Six Ba­sic Cook­ing Tech­niques: Culi­nary Essentials for the Home Cook

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - ERIC PAT­TER­SON

Jen­nifer Clair Mered­ith Heuer (Pho­tog­ra­pher) HCNY Press (MARCH) Soft­cover $19.95 (112pp) 978-0-9989792-0-5

Jen­nifer Clair dis­tills years of teach­ing cook­ing classes into a use­ful man­ual for be­com­ing a more rounded home cook.

Each tech­nique re­ceives one chap­ter, with nu­mer­ous recipes and il­lus­tra­tive pho­to­graphs as help­ful aids.

What makes this book so use­ful is that Clair leaves no room for con­fu­sion. She clearly lays out im­por­tant take­away points and pro­vides step-by-step vis­ual in­struc­tions to im­part un­der­stand­ing on es­sen­tial top­ics, in­clud­ing blanch­ing veg­eta­bles and mak­ing pan sauces.

Each chap­ter is con­sis­tent, be­gin­ning with what is needed to cook the recipes or learn the tech­nique and pro­ceed­ing with an over­view. Tempt­ing recipes punc­tu­ate these lessons, for dishes such as Roasted Rata­touille with Olives and Basil, or Pan Roasted Chicken with Sher­ry­thyme Gravy.

Two fea­tures, “Chefs Say” and “Stu­dents Ask,” present help­ful ideas and tech­niques that are of­ten un­known to the home cook. “Chefs Say” re­lays pro tips that make home cook­ing eas­ier, more ef­fi­cient, and safer. “Stu­dents Ask” use­fully re­sponds to com­mon ques­tions and mis­un­der­stood no­tions—pre­sum­ably heard again and again in Clair’s cour­ses.

The recipes are all sound and eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to the in­ter­me­di­ate cook. Each recipe is pre­sented with the pur­pose of giv­ing the reader an op­por­tu­nity to put the main tech­nique of the chap­ter into prac­tice and in­cludes a short in­tro­duc­tion that of­fers help­ful hints and in­for­ma­tive tid­bits that add to the learn­ing process.

Clair packs a sur­pris­ing amount of in­for­ma­tion into her pages, and her book will be a wel­come ad­di­tion to any home cook’s li­brary. One can only hope that she will write fol­low-up books; it is easy to en­vi­sion this for­mat be­ing ex­panded.

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