Culinary Boot Camp: Five Days of Basic Training at the Culinary Institute of America

Culinary Institute of America, Author, Martha Rose Shulman, Author . Wiley $29.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-7645-7278-4

For anyone who's fantasized about attending culinary school—or any curious cook who wants to understand more about the fundamentals of fine cooking—this book offers a peek into an über-condensed, intensive version of Culinary Institute of America training for nonprofessionals. In an era when most bestselling cookbooks eschew traditional techniques in favor of time-saving shortcuts, the book is an anomaly. Shulman (Entertaining Light ), an IACP Award–winning cookbook author, takes readers along with her as she attends the CIA's five-day "boot camp" and explains the lessons she learned, from preparing stocks and sauces, to using knives and understanding proper sauté protocol, along with (occasionally overbearing) personal commentary about the experience. Some organizational elements don't make sense—the section on stocks, for example, precedes the recipes for stocks by more than 100 pages—and some recipes are unnecessary (the author criticizes the CIA's cornbread recipe and inserts her own instead). But the text is packed with good insider info, and most of the 75 recipes, such as Spinach Spaetzle with Sapsago Cheese, and Morel and Wild Mushroom Ragoût, are time-honored yet contemporary, rigorous yet approachable. 100 full-color photos. (May 6)

Reviewed on: 03/13/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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