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The Perfect Recipe: The Ultimate, Hands-Down Best Way to Cook Our Favorite Foods
     

The Perfect Recipe: The Ultimate, Hands-Down Best Way to Cook Our Favorite Foods

by Pam Anderson Executive Editor, Judith D. Love (Illustrator)
 

Which comes first when mashing potatoes-the butter or the milk? What grade and grind of meat make the best hamburgers? How do you roast a turkey so the breast meat is as moist and juicy as the legs? For the tenderest muffins, should you use buttermilk, yogurt or milk? At what temperature should you cook prime rib for the most succulent results? Is it possible to

Overview


Which comes first when mashing potatoes-the butter or the milk? What grade and grind of meat make the best hamburgers? How do you roast a turkey so the breast meat is as moist and juicy as the legs? For the tenderest muffins, should you use buttermilk, yogurt or milk? At what temperature should you cook prime rib for the most succulent results? Is it possible to create a fudgy, cakey, chewy brownie all in one? Most of us don't have time to figure out the answers to questions like these. We need somebody to do the work for us and get our favorite recipes just right. In this book, Pam Anderson, executive editor of the highly successful magazine Cook's Illustrated, does just that. Painstakingly conducting test after test, Anderson arrives at not only the best recipe but frequently the most convenient and sensible one: -- A simple formula for a stir-fry that can be varied with different combinations of meat, vegetables and sauces. -- French bread so easy it can be baked every day. -- Chicken pot pie for weeknights, made with chicken breast rather than whole chicken. -- Macaroni and cheese as effortless as boxed, but three times as satisfying. -- Pizza dough that rises in just one hour or throughout the day. -- A cobbler that can be prepared with dozens of different fruits, making it 40 desserts in one. More than 150 recipes in all, with dozens of step-by-step illustrations of techniques, comparisons of products and useful tips.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"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

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anderson, executive editor of Cook's Illustrated, follows in the footsteps of Christopher Kimball, CI's editor/publisher and author of The Cook's Bible, and Shirley O. Corriher, author of 1997 James Beard Award-winning CookWise. All detail their efforts through trial and error to find the best way to prepare specific recipes and rightfully claim considerable authority. Anderson's quest began as a personal mission to find the best way to cook "dishes I prepared frequently." Starting with 34 recipes for favorite American foods, from chicken soup and meat loaf to potato salad and strawberry shortcake, she recounts her attempts at perfection and then offers her tested variations of some 150 recipes. She is generous in paying credit to cooks from whom she learnede.g., Corriher, Edna Lewis, Betty Fusselland imparts valuable tips along with her own conclusions. Low-fat yogurt used as a moistener adds a nice tang to Meat Loaf. Brining brings out the best in Oven-Roasted Turkey with Giblet Pan Sauce. To achieve lush, large Muffins that rise right and overhang their cups, triple the recipe. For a non-weeping Lemon Meringue Pie, reheat the filling before piling on the beaten egg whites. While covering territory mapped by others, Anderson offers distinctive guidelines on her route to reliable, speedy kitchen success. Line drawings by Judy Love. BOMC Good Cook selection; author tour. (July)
Library Journal
Anderson is executive editor of Cook's Illustrated, whose editor, Christopher Kimball, presented his take on "the best of American home cooking" in The Cook's Bible (LJ 10/15/96). Here she offers her absolute favorite recipes for about three dozen standards, from Macaroni and Cheese and Memorable Meat Loaf to Strawberry Shortcake. Her approach is that of the magazine, testing and retesting, trying a variety of kitchen experiments before settling on a foolproof satisfying recipe. Most of the final recipes are accompanied by several variations; there are boxes on ingredients and culinary discoveries along the way, and the detailed testing notes describe the process involved. For fans of the magazine and others seeking a reliable collection of recipes for all-American favorites.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395894033
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/04/1998
Edition description:
None
Pages:
372
Product dimensions:
7.28(w) x 10.39(h) x 0.98(d)

Meet the Author

PAM ANDERSON is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great and the best-selling Perfect Recipes for Having People Over and The Perfect Recipe, winner of an IACP Award. The monthly food columnist for USA Weekend, she is a contributing editor to Fine Cooking and Runner’s World. She is the former executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated and teaches cooking classes across the country and appears frequently on TV and radio.

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