Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book seems to be all the rage among many of the people that I know. Some use it frequently, some just use it as a backup, but all tell me it's positively not something to live without. Before I had one, I didn't think it could offer me anything that I couldn't just look up online. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong...
It just so happened that I received a copy of the book in the family gift-exchange on Christmas this year. Let me tell you, it has everything I could ever want within it's pages, and much more! I was in total awe the first time I opened it up. Now that I've gotten acquainted with it's contents and have begun putting them to good use, I shudder at my former ignorance. Here's a break-down of what I think are a few of the book's most useful and handy qualities:
1. It's spiral-bound, like a binder, making it unnecessary to wrestle with it; It will lay flat on the counter all by itself. The pages are 3-hole punched, allowing for easy removal in case you need to put a single page in front of you while you're cooking.
2. The recipes are all sectioned-off in categories, each category having its own tab. This makes it much easier to find what you're looking for, and flip to it quickly. Trust me, it's more than helpful, considering the sheer number of recipes included in the book.
3. The book has an introduction that basically works as a how-to, fully equipped with pictures. It shows you how to do things like, chop, shred, dice, etc. It provides a detailed explanation of basic cooking utensils you need to have on hand, and how best to use them. There is even a conversion chart for substituting one spice for another! This is perfect for those who are just learning how to cook!
4. The instructions for recipes are in extreme detail, leaving nothing up for interpretation. It is there on the page for you, plain and clear. If you happen to run across something you don't understand (like, maybe you don't know what it means to 'sautee'), you can bet it's spelled out for you in the front of the book!
5. Let's not forget about the recipes themselves! The very first meal I made from this book was the baked potato soup with corn bread. Let's just say, I must have gained 8 pounds after going back for thirds that night. I've felt just about the same way about the other recipes I've tried since then, as well. Although I think I've learned a little bit about self control...
As it turns out, the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook may be relatively new to me, but it's been around for decades. When fellow Hubpages member Sally's Trove informed me that the book has quite a history under its belt, and suggested that I do some poking around, I did. I have to admit that I was surprised to find out just how much the New Cook Book has been through. The first edition was published over eighty years ago, right when the Great Depression hit. It was entirely unique to anything available at the time, and revolutionized cookbooks as we knew them. It was the first to be published in the spiral-bound format, and it was the first to use great detail in the recipe instructions. It didn't stop there, though. As the times evolved, so did this book. New and updated editions were published as needed, including new recipes, ingredients, cooking styles, and even technologies as society developed and evolved. In 1935, five years after the original publication, the title was changed from the "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" to "New Cook Book", and in 1940 it adopted it's famed red checkered design. Since then, it's been widely recognized as THE Cookbook to own and use, remaining at the top of the list to this very day.
I now very much enjoy taking advantage of the cooking expertise that is available to me, right in my own kitchen! The recipes are abundant and are all so easy to follow. They include household items, stuff everyone has on-hand or can obtain very cheaply. I have not yet been disappointed with a single recipe from this book, and I don't expect I ever will. If you don't have one already, go out and get yourself one, now! It is well worth it!