How to Cook Everything (Not)February 27, 2011
Mark Bittman wrote a three-pound cookbook a few years back. Can’t miss it: It’s big and yellow and has the title in large green font declares, “How to Cook Everything.” Yes, that last word is italicized. And, alas, it is a lie. I’m sorry; I know the thing has won a bunch of awards. And there’s a Web site. And he’s famous and all, but everything? It’s my fault really. Who can make that claim? Who would buy the book believing that title is really true?
Well, perhaps moi. The first dozen times I pulled down this tome to look up a recipe, I was disenchanted. Twelve times. After the second disappointment with this investment I started a list that is still tucked just in front of page 891, the first of the 54 page index. It lists all the recipes that are not part of “everything.”
If you want to recipes for London broil, enchiladas, schnitzel, scalloped potatoes, chili Colorado or barbacoa, calamari, remoulade, au jus, confit, or muffaletta, go to the internet. Or maybe the 10th anniversary edition. Not my book.
If you want something bright yellow to cheer your kitchen and hold down grocery receipts when the summer breeze rifles through an open window, this book might come in handy, albeit overkill.
For real recipes for real people, check out All Recipes.com. Type in ingredients you have on hand to get ideas for recipes you can make in a snap. Type in keywords and search for anything you can think of. (By the way, I found all twelve of Mr. Bittman’s missing recipes on this Web site.) When you find a recipe you like, check out the rating. Check out how many people saved it. Check out the comments on how other cooks modified the recipe and perhaps made it even better.
So far, I have never been disappointed with a highly rated recipe I’ve tried from this site. And, unless you want to upgrade for more features, it’s free!