Wednesday, November 24, 2010

101 Things I Learned in Culinary School, by Louis Eguaras with Matthew Frederick

101 Things I Learned (TM) in Culinary SchoolEver wonder what all those different knives in your butcher block are for, or the correct way to hold them?  What kind of wine should you pair with your spice dinner menu?  What is the difference between a white roux and a blond roux?  The answers to all these questions and many more can be found in this handy little guide.

I felt that with me preparing to cook my first Thanksgiving meal as a hostess, this would be a helpful book to read.  I am glad I did.  I would say about a third of the information in the book was not new to me, having been cooking since I was in middle school, and having been blessed with two parents who are also excellent cooks.  Furthermore, my father was a meat cutter in his youth, so he was able to teach me a lot regarding cuts of meat, and proper cooking.  But, still, having know a third of the information, that still means two thirds of this book was brand new material to me, and I think that is a pretty good percentage.

Clearly, a lot of the book is aimed at someone looking to be more of a professional cook or chef, with terms in facts regarding appropriate kitchen protocol being covered.  However, the majority of the information can still be useful in your household kitchen at some time or another.  There are even cute little illustrations.  I like that the book took concepts that can seem foreign or overwhelming to some people and made them seem simple.

Overall, I think this is a very handy book, one that will now sit on the shelf with my cookbooks.  And while I might not just right in there and try to make my own Bechamel sauce, this book might help me take a few more risks in cooking