Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Weekend Cooking: The James Beard Cookbook

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

My cookbook collection rests on the foundation of two cookbooks, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and James Beard's American Cookery.  These two books were so overused by my father that they easily open to some recipes.  These are the cookbooks I learned to cook from and ones I go back to when I want basics. As much as I love these cookbooks this version of The James Beard Cookbook feels like a simplified version of the one I own.  This book is filled with the same writing style, a conversational tone that feels like a friend teaching you a favorite recipe.

The format is simply broken down into sections. He shares a basic recipe and then variations. As someone who loves pasta, I paid special attention to the pasta section in the cookbook.  He broke this section down into the pasta and then the sauces.  First you make the homemade noodles and then you can pick from a number of sauces to accompany your creations.

I didn't make homemade pasta, but I did make one of the sauces this weekend.  I love pasta with garlic and oil, yet I've never made it at home.  I needed a quick and easy lunch for myself and a friend and this two serving sauce was perfect.   There are a lot of two and four serving recipes in this book which I love. I'm so tired of having to cut down a recipie from 6-8 servings. We're two people in this house, we are fine with four servings (one each for dinner and lunch for the next day).

Today was rainy and dreary and kind of cold for the first day of June. I have made polenta a number of times, but never just a basic batch.  All my past attempts have included adding milk and butter and cheese. I grew up on stories of my grandfather standing at the stove stirring and slowly adding cornmeal to a pot mixing until he had the perfect consistency.  Tonight, I made polenta in this way, simply adding cornmeal to salted water.  It was a last minute idea of a meal so I didn't get to make homemade sauce, but believe me it will be done in the future. It was a warm filling meal for this stormy night.

This book is a great addition to my collection and I suggest it become an addition to your collection too.

I received an ebook copy from NetGalley for an honest review. 


  1. I love the James Beard cookbooks I have. Among my early cookbooks were Joy of Cooking, the Settlement Cookbook, and one of the Better Homes and Garden books.

  2. I need to get a copy of Joy of Cooking. I'll have to check out the Settlement Cookbook.