The best cookbooks for beginners should not only have great recipes, but they must also provide a basic education on food and cooking. That first cookbook for a new home chef can be the difference between enjoying great homemade family meals versus giving up and resorting back to take-out and fast-food.
This article discusses important elements a cookbook should have for new cooks. We also recommend the one cookbook to get first, and how you can find some sample recipes to try out right away.
What Beginners Need In A Cookbook
- Recipes – I know, pretty obvious that a cookbook should have recipes. But there are so many recipes in cookbooks and on the Internet that simply do NOT work! It is especially important for beginners to have real working recipes that are simple, easy to follow and works to produce a great tasting meal consistently.
- Basic Cooking Education – A beginner’s cookbook must provide some basic cooking education. You cannot just pick-up a recipe with list of ingredients and steps, and then execute it. For example, a baking recipe that calls for 1 cup of flour may need to be lightly “spooned in” to the measuring cup and leveled off with a butter knife. A beginner might just scoop up a packed/dense heaping cup of flour that would be way too much. A simple step like measuring out a cup of flour is not that obvious to a beginner. Imagine what else they may do without some basic cooking education.
- Kitchen Equipment Guide – It is also likely that a new cook will not have all the equipment they need in their kitchen. With all the kitchen gadgets and infomercials on the market, they may waste money and clutter up their kitchen with junk they do not need. Beginners need a cookbook that discusses kitchen equipment, how to use one and even better, make solid recommendations on functionality, quality and price. Another great example is checking your oven. In my favorite cookbook, one of the first things it talks about is checking your oven temperature. Oven temperature readings are often inaccurate. You may follow and execute a recipe perfectly, but if your oven temperature is wrong, that dish is not going to come out right. A great cookbook will help a beginner (and even experienced cooks) to avoid these kind of cooking issues.