Have a friend or family member that is just starting to really embrace cooking? Someone moving out on his or her own for the first time? Here's a gift idea that you still have time to take advantage of and it is such an essential part of my kitchen that I almost didn't even think to point it out as something special. I thought it might be the same for some of you.
The Joy of Cooking.
I'd been cooking for years before I received the Joy of Cooking as a gift and I don't know how I lived without it before. Sometimes I will just flip to a section and begin reading. I have a wall of cookbooks that I rarely use because I'm not really a recipie kind of girl, but I do love the pictures and inspiration. I will flip through for ideas and then run off on my own. It's almost the exact opposite with the Joy of Cooking for me (although there are plenty of ideas to be found there!). Typically I will want to make something new and have technical questions, or I just need a refresher. I take the idea and go to the book for the know how.
Yesterday, a friend asked if I have a good tenderloin recipie. It's been ages since I've made beef tenderloin and I responded that I'm typically a fan of simple when it comes to a good cut of meat. Still, knowing she was asking for a holiday dinner, I consulted my never-fail resource. In addition to confirming my preferred seasoning approach (salt, pepper, olive oil or softened butter), the roast tenderloin entry had critical temperatures handy, reminded you which portion of the cut to use if you're not cooking a full tenderloin, and other practical tips.
My copy is only a few years old and yet it shows love. I can see it getting more stained with fingerprints and dog-eared, and I can't wait. It's the kind of volume I hope to pass along someday. If you don't have it, by all means run out right now.
But, I know my readers are savvy in this area ... Any other indispensible references or cookbooks you'd recommend?