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Book Review: Bon Appetit’s Keep It Simple

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One of the leading resources for gourmet cooking, Bon Appetit Magazine, has put together a cookbook that gets right down to basics. Keep It Simple is a great reference tool for every level of cook, from beginner to experienced. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this cookbook is for you. It covers everything from scrambled eggs to four-layer cakes and keeps it simple every time.

With recipes ranging from soups and salads to breads and pies, this cookbook begins each section by reminding the reader of how to make basic recipes then builds up to more challenging recipes from there. For example, the seafood chapter begins with a standard recipe for sauteed fish using a minimum of steps and only four ingredients. Once the reader is familiar with the cooking technique, he or she can try subsequent recipes that add more skills and ingredients and work their way up to the final recipe of the chapter, a shellfish cioppino that uses 27 ingredients. Since the book walks readers through ever-increasingly ambitious cooking skills, the cioppino recipe seems like a fun challenge and not a daunting task.

Keep It Simple is peppered with hints, tips and advice along the way so readers get a well-rounded education in food preparation and cooking. Suggestions on picking the freshest produce, how to devein shrimp and how to freeze pie dough are interspersed throughout each chapter. Adding to the visual appeal of the book are loads of mouthwatering photos of finished recipes as well as step by step pictures of cooking techniques such as how to properly grill vegetables.

Keep It Simple lives up to it’s name: it appeals to a wide cross section of readers while making the recipes approachable enough for cooks at any level of expertise.

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About Lisa

  • KISS — Keep it simple, stupid worked well for me as a photographer — get the shot then get creative. As a cook my gently boiled shrimp cooled and coated with extra-virgen olice oil and a little tequila or Napolean brandy is almost always better than my complex sauces with chiles, spices, root vegetables and this and that. Mexican mole is a prime example of a sauce very east to ruin itself or the food it covers.

    The cookbook sounds good and I haven’t found any endeavor not helped by KISS — at least not until the talent for it is well honed and down pat.

  • This book review has been selected for Advance.net. You’ll be able to find this and other Blog Critics reviews at such places as Cleveland.com’s Book Reviews column.