How to Cook Everything

How to Cook Everything

This may sound trite, but I’m going to write it anyway: if I had to choose just one cookbook to keep on my shelf it would absolutely be How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman.

At over 2 1/2 inches thick and with over 2,000 recipes, it is indispensable in my kitchen.

This is not a high-gloss, pretty picture kind of cookbook. At first I was completely overwhelmed by the size and quantity of information. There is no way to casually flip through 2,000 recipes.

However, I gradually discovered that this book is my single-most used resource…even including the internet. If I have a cooking question, I grab this book.

Do you want to roast a chicken, bake zucchini bread, broil bacon-wrapped scallops, try your hand at a Frittate or figure out what should go with that tuna and pasta in the pantry? All of the answers are in  How to Cook Everything.  And, the answer will be complete and useable. Bittman instructs with easy-to-understand text, diagrams and illustrations.

Bittman also lets the cook decide how to be creative in a kind of choose-your-own-adventure style.  He suggests many great options and variations for combining dishes, sauces, spices and flavors. The cook decides which path to take or page to turn to. I frequently consult charts and lists such as “7 Ways to Vary Grilled or Broiled Chicken Kebabs,” “18 Variations on Vinaigrette,” and “27 Vegetable and Legume Dishes to Toss with Pasta.”

So, while I would never pick a favorite child or food, I do pick How to Cook Everything as my favorite cookbook.