cover image Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks

Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks

Ina Garten. Clarkson Potter, $35 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8041-8704-6

Food Network host Garten’s disappointing 11th cookbook revolves around the author’s professional tips intended to elevate home cooking, but much of her advice will come as no surprise. She begins by touching on basics, such as proper seasoning (“You’ve been under-salting”) and plating (“Plating food is like arranging flowers in a vase”) that are helpful yet too familiar. A tomato and avocado salad incorporates arugula, lemon juice, and red onion, and the helpful hints include instructions to use a serrated knife to cut the tomatoes. A sidebar on baking (deemed “very scientific”) cautions that an oven takes 20 minutes to preheat. A recipe for turkey sandwiches made with store-bought mayonnaise suggests toasting the bread in the oven, but doesn’t explain why that’s preferable to using a toaster. Many dishes are inspired by other recipes: the fried chicken sandwich from Shake Shack, and Charlie Bird’s farro salad with shaved parmesan (use a vegetable peeler, Garten advises), which is based on a recipe written by Melissa Clark in the New York Times. As a result, Garten’s own style doesn’t shine through. Her recipes are all perfectly sound, but the lack of a strong point of view or game-changing advice makes this one of her lesser collections. (Oct.)