This is a series by various authors with complete (and I mean complete) step-by-step and how-to colour photos to describe every conceivable step in every conceivable process. Each with 70 to 97 recipes. These books are extremely clear in presentation, right down to photos of egg yolks (with every other ingredient) so you don't accidentally reach for, say, Palmolive dishwashing soup when you should be making Bearnaise sauce. Some might think the series is too dumbed-down but, at only $25 a copy, I think these books are perfect for entry-level cooks who want to move beyond Kraft Dinner to discover that homemade lasagna does not always have to be made with dried gypsum board. I'd be tempted to give the whole set as a gift to the right person.
- Bonnie Benwick
Visually appealing and easy to follow step by step; one of a paperback series that includes accessible volumes on pasta, chocolate, steaming, vegetables and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Battle Creek Enquirer
- James Sanford
This series includes books on Pasta, Vegetable, Chocolate, Sauce, Steaming, Middle Eastern, and Indian Basics. Each book includes 60-100 recipes, each with not just an image of the finished product, but photos of every step. Perfect for the family chef, foodie, or cookbook collector.
Owing to the popularity of food-focused TV programming, the effective arrangement of the "My Cooking Class" series (which also includes Steaming, Chocolate, Middle Eastern, and Pasta Basics) will have you wondering why it has taken cookbooks so long to get visual. Beyond a one-page preface, an ingredient index, and concisely measured instructions, you won't find much text here, but this does not mean the books lack detail. Each recipe is pictured step-by-step with the crisply reductive clarity of a minimalist still life. Vassallo (coauthor, The Diabetes Everyday Cookbook) identifies all sorts of roots, stalks, leaves, pods, and seeds and serves up a fusion of ethnic recipes, from Onion Flan and Panzanella to Tzatziki and Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Black (Sugar & Spice) moves beyond the classic sauces to illustrate prep techniques for salad dressings, condiments, foams, and sweet dessert sauces such as coulis and creams, then puts them to purpose with recipes like Roast Beef with Apple Horseradish Sauce, Whole-Wheat Spaghetti Arrabiata, and Crepes with Caramel and Whipped Cream. VERDICT This series of stripped-down pictorials worth a thousand words is the missing link between elementally vague text-based cookbooks and video instruction you can't slow down enough or take into the kitchen. Elegant design you can't help but devour. Highly recommended for all experience levels.—Ben Malczewski, Ypsilanti Dist. Lib., MI