37)

and the words typed in bold"semi-homemade"! If I hear that one more time plus Evoo...it's just too much !!

ashleyd's picture

(post #62937, reply #4 of 37)

As a basic The Way To Cook by Julia Child still takes a lot of beating, techniques, explanations, clear recipes & variations, it's all in there.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Gretchen's picture

(post #62937, reply #5 of 37)

I have a stack of cookbooks next to my chair and leaf through them. Among these I picked up Cooking New American last night. That is a really nice cookbook--good directions, friendly recipes, interesting recipes, good photos.  I think it would be a terrific cookbook for a "beginner". It would entice her to want to cook. It's a Fine Cooking book.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Canuck's picture

(post #62937, reply #6 of 37)

What about a subscription? I read cookbooks for fun but I love to cook. Having a delivery of season-appropriate recipes 10-12 times a year might pique their interest. And your gift will pop up in front of them every few weeks.

MadMom's picture

(post #62937, reply #7 of 37)

Hate to sound like a broken record, but I love Pam Anderson's How to Cook Without a Book.  It's a great book, which rather than just listing recipes, discusses techniques and allows people the freedom to combine the basic ingredients.  For non-cooks, amounts are given, of course, but it proves that recipes don't have to be followed to the letter.  I think it's great for beginning cooks, because it gives them a lot of freedom, while providing discussion of the techniques and "why" of cooking.



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LuciaK's picture

(post #62937, reply #8 of 37)

I second the FC subscription and  HT Cook w/o a Book. This book is a perfect starting point for a beginning cook. The recipes are so flexible and really focus on the techniques involved in basic meal preparation. I felt like a pro when I first used this book. My basic cookboook was the Pillsbury Cookbook, it was shower gift. I still pull it out for reference. My favorite book for new brides is the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook 2/e. Ring-bound,  family-friendly recipes, stuff for beginners and also for those who know grits from granola.

Minivan Mom. Fueled by Caffeine.

Minivan Mom. Fueled by Caffeine.

www.acookandherbooks.blogspot.com

Plover's picture

(post #62937, reply #9 of 37)

Thank you all for these excellent suggestions. Off to the bookstore! Yeah!

I think I might go with the Anderson one if I can find it.

Marts's picture

(post #62937, reply #10 of 37)

I Like Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" for a good basic cookbook. I have given it to several friends, and I still grab mine often when looking for basic recipes.

MadMom's picture

(post #62937, reply #11 of 37)

I'm afraid I cannot help but think of Mark Bittman as a pompous ####...anybody who would write a cookbook and call it How to Cook Everything has an inflated ego. 



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Plover's picture

(post #62937, reply #12 of 37)

I was wondering about this one, but haven't ever really looked at it.

Gretchen's picture

(post #62937, reply #13 of 37)

It ISN"T everything. and agree with MM. Plus he dissed Julia. Too many strikes against him!!  LOL

Gretchen

Gretchen
Marts's picture

(post #62937, reply #14 of 37)

Oh, no! I didn't know he dissed Julia. I still like the book, though. Just maybe not him.

Gary's picture

(post #62937, reply #15 of 37)

I'm asking because I don't know, but what about Betty Crocker's cookbook?

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

Jean's picture

(post #62937, reply #17 of 37)

The Betty Crocker and the Better Homes and Gardens are both great 'beginner' books.





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brett_ashley's picture

(post #62937, reply #18 of 37)

my favorite beginner book is America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook.  All the basic techniques--I cook something inspired by or out of this cookbook at least weekly.   My only complaint is that the paper is kind of thin--I like a heavier stock for cookbooks.  http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Kitchen-Family-Cookbook-Revised/dp/193361501X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208908521&sr=8-1


IMO it's much better than the Betty Crocker or Better homes books because it has real "cooking" techniques rather than recipes, ie.  how to make a pan sauce, how/what to braise.

Gretchen's picture

(post #62937, reply #19 of 37)

I haven't seen the current editions of these, and I have no doubt that they are wonderful.  I think current "children" want to cook what is maybe "current".  I have a couple of young folks in my fold, and they are drawn to recipes that look really good--and maybe "hip".  Just a thought.  I stand by my suggestion for that reason and will also endorse Racheal Ray's.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Gary's picture

(post #62937, reply #20 of 37)

I have RR's 365:No Repeats and I find it assumes too much for the beginner. For example, in recipe #2, you are instructed to boil the potatoes until "tender". What does that mean? In #4, you are told to "sweat" onions and cook the pasta until "al dente". No explanation is given for any of these terms. I think I would consider this book one level up from a beginner's book.

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

moxie's picture

(post #62937, reply #25 of 37)

I got both of those for my wedding -- 19 years ago next Tuesday -- and I still get them out more than any other cookbook.

"I have always relied on the kindness of strangers." - Blanche Dubois

Plover's picture

(post #62937, reply #26 of 37)

Thanks again to all - turns out I was a little limited by what was actually at the bookstore. The Peterson one was there at both McNally's and Chapters, but I decided that a cookbook with a picture of a knife on the cover was maybe not just the thing for a shower. I didn't like the tone of "How to Cook Everything".

I ended up getting one of the FC annuals because it is pretty, I think the instructions are very clear, and there are lots of straightforward but very nice recipes. I also got "The Best 30-Minute Recipe" (from Cook's Illustrated) because it is organized by cooking technique and has some good information on tools and techniques. So I think this should work. Plus I got a gift card so they can exchange/return if they don't like it.

I almost bought the new Duguid/Alford one on China for myself. But didn't. It was a toss up between that and another big, pretty book called "my China" (can't remember the author's name). I will go back on the weekend and get one of them. The problem with those big, lovely books is I'm hesitant to actually cook out of them (messy cook).

Gretchen's picture

(post #62937, reply #27 of 37)

Oh, I think the annual is a good idea. Lots of choices of all different types.


I suspect the "my China" book might be the Martin Yan book.


Gretchen
Gretchen
Nightrider's picture

(post #62937, reply #37 of 37)

Exactly.  I use my Better Homes and Gardens book (red plaid) whenever I need something really basic, like a pancake recipe (the buttermilk pancakes in there are my default). 

chefd's picture

(post #62937, reply #16 of 37)

I just found a (new to me) cookbook perfect for the gift. 


  BRIDE AND GROOM FIRST AND FOREVER COOKBOOK


  by  MARY CORPENING BARBER & SARA CORPENING WHITEFORD


Priced around 35.00.  I found it in a Readers Digest store in an outlet mall for about 20.00.


Great pics and directions.


Chefd


Cissytoo's picture

(post #62937, reply #28 of 37)

by  MARY CORPENING BARBER & SARA CORPENING WHITEFORD


They have a wonderful appetizer cookbook -- Cocktail Food:  50 finger foods with attitude.  Great photos and fantastic recipes.