Cookbooks For Beginners Of All Ages

By Rhea Frazier

Books always make good gifts, especially when thoughtfully chosen. Although not everyone is a great reader, most people do like to eat. Preparing food for oneself and for others is not an innate skill; it must be learned. Cookbooks for beginners are useful and never need to be boring, since there is a wide variety available.

There are literally more cooking guides than anyone could use, because this is such a popular subject and an important part of life. One of the great classics, like the Joy of cooking, makes a great wedding present. The huge volume has recipes from all over the world, but it also has a lot of basic information. Novice cooks can learn what makes bread rise and how to get a crust on a French baguette, how to substitute one ingredient for another, and why sifting flour makes a cake better.

Classics of another type - exclusively American - are the many volumes from the Betty Crocker kitchen. These books - which include those for children, for family cooking, and for special holidays - specialize in quick, easy-to-prepare dishes. Chocolate chip cookies, hearty stews, macaroni and cheese casseroles, meat loaf, and apple pie are perennial favorites.

There are some great collections that feature canned soups as main ingredients. These are often for casseroles, but include pot roast and chicken pot pie. Gravies are quick and easy when cream of mushroom or celery soup is combined with browned meat in a skillet and left to simmer.

Today there are lots of specialty diet books, which tell people how to cut the fat but keep the flavor, make desserts without sugar, be a healthy vegetarian, or make low-carbohydrate meals. If you or someone you know is starting a lifestyle-changing regime, a targeted cookbook can be a thoughtful and appreciated gift. Eating like a caveman, like a rabbit, or like a fruit-bat is not instinctive for humans, after all.

For kids, there are colorful kitchen companions that discuss how to make hot dogs and beans, cupcakes, cookies, and saltwater taffy. Elderly relatives may be trying to cut their sodium intake or make tasty food that is never, never fried. Teens may need to know the nutritional values of leafy greens - and what they are, even. Couples may appreciate books on easy meals for entertaining or ways to impress at a pot-luck dinner.

A gift of a crock-pot makes a great housewarming or wedding present, and if a specialized cookbook is included, it's even better. Blenders or panini grills are also fun, and many people have never experimented with them. Guidance in using any new appliance will always be appreciated. Even those who have all the gadgets will enjoy new ideas on using them.

Everyone should learn how to prepare food for its flavor as well as its nutritive value. We all could use some new ideas to get out of the food ruts we're in. The right introduction to new foods, new methods, or new implements can make a useful, thoughtful gift that keeps on giving.

About the Author:


Post a Comment