My friend Betsy had recommended this cookbook to me and at first glance I was not interested at all! It had no pictures, few illustrations, and no nutritional fact information; all of which have been previous requirements of mine for a cookbook. But oh friends, let me just tell you about this cookbook! Since getting it for my birthday a week has not gone by that I haven't made something out of it and usually I cook out of it 2-3 times a week! The title describes perfectly what this cookbook is about: everything! Want to roast some potatoes and pork and then use the leftovers for fried rice? Mark will tell you how! Or what about crepes and banana bread? He's got that covered too.
Here are some features that make this book "The" book to have in your kitchen:
- Over 2,000 recipes with tons of variations. As a matter of fact, I don't know if I have seen a recipe in here that doesn't have a variation.
- Basic ingredients. All of the recipes that I have made so far did not cause me to run to the store! His ingredients are simple things that you already have around the house.
- Well illustrated techniques. Want to quarter a chicken? It is all drawn out here step by step.
- Essential recipes are highlighted at the beginning of each chapter to get you started. This is especially helpful for me on chapters like beans, which I have never cooked before this year!
- Charts, charts, and more charts! This man loves his charts! My favorite one yet is one that outlines different types of vinaigrettes into their different parts: oil, acid, flavors, etc.
- Variation on top of variation: One title of a list reads, "11 More Ways to Vary Grilled or Broiled Boneless Chicken" Not only do these variations give you good ideas, but you feel freed up to make your own decisions and substitutions without the fear of failure.
- Only 7 out of 56 people on Amazon.com gave this book less than 5 stars and not a single one gave it just 1 star.
- Chapter Titles are: Kitchen Basics; Sauces, Condiments, Herbs and Spices; Appetizers; Soups; Sandwiches and Pizza; Salads; Vegetables and Fruit; Beans; Grains; Pasta, Noodles, and Dumplings; Fish and Shellfish; Poultry; Meat; Eggs, Breakfast, and Dairy; Bread; Desserts
- My favorite chapter is Vegetables and Fruit. For each vegetable and fruit that you can find at the grocery or farmers market he tells you how to pick the right one and then has several recipes on different ways it can be prepared.