A photo of someone baking with a cookbook, wooden tools and a red and white towel.
Why Cookbooks?

What Cookbooks Teach Us

Cookbooks give home chefs access to a wealth of knowledge that we wouldn’t normally have. They can teach us how to master a new skill, help us explore a new cuisine or just help us understand what goes into a composed dish. 

I have used cookbooks to take my cooking skills to the next level. They have guided me through recipes that I would never have tried without all the tips and tricks offered in the cookbooks. I wouldn’t have made all the improvements to my cooking without cookbooks as they have truly taught me how to cook. The five most important things cookbooks teach you are below. 

1. How to Read a Recipe
Do you remember the first time you read a recipe? For me I am sure it was either fantasy fudge or chocolate chip cookies. I grew up baking so reading a baking recipe was always easy for me. When I began exploring savory cooking I realized that sometimes the recipes were written differently. Being exposed to many different types of recipes helps you understand them and how to read them. You know to look for steps that may (or can) be done ahead of time, plus you can look to see how long the recipe will take you to make. Overall recipes give you a roadmap to make a delicious meal and the more you read them the easier they become to understand. 
2. Basic Kitchen Skills
Are your knife skills really good? Do you understand the different types of cuts? If not there are plenty of cookbooks that go into great detail showing you how to cut everything properly. If you want to master roasting a chicken you can find a cookbook that will help you with that. Almost all of my cookbooks have a section that shows you how to master a basic kitchen skill and feel more confident and comfortable in the kitchen. 
3. How to Season Our Food
When we eat out at a good restaurant the food is always so flavorful but sometimes when you try to replicate the dish at home it just isn’t the same. I have found out that most of the time it is the seasoning that makes the difference. Cookbooks tell us how much salt and pepper to add to a dish which can help us see how they are supposed to taste. As you taste more and become more comfortable in seasoning you can adjust it in other meals you are cooking. A little salt and pepper can make a huge difference in a meal. 
4. How to Incorporate New Ingredients into Our Cooking
Adding ingredients into our cooking that we aren’t familiar with can scare us all. Cookbooks show us how to prep and incorporate the new ingredients into our recipes. For example a few months ago I made a delicious dish with parsnips in it. I had never had them before and now I love them!
5. How to Plate Our Food
Many people realize that we eat with our eyes first. If a plate of food looks terrible it’s hard to want to eat it. In cookbooks we are exposed to beautiful pictures of the recipes. For me this helps me figure out how to put the recipe together and how it should be served. I tend to favor cookbooks that have lots of pictures vs. those that have only a few. The pictures draw me and make me want to try new dishes. 

Cookbooks offer home chefs so many ways to improve their cooking and to have more confidence in the kitchen. Yes, we can watch cooking shows but to me cookbooks allow a home chef to move at your own pace when learning something new. 

Even in the last year I have learned new ways to cook things just by using my cookbooks. I hope you are able to learn new things from your cookbooks and expand your abilities. What’s one thing you have learned from cookbooks?

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