The James Beard Cookbook

The James Beard Cookbook

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by James Beard

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A must-have for home cooks everywhere: timeless and delicious recipes from James Beard, the foremost food expert and “dean of American cookery.”

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the best basic cookbooks in America,” The James Beard Cookbook remains as indispensable to home cooks today as it was when it was


A must-have for home cooks everywhere: timeless and delicious recipes from James Beard, the foremost food expert and “dean of American cookery.”

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the best basic cookbooks in America,” The James Beard Cookbook remains as indispensable to home cooks today as it was when it was first published over fifty years ago. James Beard transformed the way we cook and eat, teaching us how to do everything from bread baking to making the perfect Parisian omelet.
Beard was the master of cooking techniques and preparation. In this comprehensive collection of simple, practical-yet-creative recipes, he shows us how to bring out the best in fresh vegetables, cook meat and chicken to perfection, and even properly boil water or an egg. From pasta to poultry, fish to fruit, and salads to sauces, this award-winning cookbook is a must-have for beginning cooks and expert chefs alike. Whether it is deviled pork chops or old-fashioned barbecue, there is not a meal in the American pantheon that Beard cannot teach us to master.
Enduring and eminently sensible, The James Beard Cookbook is the go-to book for twenty-first-century American home kitchens.

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The James Beard Cookbook

By James Beard


Copyright © 1987 The Estate of James Beard
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-0449-7


Cooking Tools and Terms

Basic Cooking Equipment


Large carving knife
Large chefs knife with 10- or 12-inch blade
Chef's knife with 8-inch blade
Slicing knife
Boning knife
Paring knives
Small knives for general use
Serrated bread knife
Grapefruit knife
Sharpening steel


Wooden spoons of various sizes
Slotted or perforated spoon
Long-handled spoon for basting and stirring
2 or 3 regular kitchen spoons
Measuring spoons
Fork and spoon for tossing salad
1 large two-pronged fork
2 or 3 regular kitchen forks
Small fork for removing items from small-necked bottles


Large carving board, about 16 inches
Smaller carving board, about 12 inches
Small chopping boards
Chopping block
Pastry board
Bread board


Nest of mixing bowls of various sizes
Soufflé dishes
Molds of various sizes
1 or 2 kitchen platters
Ovenproof serving dishes
Shallow baking dishes
Individual ramekins and pudding molds


Saucepans of various sizes, with lids
Double boiler
Enamel pan for boiling eggs
Large, deep braising pan with tight lid
Steamer with rack
Medium-sized sauté pan with lid
Large, heavy sauté pan with lid
Skillets of various sizes
Pan and basket for deep-frying
Crêpe pan
Omelet pan
Roasting pan and rack
2 or 3 casseroles of various sizes
Loaf pans
Ring mold
Baking sheets
Tube cake pan
Cake tins
Jelly roll pan
Muffin tins
Pie tins
Flan pans with removable bottoms
Flan rings
Deep dish for quiches and pies


Apple corer
Ball scoop
Biscuit cutters
Bottle opener
Cake racks
Can opener
Candy thermometer
Deep-fat thermometer
Food mill
Kitchen scale
Kitchen scissors
Lemon squeezer
Measuring cups, for liquid and dry measure
Meat thermometer
Mortar and pestle
Pastry brush
Pastry tube and attachments
Pepper grinder
Potato masher
Poultry shears
Rolling pin
Rubber scrapers
Salad dryer
Strainers or colanders of various sizes
Vegetable brush
Vegetable peeler
Wire whisks of various sizes


Electric mixer with attachments
Electric hand beater
Electric blender
Food processor
Electric skillet
Electric deep fryer
Waffle iron

Weights and Measurements

3 teaspoons—1 tablespoon
4 tablespoons—¼ cup
1 cup—½ pint
4 cups—1 quart
4 quarts—1 gallon
1 ounce—1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons
2 ounces—¼ cup or 4 tablespoons
8 ounces—1 cup


1 wineglassful—¼ cup
1 gill—½ cup
1 saltspoon—¼ teaspoon
Butter the size of an egg—¼ cup or 2 ounces


White, 1 pound:
2 cups, uncooked—6 cups, cooked
Kidney, 1 pound:
2 2/3 cups, uncooked—6¼ cups, cooked
Lima, 1 pound:
3 cups, uncooked—7 cups, cooked


1 ounce—2 tablespoons
2 ounces—¼ cup or 4 tablespoons
¼ pound—½ cup
½ pound—1 cup
1 pound—2 cups


1 pound—4 cups, grated


1 ounce—1 square of baking chocolate


4 to 6 whole eggs, shelled—1 cup
Whites of 8 to 10 eggs—1 cup


White: 1 pound—4 cups, sifted
Cake: 1 pound—4½ cups, sifted
Whole wheat: 1 pound—3½ cups


1 tablespoon—1 envelope


Almonds: 1 pound, unshelled—1½ cups nut meats
Pecans: 1 pound, unshelled—2¼ cups nut meats
Walnuts: 1 pound, unshelled—2 cups nut meats


Macaroni, 8 ounces:
2 cups, uncooked—4 cups, cooked
Noodles, 8 ounces:
2 ½ cups, uncooked—4 to 5 cups, cooked
Spaghetti, 8 ounces:
2 ½ cups, uncooked—4 to 5 cups, cooked


1 pound, uncooked:
2 cups, uncooked—6 cups, cooked


Brown: 1 pound—2 ¼ cups
Granulated: 1 pound—2 ¼ cups
Powdered: 1 pound—2 ¾ cups

Cooking Terms

À La Grecque: Vegetables cooked in an oil and vinegar liquid with seasonings added. The term means "in the Greek style."

À La Mode: Usually used to mean topped with ice cream. This is an American distortion of the French term meaning "in the manner of," generally followed by another word, as in "à la mode de Caen"—"the way it is done in Caen."

À La Russe: In the Russian style. Salad à la Russe is a mixture of vegetables or vegetables and meats blended with mayonnaise.

Acidulated Water: Water with vinegar or lemon juice added. Fresh vegetables and fruits are often soaked in acidulated water before cooking. Use 1 tablespoon of acid to 1 quart of water.

Al Dente: Literally, "to the tooth." An Italian term used to describe food, especially pasta but also vegetables, cooked so it is still firm to the bite.

Aspic: Jellied broth used to make molds of cold vegetables, meats or fish: or to mask cold foods.

Au Gratin: Any casserole baked with a bread-crumb topping. Most people think this term means with cheese. This confusion probably stems from the fact that grated cheese is often mixed with the crumb topping.

Au Jus: In the natural juices. Meat au jus is meat served plain with pan juices, rather than with other sauce or thickened gravy.

Au Pot: Means "in the pot." Generally a chicken or piece of meat cooked in a large pot with water or broth.

Bain Marie: The French double boiler.

Bake: To cook in the oven.

Barbecue: To cook over an open fire—that is, by direct heat.

Barbecue Sauce: A highly seasoned sauce used to baste food while it is barbecuing.

Bard: To wrap with fat or a fatty substance, such as salt pork. (Often confused with Lard. See page 11.) Lean pieces of meat are often barded with fat—wrapped in suet or salt pork or bacon—before cooking, to keep them from getting too dry.

Baste: To spoon or brush liquid or melted fat over food as it cooks. Basting keeps food moist, helps flavor it and gives it a nice glaze or finish.

Beat: To stir thoroughly with a spoon or eggbeater. The term implies a vigorous mixing.

Beurre Manié: Butter and flour kneaded together and formed into pea-sized balls. Used to thicken sauces.

Bind: To hold a mixture of foods together with mayonnaise or other sauce.

Blanch: To pour boiling water over food and then drain almost immediately; or to parboil in water for a minute. Nuts and tomatoes are blanched in order to loosen their skins.

Blanquette: A light stew; one made without browning the meat first.

Blaze: To pour liquor over food and light it. To be sure liquor will flame, it is sometimes wise to heat it slightly before pouring it over the food. This is not necessary if the food itself is piping hot. (Also see Flambé,page 11.)

Blend: To mix thoroughly, or to purée thoroughly in an electric blender or processor.

Boil: To cook in liquid at the boiling or bubbling point.

Bone: To remove the bones from meat or fish.

Boned and Rolled: Certain meat cuts are boned and then rolled up and tied for roasting.

Bouillon: A clear broth made by cooking meat, fish or vegetables in liquid and then straining the liquid. Packaged bouillon cubes, sold in grocery stores, may be used as a substitute.

Bouquet Garni: A selection of herbs placed in a small bag of cheesecloth and put in a broth or stock to flavor it while cooking. The bag is removed and discarded when the broth is done.

Braise: To brown meat or vegetables in fat, then add a small amount of liquid and finish cooking tightly covered at a low temperature. A tenderizing method good for tougher cuts of meat.

Bread (To Bread): To coat meat or fish with crumbs.

Bread Crumbs: Soft bread crumbs used for stuffing are made with day-old bread; fine bread crumbs, with bread that is dried out and rolled or grated. For detailed instructions, see Bread chapter, page 38.

Brochette: Small skewers on which pieces of meat, fish or vegetables are cooked. Food en brochette is generally broiled.

Broil: To cook under or over direct heat. This can be done in the broiler section of the oven, directly under the heating unit; or over a wood, coal or charcoal fire. There are also portable electric and gas broilers.

Broth: The liquid left after simmering vegetables, meat, fish or other foods. Also used to mean a thin soup.

Brown (To Brown): To cook food in a little fat until brown.

Brush: To daub the surface of food lightly with some liquid or fat. You may use a pastry brush for this job or simply dribble the ingredient on with a spoon. Examples: brushing bread with melted butter; brushing top pie crusts with beaten egg.

Buttered Crumbs: Fine crumbs cooked with melted butter until saturated. Used to top casseroles or to dress vegetables.

Canapés: Small pieces of fried or toasted bread spread with highly seasoned toppings. Used as appetizers.

Caramelize: To melt sugar until it turns liquid and brown. Example: Sugar is caramelized to coat the cups or mold for Caramel Custard.

Charcoal-Broiled: Broiled with the heat of a charcoal fire, directly over or in front of the coals. For instructions on how to build a charcoal fire, see page 184.

Chop: To cut into small pieces. You may use a food chopper or a sharp, heavy knife. A large French knife with triangular blade is the best tool for chopping. Place the food to be chopped on a heavy chopping board or worktable. Rest the knife, blade down, on the food, and hold the point of the knife with your left hand. With your right hand, hold the handle and move the blade up and down, swinging the knife right and left in an arc, chopping as you go.

Do not use a meat grinder for chopping.

Clarify: To clear a broth of bits of food or cloudy substances by adding egg white and eggshell and beating them in over heat. The broth is then strained; the food particles cling to the egg and are separated from the liquid.

Compote: A mixture of fresh or cooked fruits.

Condiment: This term refers generally to seasonings and flavorings. It is used more specifically to mean prepared sauces or flavorful accompaniments for foods.

Consommé: A clear, highly seasoned broth made from meat.

Corned: Cured by soaking in a salt solution or brine. Example: corned beef.

Cornstarch: A starch, made from corn, used to thicken puddings and some sauces. Used for thickening in many oriental dishes.

Court Bouillon: A seasoned broth used for poaching fish.

Cream (To Cream): To rub ingredients together until smooth, as in creaming butter and sugar when making a cake.

Croutons: Small toasted cubes of bread.

Cube: To cut into small cubes.

Curdling: Occasionally sauces or puddings made with eggs will separate into a watery liquid with thick, almost solid, particles in it. This is known as curdling. The sauce is still edible, but the appearance is unappetizing.

Cut In: To cut fat into flour when making pastry.

Deviled: Combined with sharp seasonings and cooked with a crumb topping. Or crumbed, cooked and served with a sharp (devil) sauce.

Dice: To cut into very small cubes.

Disjoint: To cut a fowl into pieces at the joints. Example: to prepare a chicken for frying.

Dot: To cover with small bits of fat. Example: to dot a casserole with butter.

Dredge: To cover thoroughly with a dry substance, such as flour, cornmeal or crumbs.

Dress: To mix with sauce or flavoring just before serving. Examples: to dress cooked vegetables with melted butter; or to dress fresh greens with salad dressing.

Drippings: The juices in the pan from roasting meats.

Dust: To cover very lightly with a dry ingredient. Example: to dust the top of a sweet roll with sugar.

Fillet or Filet: A cut of meat or fish without bones. Also used as a verb: to fillet, meaning to prepare such a piece of meat or fish.

Fine Herbes: Mixed herbs, chopped together and used for seasoning. Classically, includes parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil.

Flake: To break into small pieces. Example: to flake fish with a fork.

Flambé: To pour liquor over food and light it. This is the French term for Blaze (see page 8). If flambéing meat, make sure that all fat has been removed from the pan juices. The initial flaming-up can be sudden. Also make certain there is nothing above that can catch fire, and avert your face to avoid singed eyebrows.

Fold: To combine two ingredients by turning one over into the other, using a folding motion, with a spoon. For exact instructions, see Soufflés, page 358.

Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Peppercorns ground in a pepper grinder as needed.

Fricassee: A stew of meat or fowl, which may or may not be browned and then cooked in a liquid. The liquid is thickened and served over the meat.

Fry: To cook on top of the stove in a large amount of fat.

Garnish: To decorate. Example: to decorate cold fish platters with hard-cooked eggs, parsley, etc.

Glaze: To give a glossy finish to food. This is done in different ways: fish or vegetables may be covered with a sauce or grated cheese, or both, and glazed under the broiler flame; onions or carrots may be steamed in butter and glazed with a little sugar added at the last minute.

The term also refers to covering cold meat or fish with aspic.

Grate: To rub on a grater, cutting food into minute bits.

Grill: To broil. Often used to mean cooking on a charcoal grill. The term comes from the rack (or grill) on which the food is cooked.

Grind: To put through a grinder, cutting the food into tiny particles.

Hors D'oeuvre: Appetizers. Generally served with cocktails.

Julienne: Cut into thin, long strips.

Knead: To press and stretch dough with the hands or with a dough hook. (See instructions, pages 39–40.)

Lard: The rendered and clarified fat of pork. Used as a cooking fat and sometimes as shortening in pie dough.

Lard (To Lard): To insert thin strips of fat into the flesh of meat using a special larding needle. (Often confused with Bard. See page 7.) Fats used for this process are usually salt pork or bacon.

Legumes: Dried vegetables used in soups and casseroles. Also used as vegetables. Examples: dried lima beans, dried white pea beans.

Liaison: A thickening agent used to make a sauce. (See pages 347–348.)

Macedoine: A mixture of vegetables or fruits. Usually the ingredients are cut fairly fine.

Marinade: A seasoned sauce in which meats or other foods are soaked. Example: marinade for charcoal-grilled beef.

Marinate: To soak food in liquid, such as a marinade.

Mask: To coat or cover thoroughly, usually with a sauce or aspic.

Meringue: Stiffly beaten egg white sweetened with sugar and used as a topping on pies and certain other pastries. The pie or pastry is then put in a low oven until the egg white (meringue) browns. Meringue is sometimes shaped into cups and baked at very low heat until firm. These meringue cups are then filled with ice cream or fruit.

Mince: To chop very fine.

Pan-Broil: To cook in a skillet with little or no fat added. The pan is sometimes rubbed very lightly with fat or oil.

Parboil: To cook partially in boiling salted water or other liquid. Example: Onions are sometimes parboiled before being added to a mixture that will not require enough additional cooking to cook a raw onion. Aged hams are parboiled before baking.

Pare: To peel off the outer skin.

Pasta: The generic Italian term for spaghetti, macaroni and noodles in all their various forms.

Pâté: A paste usually made of meat or seafood. Pâtés are used as a spread for toast or crackers or they are cut in thin slices and served as a first course. They resemble very fine meat loaf.

Petits Fours: Small, rich cookies or fancy cakes.

Pilaf: Rice cooked with flavorings and sometimes broth.


Excerpted from The James Beard Cookbook by James Beard. Copyright © 1987 The Estate of James Beard. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

James Beard (1903­–1985) was an American cookbook author, syndicated columnist, teacher, and television personality. Designated the “dean of American cookery” by the New York Times, Beard laid the foundations for generations of amateur and professional food enthusiasts. After publishing his first cookbook in 1940, Beard went on to host the NBC cooking show I Love to Eat. In 1955 he founded the James Beard Cooking School, where he taught for many years. Over the course of his career, Beard wrote countless cookbooks, including several seminal works, and he inspired and influenced chefs throughout the world. His legacy lives on through the James Beard Foundation, established in his honor to provide scholarships and awards recognizing excellence in the culinary arts.  

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James Beard Cookbook 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
bybookornook More than 1 year ago
If I could choose just one cookbook to have, it would be The James Beard Cookbook. I am an experienced cook, yet I find inspiration from these recipes, which are easy to follow and yummy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to find this book at a thrift store, in paperback form, and I believe, an earlier edition. Honestly, I love it. I find that the recipes are quite easy to understand, for the most part (I haven't yet read all of them, granted). I really appreciate all of the information and tips, regardless of what edition I have. My cooking level is average, and I very much enjoy whipping up all kinds of things, taking inspiration from all sorts of cooks and their publications. In Mr. Beard's book, I'm eyeing several recipes that I am excited to try, taking a careful dip into the pool (so-to-speak) -- I think I'll try the waffles and basic white bread recipes first, soon, as I have out-of-state family visiting soon. I'm not too woried, as it doesn't appear that one could ever go wrong with anything written by James Beard. But, just to be sure that I don't mess up for family, I plan to try out some recipes before they arrive. This cookbook will surely remain in my repertoire for years and years to come. I may just extra copies as gifts. It seems fabulous for beginners and experts alike!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone passionate about cooking and classic cuisine, this is an essential part of their library. I ordered this after seeing a friend's beloved cookbook which was almost 50 years old filled with notes, marked recipes and obviously used with great regularity. I treasure mine and may order one in hardcover even though it is much more expensive. It's a "must have."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I'm going to break one of the rules of the trade here. I'm going to tell you some of the secrets of improvisation. Just remember - it's always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, you're on your own." Beard, The Best Of Beard, pg. 6 Use this book, and you will be a great cook. Follow the recipes closely, and then improvise. If you only buy one book, buy this one.
ExiledNewYorker More than 1 year ago
This is James Beard's basic cookbook. It's great for beginners- I gave a copy to my nephew when he got his first apartment. Beard is funny, writes well and gives insights that are still useful for seasoned cooks.
mellonball More than 1 year ago
This is a rewrite of the original James Beard book, that my Mom gave me 35 yrs ago. I still use many of the recipes, with my favorites being the PIES. His pie crust is the best, bar none... and believe me I've tried a million of them. My husband is a pie man and my mom baked every week, either a pie or cake or both, so I have carried on the tradition I think this is essential in the kitchen, especially the beginner cook, because there are no bad recipies. James Beard remains, for me, truly a Top Chef!