Every wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing a classic, The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. This book has been a classic since 1930.  Every other year or so they update it with new recipes.  The newest version is a winner. Updated for the modern era, it contains everything that you would ever need to know about basic cooking .  It further includes one of the best recipe references that I have ever used.  I frequently reference my new cook book before I start to create a dish.

The first section of the book, Cooking basics, teaches everything from meal planning, to using food labels, to shopping strategies, to setting a table.  It also includes a guide to cooking terms and techniques.  At first glance I was like whatever, but when I started to think about this is a great feature.  If you don’t understand a term in the recipe how can you create it. 

After the intro chapter, they go right into the recipes.  They split the recipes up into the various types of food.  Like, beans, rice and grains, breads, candy, eggs and cheese and conclude with vegetables.  In all there are twenty different chapters on the different types of food.  Each jam packed with mouth watering recipes and photos. 

I have worn out the bread section in my copy of the book.  The white bread, whole wheat bread and sourdough bread are just a few that I have tasted.  They are delicious.  Although I don’t technically call it bread, but pancakes are also in this section.  Pancakes are technically a quick bread and are thus classified in the bread section.  The pancake recipe is great and makes just enough for 2-3 people.  I use the basic recipe as a starter for all of my pancake recipes.

This book is great reference for the home cook.  It has easy to read recipes that are well tested and come out perfect every time.  This book was the very first cookbook that I had ever purchased.  It is easy to read and includes step by step photos for a lot of the recipes.  This book is the result of the better homes and gardens test kitchen and their hard work to make sure that each recipe has the perfect taste, texture and appearance.  They further refine each recipe to make sure that instructions are clear and easy to follow.  Basically this is the ultimate beginners cook book.  If you need a perfect gift for a graduate, new home owner or a friend (who quite frankly can’t cook) this book is all you need.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid) is available at most retailers.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.

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