Twenty is organized into, you guessed it, 20 chapters, each focused on a fundamental ingredient (salt, onion, egg, butter, sugar, acid) or method (roast, poach, grill, fry, chill). Each chapter begins with a short (2-3 page) explanation of the topic and key tips for understanding and, by extension, success. The concise, plain-English explanations even helped me during culinary school.
My favorite chapter is Chapter One: Think. At a high level, putting thought into a menu ahead of time will help bring balance to the meal, will sort out what can be done ahead so that the last hour isn’t a circus in the kitchen. On a detailed level, so many mistakes are avoided by re-reading recipes and having the discipline to prepare a mis en place. These are things that professional chefs do that will immediately elevate your cooking. Think.
Good for: Everything from breakfast eggs to an elegant dinner. All around good cookbook for mastering skills.
Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn to be able to cook without a recipe.
Peter Berley honed his skills as a vegetarian chef at Angelika Kitchen in New York City and cooking for his “blended” family of meat-eaters and vegetarians. The book is organized by menu and by season, with each menu designed for you to prepare the vegetarian and meat-based dishes simultaneously without additional work. This an elegant way to entertain when you have a mixed crowd for dinner.
I have also found it really brilliant for reducing meat in my repertoire. The recipes are sophisticated and will leave meat-eaters feeling sated despite the lack of animal protein on the plate.
Good for: dinner parties, weekend dinners. Sea Bass or Tofu with Soy Butter Sauce, Quinoa with Green Beans and Corn
Highly recommended for people who entertain, meat-eaters with vegetarian friends/family, vegetarians with meat-eating friends/family, and those trying to broaden their diet
Jules Clancy’s popular blog, thestonesoup.com, focuses on quick easy recipes made mainly from pantry items. It isn’t gimmicky at all. These are recipes that can truly be made in less than 10 minutes and are brilliant for desk lunches and weeknight dinners. This cookbook is just as good as the blog. I gave this cookbook as a gift to my sister and she uses it as much as I do.
Good for: desk lunches, quick dinners. Helps make healthful decisions easy. You CAN make a delicious chickpea, kale and Parmesan salad in less time than it takes to reheat a burrito.
Highly recommended for beginners, busy people, healthy eating.