What you need most in your kitchen, according to cookbook authors


Buy stand mixers from a kitchen store

“Today’s kitchen stores are wonderfully exciting places to browse,” said the Boston Globe Cookbook said, somewhat unnecessarily, in the 1980s. It’s a reminder that not so long ago cookbook authors were loath to tell readers how to outfit their kitchens.

“Kitchen utensils and equipment are extremely individualistic and personal objects,” said the World The cookbook continued, devoting only one paragraph to the type of equipment a cook might need. In fact, readers were told to figure out what they needed, buy the best they could afford, and use it wisely — advice that seems as hazy as Boston Harbor in January.

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How things have changed. Cookbooks are no longer just recipe-focused instruction manuals. These days, authors recommend which equipment and ingredients to buy in order to get the best results.

“The recipes in this book are designed to augment the tools in your toolbox, one at a time,” says Greg Wade, author of bread head and James Beard Award-winning managing partner at Chicago’s Publican Quality Bread.

Wade is one of the authors and chefs who devotes a lot of space in their books to guiding readers to the ideal equipment and ingredients. Sometimes these suggestions come early in the book, before we get to the recipes; other times they are hidden in the back.

I looked through five cookbooks published this year to see how their recommendations stacked up against each other. These cookbooks are:

Here’s what today’s cookbook authors want you to stock in your kitchen.

Basic kitchen equipment

Each of these cookbooks includes a section on the type of kitchen equipment (or, in Hirsch’s case, drink-mixing accessories) you should have on hand before you get started.

Crapanzano and Wade agree that beginner bakers should have a stand mixer, kitchen scales and oven thermometer. Wade wants bakers to have a clay baker or a cast iron loaf pan. Crapanzano offers standard (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch) and large (9 x 5 inch) loaf pans as well as round cake pans of approximately 8, 9 and 10 inches.

Hirsch thinks a basic bar should have a two-ounce jigger, shaker, mixing glass (so your drinks can be shaken or stirred), three types of strainers, a pestle, and a selection of glassware.

The Most Important Pantry Items

With a magazine, radio show, TV show and online instructions in Milk Street’s expansive portfolio, Christopher Kimball’s business maintains a pantry in Boston that’s constantly stocked with essentials like fresh tomatoes. canned, tuna, cereals and beans. But Kimball says these kitchen heroes “need a little help sometimes.”

Cook what you have includes a list of 25 essential ingredients that Kimball thinks home cooks should have on hand, such as anchovies, bacon, capers, sesame seeds, tahini and plain rice vinegar.

Bhatt does him better. I’m from here includes three pages of recommended spices along with recipes for making the spice blends used in her recipes. He also advises cooks to have a supply of peanut or canola oil, and they will need a supply of rice. He prefers basmati because of its aromatic quality, but any long-grain rice should do.

This shopping list might seem daunting if you’re new to the Indian-South fusion style of Bhatt’s book, so he helpfully provides a short version.

“Don’t let a missing ingredient keep you from trying a recipe,” Bhatt writes. “In most recipes, I suggest the best pot or pan for the task at hand. If it’s not on your shelf, use what you have and cook.

The best type of flour, according to experts

These cookbooks give you a way to taste the taste of the end result, even if you can’t visit Bhatt in Oxford, Mississippi, bring home Wade’s bread from Chicago, or catch up with Crapanzano in Paris or New York. These writers all have one key ingredient in common: premium flour.

Reflecting the wide range of his recipes, Wade shares his thoughts on different types of grains: rye, millet, buckwheat, rice, corn, sorghum, spelled, oats and, of course, wheat. Then in wheat he explains cake flour, pastry flour, all purpose flour, bread flour and high gluten flour.

Since Crapanzano primarily focuses on cakes, her flour selection includes all-purpose, cake, and nut flours (almonds and hazelnuts, which she keeps in her freezer). Crapanzano warns that American flour and French flour are different: there is no all-purpose flour in France, and cake flour and pastry flour are different things. To keep things accessible to the average baker, she sources her flour from King Arthur Baking.

Bhatt advocates keeping chickpea flour on hand – “Love its nutty flavor,” he writes. Often chickpea flour is available in both coarse and fine grains. If you have a choice, choose the good.

How Cookbooks Offer Variations on a Theme

Beyond their suggestions for particular pantry items and kitchen utensils, these books share a reassuring similarity: they present basic recipes, then offer variations so the user can dress them up however they like. ‘hears.

One of the first recipes I learned to make from my French family was the classic yoghurt cake, in which a small pot of yoghurt is used to measure things like flour, sugar, milk and, of course , yogurt. Crapanzano goes one step further with more than half a dozen versions of yogurt cake, including flavors such as orange, almond, lemon, and mint, and it also has a yuzu version.

Bhatt actually organizes his book by ingredient, so you get plenty of suggestions on what to do with, say, your tomatoes, including several soup recipes, Turkish tomato salad, tomato chutney, and his delicious green tomato pie.

Right on the cover of her book, Kimball tells readers they’ll be able to “make a meal out of almost anything.” And he proves it by showing how frozen corn and peas can be turned into Japanese-style rice or a delicate risotto. Unlike aloof cookbook authors of the past, you feel like Kimball would walk you to the freezer section and start throwing bags into your cart, just as Wade would guide you to the right flour, or Crapanzano would cheer you on. to make a yogurt cake for dinner, just the way you deserve it.

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