Starting Out: The Essential Guide to Cooking on Your Own by Julie Van Rosendaal

Call me a procrastinator, say I have the Peter Pan syndrome, but even though I am in my thirties I still don’t know all of the basics of cooking.  So I found this book that is designed for young adults just starting out on their own to be one of the most helpful cookbooks I’ve ever used.  Starting Out Starting_out_essential_guide is like a GenX-Y (Z?) version of the Joy of Cooking in the way it describes the type of food before it gives you recipes that include it.  There are chapters on what tools and gadgets to buy for your kitchen, how to stock your pantry, how to read labels, what to look for when buying produce, and different ways to cook your food such as grilling, baking, or boiling.  The recipes are my favorite part of this book because they are easy and what I call “normal” – meaning not some bizarre gourd stuffed with a fish you’ve never heard of and garnished with some grass from your backyard.  That is my absurd example of the gourmet recipes that I sometimes see in other cookbooks when all I want is something normal to eat.  Not only are main dishes and sides included but so are desserts and breads introduced by a “Baking Basics” chapter.  My favorite chapter (that I didn’t expect to be in a cookbook) is “How to do Your Laundry.”  It made me giggle when I first saw it in a cookbook, but there are some really great tips in the chapter!  All in all, this is a cookbook that I would love to purchase for the bookshelf in my kitchen and I don’t buy many books since I can check them out from the library so easily.  Highly Recommended.

(Heidi Schachtschneider, Information Services)

Editor’s note – if you like this one, try What to Cook When You Think There’s Nothing in the House to Eat by Arthur Schwartz.

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