Madeleine Kamman has been hailed as a great teacher since she began hosting cooking shows on PBS years ago, but what her TV fans may not realize is that she teaches equally well, and even more thoroughly, through her books. Her bestselling The New making of a Cook was a comprehensive, authoritative source for the whys and hows of classic cooking when it was published 25 years ago; her completely revised and updated edition, The New Making of a Cook, manages somehow to be even more valuable.
There are more than 600 recipes in The New Making of a Cook some utterly traditional, some up-to-the-minute. Health is a consideration throughout, but Kamman is a firm believer that fat should be limited through a varied diet with everything in moderation, not by reducing fat grams in recipes whose essential quality is lost without them. So there are plenty of low-fat recipes in the book, and plenty of high-fat classics they are coded with the letters FFR for full-fat recipe, FCR for fat-controlled recipe, LFR for low-fat, and NFR for no-fat. And though the recipes are wonderful, they're just part of what makes the book so indispensable. Kamman is a master of techniques, and whether you need to know the best way to julienne vegetables, how (and when) to make a beurre manié, or a foolproof, step-by-step method for a perfect omelette, she will guide you with unerring accuracy. Whole sections are dedicated to topics such as kitchen equipment, food safety, and pantry ingredients; wine has its own very informative chapter, and so do such basics as sauces.Kammanpacks these chapters with history and lore as well as with practical information. The section on baking is so good that it may be the only thing you'll ever need to read to understand the essential principles behind yeast doughs, pastries, and cakes. The chemistry of food informs every part of the book, and in the course of just trying a recipe here and there, it's likely you'll pick up information you'll apply to many other things you cook. A detailed glossary is also extremely useful. This is a great book for a kitchen beginner, but it may be an even better one for the seasoned home cook or the professional chef. It will fill in gaps in your knowledge you didn't even know were there even as it inspires you toward new culinary achievements.