I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and to Quirk Books for the opportunity!
A quick read, Stuff Every Cook Should Know is a handy guide for the novice chef. That said, even a more experienced cook could learn a trick or two. I know that I did! It was certainly worth my time, and I know new chefs will return to this guide again and again as they develop their own kitchen habits.
In a world where home cooking and entertaining are assumed skills, instead of taught ones, many people don’t really know how to maneuver around a kitchen. In fact, as I grew up, I only had one semester of Home Economics in the 8th grade, and we learned how to balance a checkbook, read a laundry label, and bake cookies from a box. That’s it. I was lucky that growing up the women in my life wanted to share their cooking experience with me. Yet, I never really sat down to learn how one should host a dinner party, or what is even involved in coordinating it. In Stuff Every Cook Should Know, Joy Manning has created a handbook for budding chefs learning their way around a kitchen.
The book is divided into four sections: Your Tools, Your Ingredients, Three Meals a Day, and Entertaining. Personally, I have been cooking and entertaining for years at this point, so the Entertaining section was the least eye-opening for me. However, as someone who feels comfortable in the kitchen, I still learned quite a bit! This surprised me. For example, I learned that pulsing my food processor will make more even cuts than running it, and what the proper sizes of small, medium, and large dices really measure out to. Yet, what I didn’t learn new was only reinforcing what I learned along my own personal kitchen journey. The mantra of our kitchen at home is Clean as you go— thank you, Joy Manning for reinforcing this. Now David can’t glare at me when I ask him to clean something.
The only downside to reading this ARC is that the ebook did not contain any pictures. I didn’t even notice the lack of pictures until I ran into an “as pictured” in the section on How to Sharpen a Knife. I would love to see the final product and find out what else I could learn from these pages once the photos are introduced.
All in all, a wonderful book. I encourage those new to cooking to look into Stuff Every Cook Should Know, and the entire series. However, even if you are an experienced chef, it’s worth taking a look at!