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On Cooking: Techniques from Expert Chefs

On Cooking: Techniques from Expert Chefs

by Sarah R. Labensky, Alan M. Hause
"The essential text for any serious cook, this new edition of On Cooking confirms the classic status of the original. At once a culinary encyclopedia, a cooking manual, a professional handbook, a catalogue of ingredients and techniques, a kaleidoscope of glorious food photography, and a comprehensive collection of recipes, On Cooking continues to


"The essential text for any serious cook, this new edition of On Cooking confirms the classic status of the original. At once a culinary encyclopedia, a cooking manual, a professional handbook, a catalogue of ingredients and techniques, a kaleidoscope of glorious food photography, and a comprehensive collection of recipes, On Cooking continues to be the indispensable pillar at the center of anyone's culinary library."
— Andrew Schloss, CCP, President of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and author of numerous cookbooks

"On Cooking is not only a great textbook, it is one of my standard reference tools. It sits on my desk where I can always reach for it to look something up."
— Russ Parsons, Food Editor, Los Angeles Times

"For both the serious home cook and budding professional, this comprehensive work offers a well-rounded culinary education in a single user-friendly volume. Basic ingredients, techniques, procedures, terminologies and recipes are communicated by clear prose and excellent photographs. Seldom have the science and art of food been so well integrated in a manual of instruction that makes learning a joy."
— Betty Fussell, food historian and author of My Kitchen Wars and The Story of Corn

"On Cooking has everything a culinary student or young chef needs—from clear photos to basic butchery, to principles of the bake shop, even marvelous recipes and insights from famous, super-successful chefs. ....It makes you a master of the nitty-gritty problems....Best of all, On Cooking provides all of this pricelessinformation in one single book. I predict that it won't take long for your copy to get that battered, grease-stained, much-used look."
— Shirley O. Corriher, CCP, cooking teacher and author of CookWise

Editorial Reviews

New edition of a hefty text/reference providing a culinary education with coverage of topics necessary to the professional chef (and the sophisticated home chef), among them: food safety and sanitation, nutrition, tools and equipment, knife skills, and butchering techniques. Some 750 recipes--representing many types of cuisine and coming from important contemporary chefs--are arranged in food- type categories (e.g. beef, poultry, seafood, vegetables, potatoes- grains-pasta, baked goods) with substantial information about preparation techniques in each category. Illustrations are clear: informative photos and diagrams, arranged attractively on the page and sized to complement rather than dominate the text. Each section includes discussion questions. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.69(w) x 11.20(h) x 1.74(d)

Read an Excerpt



Cooking well means more than just following recipes. That's why this book is so much more than just a collection of recipes. It is a comprehensive, authoritative guide to the culinary arts, designed to help new cooks master the essentials and experienced hands expand their repertoire.

Whether it's boning chicken, grilling fish or finishing pastry, you'll find precise and complete explanations for a variety of culinary procedures. More than 1400 color photographs are included to assist you in choosing the right equipment, selecting the best ingredients and preparing beautiful plated presentations.

To complement the discussion of procedures and techniques, the book offers more than 750 proven recipes. These recipes, ranging from classic to contemporary preparations, are designed to bring out the full, natural flavors of fresh foods. A nutritional analysis is provided for each recipe, and particularly healthful recipes are marked with a pyramid symbol. Favorite recipes from 30 renowned experts, complete with photographs, are highlighted.

In addition, the book is seasoned with frequent dashes of cooking lore: sidebars on the origins of familiar traditions, the history of famous dishes, and the lives of legendary chefs. Several renowned food writers have contributed brief essays on subjects of personal interest, from a simple method of tempering chocolate to an explanation of making fresh mozzarella cheese.

Whether you are looking to expand your culinary skills, understand cooking basics or create the pièce dé résistance for a party, you'll find the answers in this exceptional volume.


Recipes are important and useful as a means of standardizing food preparation and recording information. We include recipes that are primarily designed to reinforce and explain techniques and procedures presented in the text.

All ingredients are listed in both U.S. and metric measurements. The metric equivalents are rounded off to even, easily measured amounts. So, you should consider these ingredient lists as separate recipes or formulas; do not measure some ingredients according to the metric amounts and other ingredients according to the U.S. amount or the proportions will not be accurate and the intended result will not be achieved.

Throughout this book, unless otherwise noted:

  • mirepoix refers to a preparation of 2 parts onion, 1 part celery and 1 part carrot by weight
  • pepper refers to ground black pepper, preferably freshly ground
  • butter refers to whole, unsalted butter
  • milk refers to whole or reduced fat (not nonfat) milk, and
  • TT means "to taste"

A nutritional analysis is provided with each recipe. This information is provided as a reference only. There is a 20% margin of error, due primarily to choices for specific ingredients and variations in the size of fruits and vegetables. When a recipe offers a choice of ingredients, the first-mentioned ingredient was the one used in the calculations. Ingredients listed as "to taste" (TT) and "as needed" were generally omitted from the analysis. In addition, olive oil and 3% whole milk were used throughout for "vegetable oil" and "milk," respectively. When given a choice of serving or weight, the first mentioned was used.

Recipes marked with the pyramid symbol are particularly low in calories, fat, saturated fat and/or sodium; some may also be a good source of vitamins, protein, fiber or calcium. These dishes are not necessarily dietetic, however. Rather, they should be consumed as part of a well-balanced diet.

Detailed procedures for standard techniques are presented in the text and generally are not repeated in each recipe (for example, "deglaze the pan" or "monter au beurre"). No matter how detailed the written recipe, however, we must assume that you have certain knowledge, skills and judgment.

Variations appear at the end of selected recipes. These give you the opportunity to see how one set of techniques or procedures can be used to prepare different dishes with only minor modifications.

Although some skills and an understanding of theory can be acquired through reading and study, no book can substitute for repeated, hands-on preparation and observation.


This book would not have been possible without the assistance and support of many people. We are particularly indebted to Steve Labenksy for his countless hours with a sharp pencil, his comments and criticism and his constant support. Special thanks to our photographer, Richard Embery, for his talent, professionalism and commitment to quality and to Sharon Salomon, MS, RD, for preparation of the Nutrition chapter. The nutritional analysis for this edition was prepared by William Miller, whose thoroughness is appreciated. Thanks also to Kate Nelson, Dominic O'Neil, Leland Atkinson, Erich Wagner, James DuVal and Richard Martinez, and to Stacey Winters Quattrone and William E. Ingram for their artistry. We are also grateful to the many chefs, restaurateurs, writers and culinary professionals who provided recipes and essays for this book.

Finally, Alan is especially grateful to his wife Chantal Hause for her support, helpfulness, love and patience.

The authors wish to thank the following companies for their generous donations of equipment and supplies: J.A. Henckels Zwillingswerk, Inc., All-Clad Metalcrafters, Inc. and Parrish's Cake Decorating Supplies, Inc. We also wish to thank Shamrock Foods Company, East Coast Seafood of Phoenix Inc., KitchenAid Home Appliances, Taylor Environmental Instruments, Hobart Corporation, Jeff and Sue Reising of Arizonia Ostrich Fillet, Williams-Sonoma, architect Michael Apostolos, and Randy Dougherty of ISF International.

Finally, we wish to thank everyone involved in this project at Prentice Hall, including Neil Marquardt, Acquisitions Editor; Barbara Cappuccio, Production Editor; Judith Casillo, Development Editor; Marianne Frasco, Creative Director; Mary Carnis, Managing Editor; Ed O'Dougherty, Production Coordinator; Laura Ierardi, Designer; Ruta K. Fiorino, Director of Advertising, and Frank Mortimer, Jr., Marketing Manger. We also remain indebted to Robin Baliszewski, Acquisitions Editor of the first edition, for her support and friendship.

The authors would also like to acknowledge the following reviewers for their comments and assistance.

First Edition: Richard W. Alford, University of Akron; Earl Arrowood, Bucks County Community College; Mike Artlip, Culinary School of Kendall College; Leland Atkinson; James Belch, Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts; Lane Berrent, Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts; Thom Boehm, Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts; James Bressi, New England Culinary Institute; John D. Britto, San Joaquin Delta College; Walter Bronowitz CEE, Edmonds Community College; Mark Clink, Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts; George Conte, New York Restaurant School; Noel Cullen, CMC, Boston University; Jeanne Curtis, Newbury College; William Day, Johnson & Wales University; Jim Douglas CEC: CCE, Everett Community College; Rolf Epprecht, Swiss Hospitality Institute; John Fitzpatrick; Maureen Garfolo, Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts; George Geary; Jeff Graves, University of Houston/Conrad N. Hilton Hotel School; Bill Greathouse, Ivy Technical College; Kimberly Harris; Brenda Harsh, Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts; Elizabeth S. Leite, Scottsdale Culinary Institute; Robert Lombardi, Spokane Community College; Deborah Lynch, Middlesex County College; Sylvia Marple M.S., R.D., University of New Hampshire; Don McNicol, Madison Area Technical College; James Muth, Grand Rapids Community College; John Noe, Joliet Junior College; Philip H. Nudle CEC, Middlesex County College; Michael Piccinino, Shasta College; Marcia Rango; Ernst Reck; Christine Stamm, Johnson & Wales University; Clifford Steiner, New York Restaurant School; Cicely Stetson; Peter G. Tobin, Spokane Community College; and Susan Ward, Academy of Culinary Arts/Atlantic Community College.

Second Edition: George Anbinder, Culinary Arts Department, Newbury College; Neil Becker, New York Restaurant School; Deane Cobber, Columbus State Community College; Linda Cullen, Greater New Bedford Vocational and Technical High School; Albert D'Addario, Newbury College; Janet De Lucia, Cuyahoga Community College; Fred T. Faria, The Hospitality College, Johnson & Wales University; Deborah Foster, Ball State University; Martin Goldman, Mercer County Community College; Joe Harrold, Florida Community College at Jacksonville; Connie Holt, Widener University; William Jarvie, The Hospitality College, Johnson & Wales University; David Kamen, New York Restaurant School; Lisa R. Kennon, Hotel & Restaurant Management, University of North Texas; George Krieger, Baltimore International Culinary College; Lew Lichtman, New York Restaurant School; Deborah K. Lynch, Middlesex County College; John Martin, ATI Career Institute; Fedele Panzarino, New York City Technical College; David F. Schneider, Macomb Community College; Greg Tompkins, California Culinary Academy; Michael Varnava, New York Restaurant School; Michael Vignapiano, New York Restaurant School.

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