Cookbook Profile

Essentials of Cooking

By James Peterson

Essentials of Cooking  
With a nod to established and proven methods, and an eye toward the future Essentials of Cooking by James Peterson, is the perfect book to guide culinary enthusiasts into the next millennium. From peeling to pitting, from braising to boning, from sautéing to souffléing, the techniques that turn a cook into a chef and a meal into a feast are expertly described and abundantly illustrated in Peterson's new book.

Following his success with last year's award-winning Vegetables, Peterson utilizes his vast knowledge and experience to create an invaluable and comprehensive guide to the indispensable skills needed for cooks of all capabilities. More than eleven hundred photographs, taken in Peterson's own kitchen, provide a vivid step-by-step look at each technique and recipe in process.

Peterson's kitchen philosophy is clear as broth. He writes, "Once you've gotten a handle on roasting, poaching, grilling, frying, steaming, sautéing, and braising, you'll know how to cook most food, and if you understand the logic of how these techniques work, you'll be able to improvise intuitively and give your own special style and identity to your cooking."

Essentials of Cooking begins with the basics— the most effective methods for preparing food for cooking. How to dice an onion, turn a carrot, pit a cherry, and roast red peppers— basic skills are presented in simple, practical terms. Flavorful broths, fundamental sauces and dressings, even homemade pasta and crepes are included in this section.

Subsequent chapters are divided into classic categories: vegetables and fruit, fish and shellfish, poultry and eggs, and meat. Each is filled with recipes, over 150 in all, demonstrating and illustrating a core technique. Here you'll find how to roast vegetables or roast a rack of pork; poach a big fish or poach an egg; carve a turkey or cut up a lobster; make potato chips or paella—how to do anything and everything.

For the truly adventurous, a final chapter called Cooking from Scratch includes instructions on such advanced techniques as cutting up a rabbit; scaling, skinning, cleaning, and boning all varieties of fish; even trimming and frenching a rack of lamb or cutting it into chops. An extensive illustrated glossary completes the package.

Essentials of Cooking heads a short list of quintessential kitchen guides that belong in every kitchen. This all-encompassing and invaluable reference—a much-needed antidote to an age of missed meals and mindless microwaving—will make everyone, whether novice or professional, a more accomplished and satisfied cook.

James Peterson  

About the Author

James Peterson is the author of Vegetables (winner of the James Beard Award), Fish & Shellfish (winner of the Julia Child award for single subject cookbook), Sauces (winner of the James Beard cookbook of the year award), and Splendid Soups. He has taught at The French Culinary Institute and Peter Kump's Cooking School. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Buy the Book!


Essentials of Cooking
By James Peterson
Artisan, December 1999
Hardcover, $40.00
300 pages, more than 1100 photographs
ISBN: 1-57965-120-8
Information provided by the publisher.


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This page created February 2000