Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Anger in the Sky
OK, technically I have not “read” this book, but holy cow, do we use it. A team of chefs allegedly cooked every recipe in this cookbook a billion different ways, using different techniques, ingredients, and cook times; they then selected the one that is the best combination of flavor and ease, and delivered unto you this holy grail. Thank you, test chefs.
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is full of pictures (over 1500), including clearly illustrated how-tos. It offers up 1200+ recipes, variations on those recipes, emergency substitutions, and helpful tips. It alerts you to the best equipment- the best slow cooker, the best cookie sheets, whatever. It tells you how long to boil hard-boiled eggs (start raw eggs in cold water- bring to boil- remove pot from heat- steep for 10 minutes) and the best way to cook corn on the cob (add sugar to water to enhance sweetness- hold the salt to prevent toughness)-the sorts of things other cookbooks assume your mother taught you. I have not come across a loser recipe yet. We will regularly flip through because we have a spare chunk of time, select a recipe because we have those particular ingredients on hand, go ahead and make it, and it will be delicious.
Case in point: yesterday, to warm up the house on a rainy Sunday morning, we made monkey bread (I like to call it “monkey bread, monkey bread”, in a singsong voice, for no good reason). Here it is in all its golden sticky glory:
And yes, it is super yummy, although a lot of the caramel goodness ran out of the pan (our Bundt has a removable insert, and it leaked through) and smoked up our oven. I now recommend a solid pan for monkey bread, monkey bread; the one William-Sonoma sells is a thing of joy and beauty forever.
The one complaint I have about the Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is that it consists of a binder with rather thin pages, and in our oafish enthusiasm (think frantically flipping pages with oven mitts on) we have ripped a number of pages out of the binder. I’ve remedied the problem with hole reinforcers, but really, I don’t think I should have to bust out the office supplies while making Sunday brunch. I suppose if they made the pages of a heavier stock, it would make the binder heavy and unwieldy. So, another recommendation: if you are not a crazy office supply collector like myself, pick up hole reinforcers if you buy the book. You will need them sooner or later.
In summary: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Better than The Joy of Cooking. That’s right. I said it.