SCIENCES

How To Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way To Cook Great Food

HMH. Oct. 2014. 1056p. photos. index. ISBN 9780470936306. $35. COOKING
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The latest addition to Bittman's best-selling "How To Cook Everything" series focuses on homemade meals made with minimal work. Bittman has ditched the traditional practice of mise en place (preparing all ingredients in advance) in favor of a "real-time cooking" method that maximizes efficiency. In introductory sections, he advocates a less-is-more approach to stocking a kitchen and pantry, telling readers which shortcuts are useful (canned beans) and which should be skipped (pregrated Parmesan). Hundreds of recipes are smartly speedy—three-cheese lasagna substitutes egg roll wrappers for uncooked noodles, and unstuffed cabbage eliminates a traditionally time-consuming step. Prep and cooking instructions, denoted by contrasting colors, are easy to read, and sidebars offer variations, notes, and suggested side dishes. The recipes mostly stand alone; readers who'd like an efficient method for multicourse meals may enjoy Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes.
VERDICT Bittman's latest is fantastic for busy, novice, and noncooks. It's also a practical tool for anyone who aspires but struggles to cook more often.

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