Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Today's challenge is slightly different.  Today I am paring three reference style cookbooks against each other.  It is a much more difficult challenge that will show surprising results.
Julia's Kitchen Wisdom:  Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking by Julia Child

Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen:  The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished Adventurous Cook 

The Organized Kitchen:  Keep Your Kitchen, Clean, Organized and Full of Good Food and Save Time, Money, (and Your Sanity) Every Day!  by Brette Sember

 Challenger #1 - Julia's Kitchen Wisdom - winner 

This book was a clear winner.  Julia does it again with the perfect reference book.  While this book includes very basic recipes such as mashed potatoes, I for one want Julia telling me how to make mashed potatoes because I am sure she will elevate it to an art form.  Other questions that get answered are things like how many minutes should you cook green beans? Is it better to steam them or to boil them?  What are the right proportions for a vinaigrette?  How do you skim off fat?  What is the perfect way to roast a chicken?
While I consider myself a somewhat accomplished cook, I still want Julia telling me the basics.  This book is a go to guide to brush up on any basics, figure things out that you haven't done yet and everything in between.  
Julia as always you are the grande dame of cooking.  I bow to you and make you the winner of today's challenge.
Challenger #2 - Keys to the Kitchen - runner up winner
Okay yes there is usually only one winner of each challenge but hey I remember an episode of America's Top Model when there were two winners so if Tyra can do it so can I.  This book almost lost the challenge, almost.  The recipes it contained honestly just weren't my style.  While there were some that I would attempt the majority of them I wouldn't touch.  A bit too twisted on the flavors for my taste.  What won the challenge for this book to become runner up and retain a place on the shelf was for the reference sections it contained.  There was so much in the variety of details in the reference sections that it got to stay simply for that fact.  I toyed with the idea of scanning the sections but in the end gave in and decided it was too much to store electronically,. I really needed to retain this book.
Challenger #3 - The Organized Kitchen - please pack your bags
First off - a disclaimer - I loved this book.  I loved it so much that I am going to continue reading it and soak in the information before casting it aside completely.  It has great information on running and organized and thrifty kitchen.  That being said though once this information is absorbed the recipes fall short.  They are good, basic recipes included at the end, but not enough to make the book retain a permanent place on the shelves.  So adios to the Organized Kitchen, just not quite yet... 

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