So, you know what you want to make for dinner, but you don't know how to prepare it? A cookbook will help with a list of ingredients and preparation instructions.
Cookbooks come in many different styles, specialize in different types of cuisine and are written for different skill levels.
Some things to look for in a good cookbook are
- a list of all ingredients
- Among other good things, this helps you make sure you have everything you'll need or prepare a grocery shopping list.
- special utensils or cooking appliances you'll need are noted
- In a beginner's cookbook, it's good to have a list of all appliances or a section at the beginning listing some kitchen basics.
- step by step instructions
- Good instructions go in order and warn about any special time requirements. For instance, you won't find that step four is the first time they note that the fruit should be marinated in wine for 24 hours before you start.
- "bonus" sections
- Sections that define and explain cooking techniques or suggest foods that complement each other.
- level of difficulty or amount of time
- Consider who will be using the cookbook. A new cook will probably prefer simpler, less time consuming recipes with fewer ingredients, steps and required kitchen devices. But someone who is branching out and trying to cook a new cuisine, may like a cookbook that explains the history and specialized techniques used for that cuisine; specialized tools and ingredients may be appropriate.
- Older cookbooks often did not have pictures. And they are not essential, but they can be helpful by showing how the dishes can be beautifully presented. They can also supplement descriptions of what something looks like -- such as "lightly brown", until the broth turns "clear", how to hold a knife or how small to chop the pieces.
- Wikipedia's article on cookbook
Some online recipe or cooking instructions sites:
- the recipes wikia (actually, there are several wikia with different types of recipes, but here's the main one