Book Review | James Beard’s American Cookery
Author: James Beard
I have a wonderful cookbook collection and occasionally one comes along that just blows me away….that is what happened when I received James Beard’s American Cookery. I am embarrassed to admit that I was not very familiar with James Beard but I became inspired to learn more after reviewing the American Cookery.
James Beard has been hailed the “dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954 and “laid the groundwork for the American Food Revolution.” Long before the Food Network, James Beard hosted the first food program on television in 1946. He established the James Beard Cooking School and taught for over 30 years. When he passed away in 1985 he left a profound legacy and is considered the “pioneer” of American regional cuisine.
James Beard’s American Cookery is so much more than a cookbook even though it contains over 1,500 recipes. It is also an enjoyable and informative read that has educated me on so many cooking topics. I love that it provides the history and origin of many American foods and I found myself immersed in reading it, not just using it for the recipes. For example there is a fascinating chapter on “Game” that can in really handy when we received fresh venison steaks and roasts. I didn’t have the slightest idea what to do with it but I didn’t want it to go to waste so I went straight to James Beard’s American Cookery to find out how to best prepare it. There was a wealth of information about preparing game meats and I felt much more confident when I prepared the venison steaks…..it was surprisingly delicious.
As I was browsing through all of the recipes I got very excited to find a recipe that I have been searching for since my grandmother passed way (sadly she never wrote down her recipes). We are French Canadian and every Christmas she would prepare the most delicious Tourtiere which is essentially a meat pie. I couldn’t believe that after all that searching there was the recipe in front of me to make for my family. It tasted almost exactly like my grandmother’s recipe and was such a thrill for me to see my family enjoying a classic recipe that my grandmother made for me as a little girl.
James Beard’s American Cookery with a foreword by Chef Tom Colicchio (a favorite judge of mine from Top Chef) is going to become a well worn fixture in my kitchen. These are the types of cookbooks that are handed down from generation to generation. What a wonderful addition to any kitchen and would make an excellent gift for a new bride, holiday present or simply for your own cookbook collection. Now if you will please excuse me I am off to make the Never Fail Fudge recipe that sounds wonderful for the holidays and for gift giving!
To learn more about James Beard you can go to http://www.jamesbeard.org/
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*