cover image Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen

Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen

Mollie Katzen. Harper Studio, $24.99 (268pp) ISBN 978-0-06-173243-0

There’s an inherent difficulty in encapsulating basic kitchen knowledge in a single book, but Katzen’s latest is a fresh, contemporary entry in the 101 subgenre. This is likely because she has some experience—Katzen’s The Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbooks have been unofficial required reading for cooking students for decades, and her latest speaks directly to a newer, more food-savvy generation of just-starting-out cooks. Launched in conjunction with a companion Web site and illustrated by Katzen’s own photographs, this newest is divided into basic categories like soups, salads, pastas and desserts. Naturally, given her meatless pedigree, she gives vegetarian options with bright flavors (acorn squash stuffed with fruited basmati pilaf; mango curry) their own chapter. While the recipes cover the traditional home repertoire—spaghetti and meatballs, an excellent and simple roast chicken, apple crisp—Katzen also sneaks in some more intriguing flavors by way of a North African red lentil soup, cherry clafouti and Thai green curry along with explanations of more unusual ingredients like jicama and panko. Encouraging cooks to experiment with additions and flavor combinations, she suggests alternatives in a running “Get Creative” sidebar. Rounding out the training is a short primer on kitchen tools, pantry items and photos that illustrate vegetable chopping techniques. Katzen’s enthusiasm for the subject and her ability to keep the proceedings truly simple makes for the rare beginner’s book that accomplishes its mission. Photos. (Oct.)