The best cooking books shouldn't just give you recipes but should teach you how to cook. The saying goes, "give a man a fish he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime." When it comes to cookbooks I want to know why I am using an ingredient and why I am performing a certain step at a certain time. This is why I highly recommend Shirley O. Corriher's book "Cookwise". I first encountered Shirley talking about sugar crystals in fudge on Alton Brown's "Good Eats". She is an expert in the science of food. In this book (which I love) she puts a small box of information right before the recipe that explains why she is using certain ingredients and how they will improve what I am about to cook. The book covers a variety of topics from making the perfect risen loaf of bread to juicy roasted chicken. I also enjoyed her information sections on topics such as how long vegetables and fruit last, the reason why, and how best to store them. I believe everyone who enjoys cooking should have this book on their book shelf. I borrowed this book from the library for as long as I could and I think it would make a great Christmas present (hint, hint!)
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