Run an Efficient, Healthy and Green Kitchen
Before you pick up your kitchen knife, grab this book. It’s a must-own for any home cook, whether seasoned or amateur. At first glance, you might skip over this book on the shelf because as far as appearances go, it’s ugly and lacks a contemporary feel. Sadly, author and Ph.D. George Erdosh does not apply his advice about food to his own book, “Never forget that the first impression of your food is always visual,” but don’t let that scare you away-it’s actually a highly researched, well-written text that will advance your culinary prowess. This book is more about how to cook than about recipes, although those are also included. Gastronomic knowledge guides the text’s innovative layout; each chapter begins with several pages of food science and technique followed by a handful of select recipes-reminiscent of Food Network’s Elton Brown. For example, the chapter on salads starts by explaining the science of blending three parts oil with one part vinegar to make a proper dressing. After reading about technique in each food category (wine, meat, cheese, vegetables, etc.), the book provides recipes to help you practice. This expert and easy-to-read cookbook will sustain anyone with an appetite to become a better cook.
Reviewed by Amber K. Stott
Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen—Secrets for Making Great Foods
by George Erdosh
ISBN 978-1-60693-198-1. Suggested retail price $26.50. Hard cover, 239 p. Eloquent Books, NY
Kitchen and cooking are love/hate subjects. Those who love the process look at and collect anything and everything that has to do with cooking and food. This book, Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen, was written for the kitchen and food gurus, yet it is also an ideal book for those whose kitchen’s purpose is to make coffee and heat frozen meals in the microwave, but who want a better daily fare.
The book includes a wealth of information useful in everyday cooking for beginners and serious cooks: references, charts, sidebars and tables that can help with cooking, baking and shopping--tools that very few cookbooks include. Undoubtedly, such information makes anyone a more efficient, quicker and a better cook.
Using my background (Ph.D. and working career in science), I peppered the text with tidbits of physics and chemistry related to cooking to give the cook an understanding of what is happening inside the pot while it is over the fire.
The 42 recipes in the book are truly tried and true; most of them came from my catering kitchen. I have used them repeatedly, improving and perfecting them over the years until they are foolproof. All recipe ingredients can be found in any well-stocked market and, with a few exceptions, require no special culinary expertise to prepare. Although they came from a catering collection, the recipes are down-scaled to family size for everyday use.
This book is useful in any cook’s kitchen library.
The author is a culinary scientist, food writer and certified cooking teacher with a strong science and research background (Ph.D., McGill University, Montreal).
He is the author of eight published food-related books: a six-book series for young readers Cooking throughout American History and The African-American Kitchen (all seven by The Rosen Publishing Group) and Start and Run a Catering Business (Self-Counsel Press), numerous articles, including in magazines such as Bride’s, Odyssey, Better Nutrition, Home Cooking, The Fisherman and Bowhunter; and newspaper food sections, including Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle.
The author emphasizes basic cooking knowledge by explaining the hows and whys of food and cooking through kitchen-level physics and chemistry that enables readers to be better and more efficient cooks.
A Reader’s Review
This is an excellent choice for all levels of cooks. Each chapter gives a few pages of information about cooking science and "how to do it." The recipes are interesting and come from various cuisines. Dr. Erdosh is very knowledgeable and writes in a pleasant folksy way, informative but not pedantic.
Available online and in bookstores.
Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/9781606931981
Publisher: Eloquent Books: http://www.eloquentbooks.com/TriedAndTrueRecipes.html
Excerpt from Chapter: Kitchen Tools to Keep—Kitchen Tools to Trash
Copyrighted: DO NOT REPRODUCE
Absolutely Essential Kitchen Tools
There are only two essential kitchen tools, a set of excellent knives and a large, sturdy cutting board. Knives vary tremendously in quality and price. It is best to ask around and preferably heft a knife in your hand before deciding
on this critical tool. Low-priced knives waste money in the long run. Find something in the medium- to high-priced range, and you will pass them down to your heirs for use in the next generation.
If you already own a set of knives that you don’t like, replace them. Four knives are essential in every kitchen: a large eight- or nine-inch (20 or 23-cm) chef’s knife (measured from shaft to tip of blade) with a curving cutting edge that you can rock tip to shaft on a cutting board, a small paring knife, a thin-bladed carving knife (or electric knife) and a large serrated bread knife. Cutting boards come in different sizes, but equip yourself with the largest, sturdiest you can find. A second, smaller cutting board for little jobs like slicing cheese or cutting up an apple is useful to have around as well.
Cutting boards may be thick hardwood or heavy man-made polyethylene– they are both equally good and safe.
Nice-to-Have Cooking Tools
Spice grinder or mortar and pestle
Pastry brush, vegetable brush
Lemon reamer (taps juice without cutting up the lemon)
Pastry cutter (cuts fat into dry flour mix)
Strainers (one coarse, one fine)
Ski or swimming goggles for chopping onion
Plastic bowl scraper (quickly cleans bowls)
Ice cream scoop
Two to four portion scoops (like ice cream scoops), 0.5 to 3 oz (15 to 90 ml)
Spatter shields (keeps frying food from spattering)
Pizza cutter wheel, bakers’ peel withlong handle
Meat mallet (flattens meat slices, breaks down tough tissues, tenderizes meat)
Squeeze plastic bottles to dispense dessert sauces, salad dressings
Bamboo or stainless steel skewers for kebobs and other barbecue jobs
Cheese cloth, parchment paper
Dripless oil dispensers
Egg piercer (pierces small hole in egg shell to prevent cracking when boiling egg)
Stock decanter to separate fat
Needle meat tenderizer
Nice-to-Have Baking Tools
Baguette trough (to bake round baguettes)
Metal spatulas (large and small) for spreading icing or spreads)
Icing sugar shaker (salt shaker filled with icing sugar to dust pastries)
Pastry tube (to pipe icing, deviled eggs, decorations)
Pie weights (to prebake pie dough)
Bread dough slasher (sharp blade with handle to cut deep slash in bread dough before baking)