We found 67 Reddit comments about Joy of Cooking: Joy of Cooking. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
Pie in the sky. Joy of Cooking.
Realistic between time and bankroll. A man a plan a can and it's follow up
Edit parentheses can suck it.
The Joy of Cooking a classic cookbook that never goes out of date. I learned to cook with my mother's copy.
When I started out, I relied most of the Fannie Farmer cookbook, to be honest, but something like The Joy of Cooking, Bittman's How To Cook Everything or Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food would be good, too. Joy is classic, simple recipes with clear instructions, aimed at beginners. Brown is excellent at explaining the science behind why reciepes work the way they do. Bittman emphasizes showing a technique, then showing lots of simple variations, allowing you to learn a skill and then apply it to different ingredients.
You might also take a look at Rhulman's Ratio --- for a certain sort of personaility, that book can be like a lightbulb going off. It's all about the common principles that underlay many sorts of recipes. Some people find it too abstract, especially if they're just starting (most actual recipes break his rules a little, one way or another), but if you're more of an abstract logical thinker it can be quite helpful.
But cooking in general can be quite diffucult to pick up from books --- techniques that are quite simple to demonstrate can be super difficult to describe. Youtube/the internet can be your friend, here --- Jacques Pepin, America's Test Kitchen, and Good Eats are all good at demonstrating and explaining technique. Check out the Food Wishes youtube channel, too --- Chef John is a former culinary instructor, and he demostrates a lot of classic techniques in the reciepes he does.
At the end of the day though, cooking's like Carnigie Hall. Think of stuff you like to eat, find a recipe for that stuff, and just go for it. If you start off making things you know and like, then it will be easier to tell if you're getting it right as you go along, and that I think is the most crucial and most difficult part of becoming a skilled cook --- being able to tell when something's ready vs. when it needs 5 more minutes, being able to tell if the batter looks right before you cook it, if something needs more seasoning and if so what kind. All that's mostly a karate kid, wax on, wax off thing --- you just got to keep making stuff in order to have the experience to tell when something's right.
I can't believe Joy Of Cooking has not been mentioned yet. This book (I have a 10 year old copy) is my go to reference for almost anything I ever want to know how to cook and any ingredient I want to learn how to use.
Joy of Cooking will provide you a solid foundation.
Joy of Cooking
How to Cook Everything
The Art of Simple Food
IF you already have a bug-in kit covering serious first aid, not just bandaids and Tums, water filtration, fire and cooking without power, etc......
The first two titles assume that you have at least some yard with reasonable sun access, or the potential for access to a community garden. (Could presently be a community park, a church lot, neighbor's land, whatever.) Books are presently roughly in the order that I'd replace them if my copies were lost. Buy used when you can. Some of these are available used for not much more than standard shipping.
The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It
Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times
Where There Is No Doctor
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
If you have no comprehensive cookbooks that cover a wide range of garden veggies and game recipes, something like Joy of Cooking is probably in order. The point being that one way or another you may have to get used to enjoying whatever can be had, from an abundance of zuchinnis to rabbit, to acorn meal.
If you are not (yet) handy, find an old copy of something like Reader's Digest How to Fix Everything in a used bookshop for maybe $4.
A regionally appropriate guide to edible and medicinal plants such as A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation
optional, but cheap, Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis
I'd also suggest picking up a copy of Joy of Cooking.
Best $23.10 you will spend on a cookbook. It covers EVERYTHING you would ever want to make. I can also vouch for the kick-ass chocolate chip cookie recipe.
It's a classic, but there is probably no cookbook I turn to more than The Joy of Cooking. It just seems to have everything. All of the recipes are pretty simple and easy to riff off of, and it'll give you a great baseline for just about anything.
I realize that you've asked for something more like a textbook, but I think you should consider The Joy of Cooking. It's got recipes, but it's also a fantastic reference for everything cooking-related. It can teach you how to make stocks, soup bases, prepare shellfish, pluck and dress a bird, roll pie dough, cook in a pressure cooker, can vegetables, smoke meats and fish, etc. The recipes will tell you what page to look on for any ingredients that require extra prep. I bought mine at a used book store for $6 (it's the 1975 version, but they also had a 1997 edition for $10 that I bought my sister). If you're trying to learn how to cook but not become a professional chef, I don't know if there's anything better.
EDIT: I also have this link saved of Alton Brown listing his favorite cookbooks. Ratio is one I've been meaning to pick up. I'll also mention that for all his shouting on other shows, I like Gordon Ramsay's "Cookalong" series quite a lot, and much of it is up on YouTube.
Excellent book not only gives good recipes - but also discusses important techniques. Will show you how to make amazing dishes AND discuss why you are doing what you are doing. Must have IMO. Also echo stra24's suggestion to The Joy of Cooking - those two books are all I use apart from internet recipes.
Honestly, one of the first things I do when I'm at someone's house is dig through their cookbooks. The three that I resort to at all times are:
[La Cucina] (http://www.amazon.com/Cucina-Regional-Cooking-Italy/dp/0847831477/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1464737488&amp;sr=8-2-spell&amp;keywords=La+Cusina)
[The Joy Of Cooking] (http://www.amazon.com/Joy-Cooking-Irma-S-Rombauer/dp/0743246268/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1464737648&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=Joy+Of+Cooking)
[Mastering The Art of French Cooking] (http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Art-French-Cooking-Set/dp/0307593525/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1464737689&amp;sr=1-3&amp;keywords=mastering+the+art+of+french+cooking)
joy of cooking
It has never failed me, their recipes are so solid, no matter what I decide to make.
joy of cooking is a good thing to have...
I get all my best recipes from good cook books. I highly recommend Cooks Illustrated ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/1933615893/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_KbjOAb6PBRC4Y ) and if you want to learn everything in and around food for any occasion then try Joy of Cooking ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/0743246268/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_TcjOAb55Z5TRH ).
I highly, highly suggest asking for a copy of "Joy of Cooking" as a send-off present.
I largely learned to cook using just that book. It has easy to follow directions on nearly every type of food (4500 recipes) and sections devoted to everything from carving up a chicken to the fundamentals of cooking eggs. Generations of Americans have learned to cook using it. The index and glossary are comprehensive and speedy to use as a reference as well.
In college, I found a second copy at Goodwill and left it in the bathroom. I probably read that copy 3 times and can now cook nearly anything from memory.
I recommend the Joy Of Cooking. I don't know how common it is and maybe it's a cookbook your grandparents will have on a shelf, but everyone has one in my family. It pretty much has a recipe for everything inside it, and a how to. Great for those who want to learn, and those who are seasoned in the kitchen. Every time I've found a disappointing recipe on the internet, the Joy of Cooking has always given me a positive second go around.
It's also my go to for Thanksgiving. This book will teach ya how to make a pretty damn good turkey.
Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook. Great little pictures of ingredients/recipes.
The Joy of Cooking. It's got a great baseline of knowledge and can provide a good context when you start cooking.
The Mennonite cookbook More with Less. This one will broaden your horizons and you'll find yourself cooking outside of your typical cuisines.
If you're going to cook, you'll need some basic tools. A saute pan, a large saucepan and a smaller saucepan should be good to start, along with a mixing bowl or two, a sheet pan, a casserole dish, a washable (plastic) cutting board, a couple of wooden spoons and some tongs. You'll need a couple of knives too - an 8" chefs knife and a smaller paring knife will take care of just about every job in the kitchen. Crazy gadgets aren't necessary for a beginner (and the more experienced you get the more you'll find they probably aren't necessary at all). Most everything you need can be procured at thrift stores or tag sales if you're on a tight budget. Stay away from older Teflon non-stick pans; if you feel more comfortable with non-stick over stainless, try to get anodized instead. To prevent accidents, keep your knives sharp.
Memorize or print this out: Safe Minimum Temperatures
Definitely always have salt, pepper and olive oil on hand. You probably don't need one of those all-in-one spice racks with every herb known to man in it; you'd be surprised how little of them you end up using. Fresh herbs are nearly always better, anyway. The main dried ingredients I keep on hand now are cumin, red pepper flakes, (about 6 varieties of) chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder.
Grab a couple of cookbooks (How To Cook Anything and The Joy of Cooking are awesome and include lots of different types of cuisine) and just try something you like. Start with recipes that don't have a lot of ingredients or steps. Start with recipes you know you like. If you don't understand what they mean when they tell you to do something, Youtube is definitely your friend.
Taste often. Don't feel like you have to stick to the book 100%. If something needs more pepper, a dash of hot sauce, a pat of butter, put it in. You are the one who has to eat it, so make it yours. Remember, you can always add more of something, but it's pretty tough to add less. Don't feel bad if it doesn't come out perfectly the first time, or the second. It seems daunting at first, but if you keep at it, it gets much easier.
Edited to add: http://www.reddit.com/r/cookingforbeginners
A classic! 1,200 pages and 4,500 recipes.
Start by learning to cook some of the foods that you eat from restaurants or buy boxed. Modify where appropriate.
Things like burritos are very easy. Make rice, add beans and assorted vegetables. You can buy pre-mixed seasonings for your beans, or just buy them already seasoned.
Soups and stews are also really easy. These are almost impossible to screw up.
Chop up an onion, two carrots, two ribs of celery and some garlic (1-3 cloves). Saute until semi-cooked. Add chicken (or veg) broth (canned or boxed is fine. Use low sodium, you can always add more salt.) Add (chopped cooked) chicken/turkey, potatoes/rice/pasta, and two or three of the following corn, peas, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers (any colour), broccoli, asparagus, turnip, and/or beans (green, lima, kidney, etc). Voila! Chicken vegetable soup! Just add bread for a very pleasant meal. This is great for cleaning out the fridge.
Roasting chickens is very easy and will provide several kinds of meals. You can eat the chicken for dinner, make sandwiches with the sliced meat or make chicken salad, and use the remaining meat for soup or pot pie.
Ultimately, you will want to buy a cookbook for beginners. The Joy of Cooking is a classic and highly recommended. They also have a website.
I would recommend a cookbook instead of looking up recipes on the internet. The authors will use the same style to write all of the recipes and after you make a few, you will get a feel for them. You will know how they like to begin, how salty/spicy their dishes tend to be, etc. This makes getting good results a lot easier. After you have a feel for the cooking process, you can branch out more easily to new foods, new recipes or new flavours.
Joy of Cooking. Dadrin finden sich wirklich Rezepte für alles. Die Erstauflage ist aus den frühen 30ern wo es noch keinerlei Fertigprodukte gab, deshalb findest du dort auch Rezepte für sämtliche Grundzutaten die man heute eigentlich selbstverständlich im Supermarkt findet. Wenn du aber mal selber eine Bouillon, Joghurt, Nudeln oder Butter herstellen willst findest du die Rezepte dafür auch in diesem Buch. Wenn du selber Muscheln oder Tintenfische oder sonstwelches Tier oder Gemüse zerlegen musst findest du hier gute Anleitungen. Ein Großteil des Buchs ist sämtlichen für die Zubereitung benötigten Techniken und Utensilien gewidmet. Selbst wie man für jegliche Gelegenheiten den Tisch deckt und Menüs zusammenstellt ist dort erläutert. Man erkauft sich diese breite Auswahl an Material halt durch Verzicht auf bunte Bilder, und die meisten Rezepte sind lediglich Grundrezepte zu denen noch ein paar Tipps gegeben werden, wie man sie variieren kann. Ganz allgemein regt das Buch auf jeden Fall dazu an selbst zu experimentieren. Ist das einzige Kochbuch was ich nach meinem letzten Umzug behalten habe und für mich die absolute Küchenbibel. Es sollte allerdings beachtet werden, dass die Mengenangaben ausschließlich in amerikanischen Einheiten angegeben sind, also lbs., cups, Tbsp. usw.
Thanks. I may buy a copy on payday
I got The Joy of Cooking for Christmas. I have only used it a couple times, but it is incredibly comprehensive. It is divided into sections like "Meat," "Fish," "Desserts," etc., and gives careful instructions on every cooking technique, kind of food, and anything else you would want to know about every recipe in there. It is almost too big though - very overwhelming. I have had nothing but success with it so far.
Start with recipes that you get from reputable sources. Get a cookbook like Joy of Cooking or spend some time on the food network. The Joy of Cooking can be a pretty daunting book. I find that watching videos can be very helpful if you're not confident because you actually see a person do what you're going to do - the ambiguity of language isn't there. I find Alton Brown to be one of the best in terms of clarity, but his recipes aren't always the healthiest. And if you do encounter a term that you don't know, look it up. Google will bring you to explanations and/or videos for pretty much any term that you find.
The hardest part of cooking for me (still) is when recipes say things like "cook until done." I always try to find recipes that state approximate cooking temperature and time, and I advise you do the same until you get the hang of it. And once I figure out a cooking time for a recipe that doesn't include it, I write it in (I re-type successful recipes in Word and keep them all in a folder on my computer).
Also, record what you do, whether it works or not. I'm a chemist, so this is a habit for me. I record recipes that I try and what went right and what went wrong. If I cooked over high heat for 10 minutes and the outside got burned while the inside didn't cook, I note that and note that I should try a lower temperature next time. Practice makes perfect.
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman is a good start along with The Joy of Cooking
Cooking isn't as fussy as people try to make it seem. Baking (especially high end baking) is fussy. Not so much with making meals. Take food add heat, never forget salt. That's one of the most important things about cooking, always remember to taste while you do it and add a dash of salt. Salt brings out the flavor of food. [This] (http://www.amazon.com/Walt-Disneys-Mickey-Mouse-Cookbook/dp/0307168123) was my first cookbook. Got it when I was like 6 or 7 and then graduated to The Joy of Cooking. One of the Great things about kid's cookbooks is that the recipes are designed to be cheap and easy. The instructions are very easy to follow, and the pictures have cartoon characters. How fun is that?
I understand from my experience recomending books on the cooking sub reddits that no one wants any information from books, only the internet. However there ARE BOOKS THAT EXIST IN REAL LIFE that can tell you everything you need to know about most aspects/disciplines of cooking. The one that has taught me the most is called THE JOY OF COOKING
The classic Joy of Cooking has baking basics as well.
Order Joy of Cooking and thank me later.
As far as cookbooks go, I would suggest just some basic ones such as Better Homes and Gardens Cookcook which has a bunch of basic recipes that you can elaborate yourself. For a little more specific but usually simple recipes, I'd suggest The Joy of Cooking; it has a bunch of usually pretty simple recipes and goes into some details about food pairing, knives and cuts of meat...
If you have trouble understanding some of the cooking terms or just want to know more about it, my mom gave me The Cordon Bleu's Cooking Techniques which gives instructions about how to cut and prepare vegetables, fruits, meats, etc... It also has some basic recipes in there for you. I use it a lot; I know you can look up these things online but I rarely ever bring my computer to the kitchen.
As far as knives go, I would buy a couple of high end ones that you would use frequently and, if you want more, you can buy the cheap ones that have serrated edges. I do have a lot of cutting and peeling of veggies and fruits, so I have 3 paring knives. One small one for small stuff. A Tourne Knife (paring knife that is curved w/ sharp edge facing inwards). And a larger paring knife that I use for cutting most vegetables. You probably don't need a Tourne knife unless you discovered that you do a lot of peeling. When I say I bought "expensive" ones, I mean I went to like Sur La Table and bought ones that were like 10 bucks each and not the 100-200 USD ones. After that all you probably need is a chef's knife. With those you can cut/peel/trim almost anything quite easily.
Kitchen scissors can be useful for cutting off fat of pieces of meat (or skin). I found a decent pair at Costco that wasn't too expensive. But you don't really need that. So if it is out of your budget, then don't get it.
Next up is tubberware (or whatever you want to call it). Make food for multiple people (even though it is just yourself), save it and throw it in the fridge for later. I do this and bring leftovers to work everyday. It saves me money from having to go out and I tend to eat healthier so it is ok.
I tend to make every week or two, a pound of brown ground beef w/ a basic tomato based sauce in there. From there I can make chili, pasta sauce, add a little more veggies and I throw it into bell peppers (which gets thrown in the oven - yum), etc... You can probably do multiple things w/ it. But it is nice when I have a long day at work and don't really feel like doing a lot of cooking; I can just throw together some pasta.
In the winter time, I tend to make some kind of big stew on weekends. It lasts me a couple of weeks and is very tasty and hearty when it is cold out. Stews involves cheap cuts of meat as you cook them for a long time so it tenderizes them.
That is all I can really think of right now. Feel free to message me.
fear cuts deeper than words
Edit #1 - Replaced #1 #2, #9, #13, #15, edited some text, added bonuses
Okay, so a lot of my items are similar, or are kind of "flexing" the rules, but I will leave official rulings up to you. Here goes!
The Joy of Cooking
I also like the Better Homes and Garden cookbook (a suggestion on that link) for basic, timeless recipes. Joy of Cooking has more "How To" areas in it.
EDIT: sorry, not really recipes you "can't mess up"; but a thorough, yet basic guide from everything to making pie crust, butchering meat, or peeling vegetables.
The Joy of Cooking has all of this and has stood the test of time to prove its value.
My best advice to you is to get items that multitask. It will save you money and space. Use your pots to cook rice in instead of getting a rice cooker. (Rice is insanely easy to cook on the stove, just follow the instructions.) Get a nice blender that will also blend ice.. Get a decent vacuum with attachments - but you could probably find one dirt cheap at a yard sale. I'd also suggest investing in some good [Corelle] (http://www.amazon.com/Corelle-Livingware-16-Piece-Dinnerware-Service/dp/B0000DDU2O/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1373456893&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=corelle+dinnerware) dishes. They are lightweight and last forever. One more thing, I'd recommend a good cookbook such as The Joy of Cooking. It'll even teach you how to boil an egg. You'll be surprised how much money you can save if you can cook the basics.
Also, talk to your roommates (I'm assuming you will have at least one roommate) and find out what they can contribute. Assuming that you are a broke college student like most everyone else (and will probably be graduating with thousands of dollars of debt) you don't want to spend a lot of money on things for your apartment - hence, the multitasking items. You'll find that you really don't need much!
well if you're looking for a cookbook, you cant really go wrong with The Joy of Cooking. It has pretty much everything ever. My Grandfather actually refers to this as the bible.
Not tech related but the first anniversary is considered the “paper” anniversary (technically that’s for weddings but whatever). You could look for a nice print or, going with the cooking motifs, get a copy of The Joy of Cooking (https://www.amazon.com/Joy-of-Cooking/dp/0743246268) and write a nice personalized note in it. It’s a classic and would be a good addition to any cooks kitchen.
Do yourself a favor and get a copy of The Joy of Cooking. If you can't afford it, get it second hand or ask for it for xmas or something. If you find a good and/or cheap ingredient, use the glossary to look it up, and there's usually information about it. Once you have the kitchen skills to follow a recipe reasonably closely, you're golden.
Another tip, think about a food you LOVE to eat (something reasonably healthy, whose ingredients are in your budget). Look up a recipe for that, then make it any time you don't know what else to make (why not make it every day?). Keep making it until it is exactly what you want, and you've internalized the recipe; then, move on to another dish.
My advice is to get stuff to measure as you cook, measuring cups, measuring spoons, a thermometer, and a scale. Try to be accurate when you cook.
Familiarize yourself with using knives. Find out how to do basic cuts. Get a chef's knife, everything else, buy as you need them. Do take care of your knife(s), keep them fairly sharp (sharp knives are safer than dull ones). Things shouldn't take lots of force to cut (if you do, you may be doing it wrong)
Familiarize yourself with fundamental techniques: roasting, sauteing, steaming, boiling, blanching. Easy, once you know how.
Everything else (pans/gadgets/dishes), buy as you need them.
In my experience, everything goes on sale at one time or another, so being able to process any given raw material into edible food is important. The more you cook, the better you'll be.
Also, I don't know if you have time, but some cooking shows are very good at teaching cooking. I really like good eats, which is available on netflix. Never be afraid to ask somebody how to do something.
for nutrition, head on over to your Health Care Provider's website. They should have many helpful articles on eating right. Failing that, check out WebMD's suggestions.
I'm gonna presume it's just you (for now at least). One of the things you'll notice about a lot of recipes out there is that the serving sizes. Check out r/CookingForOne.
Also look over r/AskCulinary. It has a great FAQ (covers books, equipment and ingredients for beginners and experts alike) and Index.
Watch some Julia Child and Alton Brown videos.
for books, head over to your used bookstore and get yourself a copy of The Joy Of Cooking, Ratio and The Flavor Bible. This last one will help you a LOT with your spices.
Yes, I'm suggesting that you spend money. But the equipment (knives, cast iron, etc) and books are an investment. And you don't have to get them all at once.
Finally, it's great when you find items on sale in the produce section of your local market. But if it spoils before you use it all, it's wasted money and food. This is when your local salad bar can be a great help.
Edit: get yourself a rice cooker/steamer. a simple one-button model is all you really need. Always perfect rice and you can steam your veggies in the basket as well. Much healthier. Also, once you get more confident, you can look up some copycat recipes for your favorite fast food restaurant items.
Personal bias, but I would pick a good cooking technique or cookbook. For example Complete Techniques is a very good technique book if you don't have it. Otherwise Joy of Cooking or How to Cook Everything are both good cookbooks to have.
The Joy of Cooking is a great basic book! It has a zillion very basic recipes that you can doctor and tweak based on your preferences. I've been annotating mine with my favorite variations, and it's fantastic. It teaches you how to do both complicated recipes and very basic things, too, which is really helpful.
Not a book, but I highly recommend everything Alton Brown has ever done. He has a YouTube channel and a few books, but Good Eats is how I learned. Good Eats is a great place to start because he explains the science behind why things work the way they do. Once you know why ingredients or techniques work, you have so much more independence in the kitchen. If a recipe isn't turning out the way I'd like, I can fix it based on what I know about the science behind what's happening. He also teaches you how to do things without complicated tools or specialized equipment, so it's also helped me build my kitchen tools up with things I use all the time.
If you want to learn the answers to these questions (or have an on-hand classic reference at any given time) I recommend The Joy of Cooking. It explains the result of the particular techniques and why it is important to prepare things a certain way. Often I find that there are perfectly delicious recipes that skip these techniques and work fine, but it is a good explanation of the classic way of doing everything. It is a great reference for cooking and baking.
Here you go dude, every household needs a copy
I'll also suggest "The Joy of Cooking"
A couple of other books that are filled with perfect and realistic versions of food everyone will recognize and want to eat are:
The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook
The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2014
These two books are very similar so you don't need both of them, but I think having at least one of them is essential.
You sound exactly like my fiancé. He's gotten better, but when we first started cooking together, I was always a little worried because he didn't seem to understand any of the basic kitchen skills I took for granted.
Although you've mentioned your girlfriend is too stressed/busy to cook, consider finding a time where she's actually free, and ask her to walk you through cooking a meal. Like she can demonstrate something and then you finish up, or she can be the one reading the recipe to you, and you just ask if you are unfamiliar with a term/concept or need help executing a task. That is good because then you'll also sort of learn to do it "her way" and she won't come in later to be like "why the heck are you chopping onions like this?? ahhh" (exaggeration there, but still.) Some people are very particular about kitchen things...
Definitely also recommend Good Eats and other cooking shows. There was a YouTube guy named something like "Bachelor Chef" that was really good and entertaining, and geared toward simple recipes for bachelors (or in your case, younger men with a limited skillset in the kitchen). Videos are good because then you just follow what they do and you begin to know what things look like (the difference between a chop, mince, and julienne, for example).
It might be helpful to pick up a cooking dictionary/glossary. My "cooking bible" is "Joy of Cooking" which has a pretty comprehensive index and list of terms, plus basic recipes for almost everything imaginable. Even in the age of the internet, a few hard-copy cookbooks are nice to have as a quick reference, especially if you don't have an ability or desire to bring your computer into the kitchen.
But anyway, just familiarizing yourself with a lot of the terms that appear in a recipe (such as sauté) and knowing basic measurement techniques and conversions (3 teaspoons to a Tablespoon). Oh yeah, and abbreviations for measurements, although most of them are fairly logical.
But really, just go out there and do it. Start small and/or semi-homemade; someone else mentioned doctoring a pasta sauce - that's a great start. Then begin to branch out, adding more and more different ingredients. Also start to develop your palate - be able to taste a sauce and figure out what flavors it needs to be better (if it's too bland, maybe it needs salt? But maybe it actually needs a little sweetness to balance the tartness of another ingredient). That's an invaluable skill as a home cook, because you can actually make a dish you love instead of someone else making something you sort of like, but would have changed.
Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
Kind of tradition in my family - when my mom got her first place my grandmother got her the Betty Crocker Cookbook. She got one for me, and I got one for my oldest when she moved out.
Now that my mom lives with me, I have inherited all of her cookbooks. The most-used one is the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook followed by the Joy of Cooking.
One of my personal favorites is the Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Cookbook. It has stuff that is easy to fix on nights when I don't have much time to spend in the kitchen. Honorable mention also goes to Desperation Dinners - another great one for quick and easy but tasty meals.
Most things I cook come from the internet, but I still love looking through my cookbooks to get ideas, plan meals for the week, and make a grocery list.
Have you tried the Joy of Cooking? I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for exactly, but I've been using it for years, it's my go to when I need to prepare a cut of meat I'm unfamiliar with.
Well one thing, aside from classes, is to pick up a copy of The Joy of Cooking. It's essentially a handy encyclopedia of cooking. Sure it's chock full of stuff you'll probably never use or make, but more importantly it has technique in it. Want to cook up some burgers? 4 minutes a side for Medium. Explains all sorts of stuff. So while a lot of dishes are fairly simple, if you don't know how to make them it seems daunting. Might help you out.
The Joy of Cooking
This is my go-to cookbook, as well as the Joy of Cooking, you can usually find an early edition at a used bookstore.
budgetbytes.com is great for relatively healthy and inexpensive food that tastes good. I've gotten some of my favorite recipes from there.
Also, Amazon is currently selling Joy of Cooking for 55% off right now. This is the mother of all cookbooks. It concentrates on giving no-nonsense, dependable recipes that you can add to and customize as you gain confidence as a cook, instructions for beginners to cooking, and information on a large number of common ingredients to help you stock your shelves. Not everything in it is healthy, but it is an AMAZING resource for anyone new to cooking. Hope that helps.
Everybody just do yourselves a favor, stop googling recipes, and buy a decent cookbook
While the classics are classic for a reason, they have a dirty little secret: they reflect the food tastes of the time in which they we written. I almost never cook anything from Mastering the Art anymore, because tastes have moved on.
Today, I would start a new cookbook collector with How to Cook Everything, any edition. 20 years ago, it would have been Joy of Cooking. 40 years ago Fannie Farmer. 60 years ago, Betty Crocker, which now doesn't even turn up on Amazon on the first search page. I own all those cookbooks - and a ton more, but Bittman is where to start now, IM (rarely)HO, because he reflects general tastes, techniques and availability of today. I wouldn't part with my Escoffier, but I read it for taste inspiration, not recipes these days.
This afternoon, I was editing my cookbook collection to make room for some more advanced books in a few areas and to eliminate some dated ones, so the topic is fresh on my mind. I will never part with some older books that have the stains and happy memories of many successful uses and some fun litigation from my book publishing days, but cooking is a dynamic art. Knowing how to develop a tin type will not make you a better digital photographer.
I'd say one of the first steps is to avoid turning the heat all the way on high on the burner - especially if you have Teflon pans.
For starters, just learn how to pan fry basic ingredients like potatoes and onions. Next, get some spices (or even spice mixes) and use your nose to guide that flavor. I know this might be really general, but most of cooking is just repeating basic steps.
A great cookbook is The Joy of Cooking. Don't be afraid of its size - it's a nice place that can help you learn how what you need to know about making food. It even has the rules for place-setting a table!
If she doesn't have a copy of McGee, it is worth picking up. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with The Joy of Cooking.
Or, like BBallsagna said, anything by Rick Bayless.
I bought my Joy of Cooking as a poor college student. It is now 26 years old, and it will be handy to the kitchen for the rest of our days. Terrific book.
Alton Brown's your man, via TV, the web and the first book, especially. I'm Just Here For The Food is a better teaching book than Joy, though nothing beats Joy's comprehensiveness.
And, IMHO, Julia Child is the woman, though I'd recommend her The Way To Cook as the one book to get, if you have to pick one. We actually carry it with us when we travel for Thanksgiving. I was going to leave our copy at the in-laws, but my wife didn't want to part with it, even though I was going to order another one. Mrs. Child considered it her magnum opus, and she designed it carefully to teach someone how to cook.
What everyone says about 'just try it' and 'tweak your recipes' is true. Practice is where it's at, but informed practice will get you where you want to go much more quickly.
Happy cooking and Bon Appetit!
I also second The Joy of Cooking, and would like to add the following to your list:
Let's face it, there is no ramen "like a boss". Pick up Mastering the Art of French Cooking and/or The Joy of Cooking.
Leave the ramen for the peons.
the number of cook books over 500 pages, made before 2000 is innumerable BUT we can probably narrow it down to the few books that are super common. First thing that comes to mind is "Joy of Cooking" which is extremely common. Joy of Cooking
although if you were before 2000 the cover probably looked more like this : Joy of Cooking 1997
did i get it?
Good for you!
A few cook books I would recommend are compendium types. They are not good for keto, but they have recipes for everything, so if you don't have experience, you can find lots of possibilities.
The Joy of Cooking
How to Cook Everything
The Good Eats Compendiums 1, 2, & 3.
And we use Cooks Illustrated magazine more than anything.
Don't worry about exact measurements. Except for baking, that matters. But if you don't like salt, add less. If you really like lemon on your fish, and it only calls for a little, fuck them. Learning how to cook chicken is a good start, so is pasta or a stir fry. Fish is also pretty easy, except a lot of people cook it way too long. Grab a decent cookbook. I REALLY recommend Joy Of Cooking ( https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Cooking-Irma-S-Rombauer/dp/0743246268 ), I don't really need another book. It covers basically everything, from how to set a table and choose the right kitchen equipment to all out fancy shit that you'll never need, and explains everything ELI5 style.
Edit: Oh, and YouTube is an AMAZING resource (and not the celebrity chef videos, although Ramsay does some useful ones). Even if you get overwhelmed by a recipe, it'll click once you see a video of a real person doing it. Plus, they usually respond to comments, and often the question is already asked and answered (a huge one is "what can I substitute for this").
Joy of Cooking is a classic.
Joy of Cooking and America's Test Kitchen Cookbook are both super highly recommended cookbooks based on both recipes and their value as references when learning new techniques