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Just Getting Started?

Shirley O. Corriher

Some questions annoy me as a chef, and believe it or not, they're usually questions about me. One in particular carries more weight than it should - what do I like to cook. Granted, it's impossible to avoid the question. Those asking are at best, genuinely interested, or at worst, simply being polite. The simple answer would be "everything." Also, "nothing." But I love it when I'm asked what cookbooks I would recommend to someone just getting started in the kitchen, because my answer hasn't changed once since their publication: Cookwise and Bakewise, both by great cook, biochemist and endearing personality, Shirley O. Corriher.

Citrus Fruits

Normally I look at cookbooks for the pretty pictures. I keep a stack on the basement bathrooms floor for just that reason. Sometimes I buy really specialized books with the latest techniques; other times I use them as windows into different cultures. And of course, I'm a big fan of fancy restaurant books. But if I were you, and I could own just two cookbooks - say your bookshelf had room for two and only two, since you're unwilling to part with your Twilight series and Fifty Shades of Grey, then these two cookbooks are for you. Both take a friendly and unpretentious, scientific dive into the kitchen. They explain what works and what doesn't, and precisely why. This isn't cooking for science nerds; this is science for food lovers. Almost always I create recipes to be followed by the likes of you, but every recipe I've made from these pages is simply perfect. Try the biscuits, the cornbread, the blueberry muffins, the roast chicken, try it all! You are most welcome. 

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