cover image The Very Basic Cookbook

The Very Basic Cookbook

Vicki Liley. Stackpole Books, $14.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-8117-3280-2

Veteran cookbook author Liley (Asian Wraps and Rolls; Curries; Hors D'oeuvres) offers a multitude of culinary tips for beginners in this aptly titled starter cookbook. This slim volume is packed with tips on everything from stocking a pantry to buying and seasoning a wok to how to warm plates for serving. Kitchen novices will appreciate her no-nonsense style as well as tips on purchasing and storing meats, food preparation and making stocks and marinades. Liley focuses strictly on the basics, giving those new to cooking a thorough foundation upon which to build, and since all recipes are made from scratch, budding chefs will taste how much of a difference a homemade stock or sauce can make. Recipes allow cooks to practice their skills on classic dishes such as Cottage Pie and French Onion Soup, or stretch with recipes such as Chocolate Mousse and Tomato and Tuna Risotto. Those looking for more exotic or heavily-spiced dishes will be disappointed, as this is a bare-bones approach to cooking: Basic Roast Pork, for example, calls for three ingredients: pork shoulder, salt and black pepper. Still, those who are new to cooking will find this guide to classic dishes an excellent primer.