(Full disclosure: This post contains Bookshop.org affiliate links. I received a complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review).
If there’s one thing I love, it’s cookbooks. I have a hefty collection of them in our kitchen and find them enjoyable to look at, cook from, and yes, even read cover to cover.
When I heard about (Serious) New Cook, a cookbook designed to guide new chefs through basic techniques to make good food at home, I knew I had to check it out. Many thanks to Andrea Burnett PR and Rizzoli publishing for the complimentary review copy of this gorgeous, full-cover cookbook.
Reviewing cookbooks is always an interesting task, as individual tastes and skill levels vary so greatly. So, I’m straying a bit from my usual review format to take a deep dive into this book.
As you might expect, the authors begin with a basic overview of the techniques and tools you’ll need to be familiar with to tackle the recipes. There are plenty of full color photos so readers know what these tools and techniques actually look like, which I think would be incredibly helpful to someone just starting to cook on their own.
What surprised me most about this book is how varied and interesting the recipes are. When I hear “new cook” I imagine some pretty basic stuff, like how to boil pasta or roast chicken. But the authors of this book don’t undersell the novice and instead choose a robust catalog of recipes include sushi, fish sandwiches, steamed pork dumplings, and chocolate cake.
A lot of the dishes are the sort of thing one might order out at a restaurant, but not make at home. And here they are, broken down in easy-to-follow recipes! Even as someone who’s a bit older and knows her way around kitchen basics, I found myself excited to try some of these new recipes.
Another interesting aspect of the book is that the recipes are given in sets of three. Each trio begins with a base recipe to help you learn a paticular technique, then you build upon and learn varations in the subsequent recipes. I like this idea a lot for teaching someone to cook, but it’s definitely a different way of approaching a cookbook.
So far, I’ve made two recipes from (Serious) New Cook, the biscuit-topped chicken pot pie recipe and the flourless chocolate cake. Both were easy to follow and clearly written, though I will say that the chocolate cake didn’t turn out well for my friends and I (we underbaked it). The pot pie, however, converted my husband (he refuses to eat anything approaching a savory pie). I think we will definitely be making it again!
In all, I think this cookbook is a great resource for those newer to cooking and those who are looking to branch out and learn some new recipes for their kitchen repertoire. (Serious) New Cook came out in November 2022, so you can grab a copy from your bookstore of choice now!