The Fireside Cook Book is designed for people who are not content to regard food just as something one transfers periodically from plate to mouth. It is for those who recognize that a simple family meal (as well as a dress-up dinner party) can be a pleasure and a special event.
The wide variety of I-can't-wait-to-try-it dishes in the book are presented according to a new and different theory. You will find here no attempt to overwhelm the cook with all the recipes ever concocted. Instead, you will find clear, easy-to-follow instructions for the basic preparation of every food, followed in each case by fascinating variations. The basic recipes and variations add up to 1,217 tested dishes -- simple enough for the novice, delicious enough for the most meticulous master chef, complete enough for the most imaginative menus without a repetition.
A detailed chapter is devoted to the art of outdoor cookery, another to the preparation of hors d'oeuvres, cocktail snacks, and supper snacks. There is an entire section of suggested menus subdivided into cold weather meals and summer doldrum hints. There is also a complete section on wines and liquors.
The 36 full-color pictures and the nearly 400 other color pictures are themselves full of helpful invention. Handsome double-page spreads employ visual-aid methods to give practical details about, and special uses of, cuts of meat, varieties of wine, and types of fish.
Here, in short, is a book that is an indispensable addition to every American home in which good food is appreciated. It is a book to use constantly, to pore over with delight, and give to all friends from whom you can reasonably expect a future dinner invitation.
About James Beard
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Published October 21, 2008
by Simon & Schuster.