Monday Book Review: Big Basic Cookbook by Kimberly Beeman
Big Basic Cookbook by Kimberly Beeman, available on Amazon.com.
From the inside cover flap:
Big Basic Cookbook is the standard everyday cookbook no kitchen should be without. The recipes and the wealth of information make this cookbook indispensable for both beginning cooks and the more experienced.
Millions of Americans learned to cook in the mid-20th century using The Lily Wallace New American Cookbook. This book was so revered and respected that mothers would give it to their daughters as a wedding present.
Now this classic cookbook has been completely revised, updated and edited with commentary by Kimberly Beeman. Every one of the 600-plus recipes have been modernized for the 21st century cook while retaining the easy-to-use straightforward style of the original.
This comprehensive cookbook includes everything form appetizers to desserts with nothing missing in-between. Every recipe that uses elements from another recipe is duly cross-referenced for clarity and ease.
Filled with classic recipes and valuable kitchen tips, Big Basic Cookbook is a book you’ll refer to every day.
I bought this book on a 50% off clearance fire sale when Borders was going out of business a few years ago. The cover has warm, autumn tones, colorful, cartoon-blockish style foods, pots and dishes splashed across the front. It has over 1000 recipes and was a sure bargain.
The format is typical for cookbooks, table of contents you would expect, forward and chapter introductions. The recipes are very basic and written in an easy to understand manner and reads on the third grade level, so anyone can understand and follow. It reminds me of a previous cookbook I reviewed, the family circle magazine cookbook. They are written in similar styles, but Big Basic Cookbook isn’t patronizing like the family circle cookbook.
The ingredients are handy, no special shopping trips or hard-to-find ingredients and no special knowledge of cooking is required. If you can stir with a wooden spoon and know how to operate a basic stove, you can use this cookbook. That isn’t to say the recipes are childlike–no, there is a wide range of styles and tastes so most everyone will have something they enjoy. Some ingredients may be more expensive in a few recipes and some areas of the country/world may not have access to the range of fruits and vegetables, but you can substitute something similar in many of the recipes.
I have read the cookbook cover to cover and have enjoyed the down-home, folksy atmosphere of the writing. The recipes themselves remind me of another era, perhaps a generation or two ago, when delis and specialty stores were not around as familiarly as they are today. However, this cookbook is more for those who enjoy the slow-food movement, not for those looking for twenty minute meals that feed 14 people.
This would be a great reference for casual cooks to get ideas and for those of us that enjoy crafting and creating carefully made meals, foodies that enjoy a range of homemade food and for homemakers looking to expand their palate.