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In Learning to Cook, 150 recipes and 100 color photos are woven through 11 chapters with tempting titles like "Soup for Supper," "Easy Fish," "Meals Without Meat," and "Thank Goodness for Chicken." Cunningham's recipes are clearly written--free from hard-to-decipher cooking terms and elaborate preparations. Directions for preparing items such as vegetables are included in the recipes, so readers can prepare them as they cook, without perpetually referring to the ingredients list. Many of the recipes are meal-in-one suppers.
In addition to recipes, the book includes lots of reference materials, such as a list of essential kitchen tools, as well as lots of tips on basic techniques--how to whip cream, cook rice, carve ham, and much more. An uncluttered, user-friendly layout empowers even the fearful cook to prepare dishes like Poached Halibut with Fennel, Old-Fashioned Beef Stew, and Simple Vegetable Soup.
Cooking with this book will teach beginning cooks to read a recipe, organize a complete meal, recycle today's dinner into tomorrow's luscious lunch, gauge quantity, season to taste, and even end up with a cleaner kitchen after they've completed their meal! Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham is a timeless cookbook useful to any novice cook. --Amy Cotler
Marion Cunningham, today's Fannie Farmer--who embodies the best of American home cooking--is the perfect guide for the uncertain cook. Not only are her recipes simple, they are easy to master, because she writes in clear, straightforward language that anyone can understand. She addresses the needs and concerns of beginning cooks: how to shop, how to determine the quality of ingredients, how to store fresh produce and to ripen fruits, what basic kitchen utensils to use, and how not to waste food.
With 150 recipes woven through eleven seductive chapters, such as Soup for Supper, A Bowlful of Salad, Thank Goodness for Chicken, and Extras That Make a Meal, Ms. Cunningham reveals the secrets of relaxed and efficient home cooking. She stresses the importance of thinking ahead--not just one recipe at a time. Today's dinner can be recycled into a lunch treat for tomorrow, Sunday's leftover polenta is fried up and topped with Parmesan for a weekday supper dish, small treasures in the fridge can make an omelet filling, a pasta garnish, or stuffing for a baked potato, and homemade biscuits can be transformed into strawberry shortcake.
The side dishes she recommends are simple and are coordinated with the timing of the main dish. Often she gives us a recipe in which everything is cooked together--for instance, a chicken is roasted along with onions, carrots, and potatoes, so everything is ready at once, and when you're finished there's only one pan to clean; easy fish is baked over a bed of vegetables; a steak supper combines watercress, mushrooms, bread, and a delicious steak all in one.
Above all, Ms. Cunningham demonstrates that the satisfaction of cooking lies not only in the good taste of all these wonderful home-cooked dishes but also in the pleasure of sharing them with friends and family.
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