Thursday, September 17, 2009

Book Review: Notes on Cooking

When I first started school for my culinary diploma I was a tad haughty in believing that I didn't have much to learn. I was a good cook at 24, had been married for 3 1/2 years and had 2 children. I was old and wise and the biggest hurdle I had at that time was how to get everything on the table at the same time and at the right temperature. That I would need an education beyond that never even crossed my mind.

I, of course, received quite a surprise once classes were under way. I learned things I didn't know were even possibilities and became equipped with a knowledge that I found afterward to be very vital in owning a food service business.

While in school we took notes on everything and I kept everything neat and in order and in color-coded binders. Once school was over and I went back to raising a family, my notes were misplaced, as old school notes tend to be, and I still have no idea exactly where they are.

Lucky for me and anyone who loves to cook, Lauren Braun Costello kept notes, 217 to be exact, and is now sharing them with the rest of us along with the help of Russell Reich through Notes on Cooking, A Short Guide to an Essential Craft.

Whether you're a complete novice in the kitchen or a 5-Star chef, there is something to be gleaned from the pages of this small and unassuming book. There are things in here that I didn't know, many that I did, and many more that I had forgotten that I knew and I'll wager that even the most educated and talented of all chefs would have to agree. In fact, when I replied to the review query, my exact words were, "It's like culinary school in a book!" and I was right.

This book sits on a shelf in my kitchen ready to be snatched up at a moment's notice when needed, and there it will stay. The chapters are broken up into every imaginable area of cooking from ingredients to cookware to the most important tool- the cook - and cross-referenced where need be so that there is a fuller understanding of what is being conveyed. This is truly an indispensible book for the home cook or the trained chef and small enough to keep by your side.

Find copies of Notes on Cooking at:

The Notes on Cooking website or at


chow and chatter said...

sounds like a great little book, cool you went to culinary school

Diane said...

Sounds like a neat little book. With all my recipe books, I don't have one that's just notes on cooking...and I'm sure I can use it. I cook alot, but never really learned much about it other than to follow a recipe. Thanks!

sj said...

That sounds like a great book... thanks for the review, I'd never heard of it before.

joy said...
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