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Cookbook recommendation: The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt

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    Cookbook recommendation: The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt

    I hope this hasn't already been posted, but it deserves as much praise as possible, so I am ok either way. This cookbook http://www.amazon.com/Food-Lab-Cooki...s=The+Food+Lab (Amazing Ribs Amazon link) is essential. It's 998 pages in full color with pictures, and an absolute bargain at the current price of $27.47 for the hardcover. The Kindle price is $19.99, and well worth it if you love your Kindle, but if you hold a physical copy in your hands you won't want to live without it. If there is any gripe, it would be that the pages feel slightly flimsy, but it's a completely understandable tradeoff to get so much content on the page. Some Amazon reviewers have noted that a lot of this content is available for free on seriouseats.com, but I love the way the book is laid out and will continue to frequent his web site even if I didn't.

    If you don't know Kenji, or seriouseats, their approach is similar to that of America's Test Kitchen. It's a scientific analysis more than a recipe book, and it's what draws me to this site as well. The entire goal is to educate you on all the variables that can ruin a cook, and then eliminating those variables to turn out repeatably good results. Whether it is somewhat simple (yet unbelievably helpful) advice on choosing meats, how to tell if eggs are fresh, etc., or it veers into hard science, the book, like this website, never lets you get lost or makes you feel stupid.

    My friends all tell me I am a great cook. While I am my biggest critic, I know my skill has improved leaps and bounds in the past few years. I can't remember which website I discovered first, or which one I use more, but I owe almost all of my success to this site and seriouseats and love them both for many of the exact same reasons. Try his website first, and if it's for you, then you will treasure this book. I don't know if I've ever read a cookbook cover to cover, but I am more than half way through and don't see me stopping

    #2
    True Dat! Love Kenji and Seriouseats.com.

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      #3
      Just tossed it in the cart, which means wifey should be getting it soon!

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        #4
        Kenji is a kitchen Ninja. BTW some of the ATK recipes and techniques were developed by Kenji.

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          #5
          Why does this site keep costing me money? I just spent a few hours on the Serious Eats web site, and I have ordered the book (through the AR link, of course...). I love America's Test Kitchen, and it appears that Kenji has the same focus, since he was an editor for Cook's Illustrated. I am not big into cookbooks any more (I divested myself of a few hundred a couple of years ago) since much is available online now, but I still have my favorite core cookbooks. This one, I think, will join them.

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            #6
            I don't do cook books because most recipes are repetitive.
            One or 2 great books that explains different techniques is probably enough.
            After that drop the book, pour a glass of bourbon and wing it.
            Cooking is easy, recipes make cooking harder than it is.

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              #7
              Even though there are tons of recipes, it's the rest of it that I enjoy most. Whether it's debunking concepts you held as gospel, or simple knife techniques that I never knew, you are not reading someone's opinion, but actual scientifically-proven facts. When you first came to this website, you were greeted with: If you boil ribs the terrorists win

              Every single visitor who read beyond that point became a better cook. Whether or not you knew not to boil ribs (I kind of did), Meathead told you exactly why not to, and why the methods explained after would produce repeatably better results. This book is full of that same type of explanation, without ever sounding like a physics class (although it really is).

              I have prepared just about every recipe on this website. Some I would say very well, others not so much. But by the end of the summer, I have invariably eaten so much smoked and grilled pork, beef, and chicken that the thought of a pulled pork sandwich right now makes my skin greasy. I am that saturated with BBQ. I can, and do, cook indoors quite often. But I tend to get complacent in my meal rotations and wind up eating a lot of the same mains and sides, all cooked the same way every time. I am trying to open my mind to new food, and new techniques, and between this book and my new membership to Blue Apron, I will be venturing pretty far from my "safe" zone. I will post in a separate thread about Blue Apron and give my impressions once I get rolling with it. Kind of scared of it and excited all at once.

              I've also been burned out on cookbooks, but I will gladly pay Kenji a one time fee of $28 retroactively for all the free content I've received from him over the years. Exactly like I would have paid for a Pitmaster Club membership regardless of the included content. I feel like I've been stealing from both websites for years with all the compliments and romancing these techniques have provided me.

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              • Rlasky
                Rlasky commented
                Editing a comment
                If all the membership offered was pictures of Meathead and all the Mods lighting cigars with lit $100 bills I still feel like I came out ahead.

              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                I don't smoke but I burn hundreds in my chimney starter.

              • Rlasky
                Rlasky commented
                Editing a comment
                Hundreds burn cleanest. Way better than paraffin

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