cover image Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Richard Sax. Clarkson N Potter Publishers, $27.5 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-517-70358-8

Chef, teacher and cookbook author (Classic Home Desserts; Eat at Joe's), Sax planned this book, based on his classes, in order to demystify cooking techniques for beginners and to build a firm foundation for future kitchen efforts. After Sax's death in 1995, Ricketts, a friend and food writer, stepped in to finish the manuscript. By the evidence here, Sax's classes must have been a joy and a great learning experience. Readers are briskly introduced to the coring and seeding of peppers, zesting a lemon, stocking a larder and planning a simple dinner for friends. And that's before the first chapter! Techniques and recipes share equal billing in chapters that are organized around basic ingredients, like Poultry, Salads and Quick Breads. Margin notes offer an abundance of suggestions on pairing dishes, shortcuts, substitutions and do-ahead hints. The chapter on Pasta and Risotto covers the basics of cooking fresh and dried pastas, sauteing vegetables, making meatballs, roasting garlic, selecting pasta shapes to suit different sauces, making a white sauce and sweating vegetables for baked gratins. Sax's focus on technique is demonstrated in recipes for such dishes as Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese, Roast Fish With Herbed Crumb Crush and Raisin Bread Pudding, in which exotic ingredients and/or elaborate equipment are not required. Beginning cooks can no longer take advantage of Sax's classes, but they would do well to avail themselves of his sound teachings in this valuable primer. (May)