A Good Cookbook Gives Good Kitchen Equipment Advice...Right??

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A Good Cookbook Gives Good Kitchen Equipment Advice...Right??

1Delameyo
Editado: Nov 2, 2022, 2:52 pm

Good day folks,

I'm a newbie to this site, but I am finding my groove, and hopefully my tribe(s). One thing that I am happy to chat about is a pet peeve of mine- recipes that omit kitchen equipment needed! I have collected several cookbooks and have way too many cookbook magazines (Martha Stewart Living December 1995 is a treasured copy), and the older I get, the more I realize that my anxious and enthusiastic kitchen dabbler heart drops when I am reading a recipe and see no mention of special or vital equipment related to the making of the dish!. Anyone else with me on that? I LOVE Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen precisely for these reasons. Now, mind you, I still enjoy poring over Julia Child's tome like our dearly departed Julie Powell of Julie and Julia fame, but I feel less crazy when I get these extra points from the author. When they really speak to the reader (and possibly maker), I feel it makes for a more genuine read and experience. What say you all?
Julie & Julia
Mastering The Art of French Cooking
Martha Stewart's Cooking School
Martha Stewart Living
Cook's Illustrated
America's Test Kitchen
https://www.npr.org/2022/11/02/1133549340/julie-powell-food-writer-julia-child-d...

2Delameyo
Editado: Nov 2, 2022, 2:51 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

3MrsLee
Nov 2, 2022, 6:13 pm

I am an older cook. I have learned to read a recipe carefully before attempting it. This was not always so. Now when I read a recipe I'm looking for simple no fuss, so a recipe that has a lot of ingredients or procedures is not going to grab me in the first place.

As for listing the tools, since I tend to streamline most recipes, I usually don't use/ need everything they recommend anyway. Another goal of mine? Less things to wash! I often will rearrange steps in a recipe to save pans or utensils from getting dirty.

4MarthaJeanne
Nov 3, 2022, 2:41 am

There are usually various ways to achieve a result. I don't have a blender or a food processor, but I can make most recipes that call ror them. A really good cookbook will tell you how to adjust for not having a specific tool, not insist that you need it.

5mnleona
Nov 17, 2022, 10:26 am

I have the basic mixer and hand tools so they work for me. I guess I have really thought about it.

6Tess_W
Nov 19, 2022, 12:45 pm

Too many gadgets aren't really needed! I have a stand mixer and a food processor and lots o knives and I haven't come across anything I couldn't make.

7terriks
Editado: Nov 26, 2022, 11:05 pm

>1 Delameyo: I agree that it's nice to at least have pointers to any specific kitchen equipment that might make an unfamiliar recipe or process go smoother. But as others have commented, if you end up with a load of extra bulky dirty dishes that aren't particularly crucial to success, it can take some of the joy out of cooking.

I prefer to read through a recipe carefully, while appreciating tips for equipment, but having workarounds available.

Edited to add: America's Test Kitchen has helped me many times!

8MrsLee
Nov 27, 2022, 12:16 pm

I'm reading a cookbook by Paula Wolfert, The Cooking of the Middle Eastern Mediterranean, and find myself annoyed by the fact that she assumes every cook has a food processor and a gas range.

9southernbooklady
Nov 27, 2022, 1:59 pm

>8 MrsLee: one of my favorite food writers, John Thorne has an entire essay in his book The Outlaw Cook called "My Paula Wolfert Problem" where he charges her of creating a kind of fantasy of cooking -- the kind of fantasy that assumes you have the equipment and time for the most complicated dishes and access to the most specialized ingredients -- that can't be really reproduced by the average cook in their average kitchen with an average amount of time set aside to make dinner.

He has a review of Wolfert's World of Food in the Washington Post that goes:

"I am so serious about cooking," goes this subtext, "that famous chefs become my friends, invite me into their kitchen, and share their secrets with me." The names of such appear with almost suspect frequency, as if the author herself doubted her readers would go after the "BIG TASTE" (her phrase, her caps) the book ostensibly promotes were it not for this associative luster. Certainly they would be less willing to pay the price she exacts to do so.

For, although there are simple dishes in this book, the emphasis throughout, as the author herself explains, are on long, slow cooking, sophisticated kitchen techniques and a free hand with such hard-to-find (or simply expensive) ingredients as chestnut honey, hazelnut oil, amphissa olives, pancetta, fresh foie gras . . . .


https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/entertainment/books/1988/12/11/the-baste-...

10reconditereader
Nov 27, 2022, 4:37 pm

>8 MrsLee: I have a food processor because I am far too lazy to finely chop everything myself.

11MrsLee
Nov 27, 2022, 8:23 pm

>9 southernbooklady: YES! YES! YES! Glad I'm not the only one. I am enjoying reading these recipes for the cultural flavor, but I know most of them I will not attempt in my kitchen, or if I do, I won't do it the way she says (paper thin dough thrown over an upside down wok to cook). She does have a list of resources at the back of the book for hard to find spices and pastes.

>10 reconditereader: I had one, but my counters space is precious and small so I got rid of it in favor of a Vitamix and I just conceded this year to a Kitchenaid mixer because bread dough and mixing was too hard on my wrists. I have a mini food processor, but it's too small for most normal recipes. I make do for the most part between those and my chef knife. Chopping is therapeutic for me. :)

12haydninvienna
Mar 3, 7:26 am

> Minor comment on the Thorne quotation: availabilty is relative, geographically speaking. He might find pancetta hard to get, but I have some in the fridge right now, bought in the local supermarket. On the other hand, I tried to buy cornmeal in the same supermarket a week ago and no go.

I do agree though about that subtext.

13deandreruf3
Mar 3, 7:32 am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

14haydninvienna
Mar 3, 7:40 am

Lasted less than 10 minutes! Good work all.

15haydninvienna
Mar 3, 8:01 am

Serendipity. This morning I bought a copy of Kitchen by Nigella Lawson from the charity shop (best place to buy TV-chef cookbooks). She has a chapter on kitchen equipment, and the second half of the chapter is headed “My Kitchen Gadget Hall of Shame”. One comment from this: “ Now, I do know what lies behind the purchase of this:* namely, the all-too-familiar combination of optimism and self-delusion that always turns the shopper into such easy prey”. Amen to that.

* An electric waffle maker.

On the other hand, her list includes a yogurt maker. I had one in a former life and I miss it.

16lesmel
Mar 3, 10:15 am

She put a waffle maker in the hall of shame? Really? I love my waffle maker. It makes fabulous waffles AND griddled cheese sandwiches

17MarthaJeanne
Mar 3, 10:39 am

For years I had a waffle maker that went on a stove burner. Took up a lot less space than an electric one, and made lovely waffles.

However at this point I do not miss either the waffle iron or the yoghurt maker.

18haydninvienna
Mar 3, 11:18 am

>16 lesmel: >17 MarthaJeanne: I’ve seen electric waffle makers on the breakfast spread in hotels in Europe, but never been brave enough to try.

I think Nigella would agree that almost everyone has a Hall of Kitchen Shame, but that, as we have just seen, one person’s Shame is another’s essential piece of gear. However, another item on the list is an electric jam maker, which apparently never even got taken out of its box. I doubt that somebody who is serious about jam would ever want such a thing.

19lesmel
Editado: Mar 3, 3:51 pm

>18 haydninvienna: The giant waffle makers like you see in hotels and brunches would never work for me. It would take up way too much of the space I use for my instant pots (yes, plural). I have a fairly low profile, small footprint waffle maker that has been the best waffle maker I've ever owned...and I've owned many over the years.

The two major kitchen gadgets that seem to have been a waste for me are a small sous vide set up and the spiralizer attachment for my KitchenAid mixer.

20MaureenRoy
Mar 13, 10:58 pm

America's Test Kitchen is helpful to me about half the time, which is mainly because many of their recipes are high in overall fat content, very low in fiber content, and occasionally quite wrong. I notified their editor guy about their latest howler error: They printed some recipes using fresh cooking greens (kale, collards, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens and the like), which in itself is fine, but then they made a really big point of preparing a large quantity and storing the leftovers in one's freezer. The problem there is that the most nutritious parts of fresh cooking greens are the components (Vitamin E, folic acid, and folates) that are mostly destroyed by freezing.

So anyway, I shared that info with their editor via Twitter, and never heard anything back, which I expected. Since then, I haven't seen any coverage in their magazine on fresh cooking greens.

21reconditereader
Mar 14, 1:55 am

Not every meal has to be perfectly ideal in all nutrients. Freezing spinach isn't "wrong".

22MarthaJeanne
Mar 14, 2:40 am

They get recipes from other countries really wrong.

Gluing the layers of apple strudel together with sugar so it's not so flaky. You use butter between the layers to keep it flaky. If you want a non-flaky strudel, you use a different dough.

After reading a few similar mistakes I don't read their stuff.