By way of background, I am an experienced - albeit not a gourmet - cook, with a wish to have more vegetarian options in my repertoire. This is the best cookbook that I've ever used, and comparable to the Joy of Cooking is its range and everyday utility.
I believe that people's mileage does vary widely in using cookbooks. In my case, I've bought a number of Mark Bittman's books, because I love his philosophy, and like his meal planning and modular approach to cooking. I really appreciate the underlying thinking that cooking should be less recipe driven and more of a flexible approach to what's in your kitchen, or fresh and seasonal. That said, I've found many of the recipes that I've tried to be very pedestrian in flavor - they taste like they were created by health conscious folks in the 70's. Other recipes have had seasoning that is so pronounced that the end result is inedible (3 Tablespoons of cumin? Really??? Was that a typo?), had major timing issues, or required ingredients that I generally don't have. However, other people do love using his cookbooks, so YMMV.
What I've liked about the Deborah Madison cookbook :
1. every single recipe has turned out from "very good' to 'Wow!..awesome!"
2. From my relatively well stocked larder, I can almost always find the ingredients 'in house' There are plenty of recipes to address cooking the staple vegetables and proteins (tofu, etc.) that are common to have. Equivalents/ substitutions are noted, and multiple uses for many recipes are also mentioned. Somehow, it's been much more successful in prompting me to cook with a modular, flexible approach - something I'd really wanted from the Bittman books, but not actually achieved.
3. It's changed my approach to vegetables, from treating them as an afterthought - the "just saute or microwave a bunch of broccoli" school of thought to using sauces that make vegetables a true pleasure to eat.
4. Clear, clear, crystal clear instructions. I can now prepare a golden, crusted tofu that is a huge improvement over my previous efforts.
5. Pretty comprehensive - the joy of an all-purpose cook book.
If you're unsure about purchasing, try out a few recipes first. Then, you will buy the book.
- Hardcover: 768 pages
- Publisher: Random House USA Inc; 1 edition (27 March 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1607745534
- ISBN-13: 978-1607745532
- Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 5.1 x 26 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 1.6 Kg
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)