"Pam Anderson is not only a wonderful cook, but a genial kitchen companion. She delivers more than 150 surefire recipes that taste great every time you make them-which will be often. Owning The Perfect Recipe is the next best thing to having your own private cooking teacher." -- John Willoughby, coauthor of License to Grill and Thrill of the Grill
"The Perfect Recipe is Pam Anderson at her best: curious about the whys and hows of cooking and passionate about comparing techniques and ingredients. This is no-nonsense American cooking presented with warmth, humor and Pam's generous at-your-elbow, down-home style." -- Christopher Kimball, editor and publisher of Cook's Illustrated and author of The Cook's Bible
"Pam Anderson's new book has quite a title and makes quite a claim. In short, it promises perfection. She lives up to every word. The really fun part of this book, however, is that Anderson tells you exactly how and why she came to the conclusions that she did.
Take simple macaroni and cheese, for instance. Anderson's three pages of explanation before her recipe for "The Best Macaroni and Cheese," relate her search for the best recipe for this classic. She found one in John Thorne's "Simple Cooking," and then put it through its paces by taste-testing it in comparison to both a béchamel-based and a custard-based version. Once Anderson determined it was indeed the best-tasting recipe, she studied it: "I wondered if the dish really required evaporated milk. Was this an idiosyncrasy of the late thirties when the recipe was first published? Wouldn't regular milk or half-and-half work equally well?" She determined that indeed, the versions made with evaporated milk were the smoothest. Then, she went on to experiment with different varieties of cheese. Anderson is executive editor of the very successful "Cook's Illustrated" magazine and this book follows a similar format: clean, simple and text-based. The illustrations -- by Judy Love -- are not slick, four-color glossy variety, but simple and useful in showing exactly which way to pinch the dough when making French bread. The book includes all the old standby recipes -- mashed potatoes, cobblers and apple pie -- plus the basics such as soup and stocks. There are also entertaining basics: cooking that holiday turkey just right. It's not as easy as the "turkey folks" would like you to believe. Yes, the brining of the bird really does work. Her method of cooking prime rib turns out perfectly (as promised) every time. Every recipe has been tested and retested hundreds of times with every possible variable tried until she came up with her idea of the perfect recipe. While that's the strength of this book, it also makes for my only quibble. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder; sometimes a recipe that meets Anderson's standard of perfection produces something unfamiliar. For instance, I think Anderson's recipe for muffins are one of the best I've ever had. But, as pointed out by one of the ucook.com staff members, they are sweet and cake-like in texture. While a very good product, they probably do not actually fit the criteria of the "traditional muffin," or at least that taster's criteria for a muffin. That aside, I think it is a great book, and I am not alone.
The book won the Julia Child Cookbook Award in 1999. This is the kind of book that makes a "perfect gift" whether the person on your list is just learning to cook or is just like Anderson herself, an accomplished cook looking to make every recipe perfect." -- Annie Russell ucook.com