The 6 Best Cookbooks on How to Cook Anything: Best Gifts for Cooks

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MARK BITTMAN is the author of thirty acclaimed books, including the How to Cook Everything series, the award-winning Food Matters, and the New YorkTimes number-one bestseller, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00. For more than two decades his popular and compelling stories appeared in the Times, where he was ultimately the lead food writer for the Sunday magazine and became the country’s first food-focused Op-Ed columnist for a major news publication. Bittman has starred in four television series, including Showtime’s Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously. 

He has written for nearly every major newspaper in the United States and many magazines and has spoken at dozens of universities and conferences; his 2007 TED talk has had more than a million views. In 2015 he was a distinguished fellow at the University of California, Berkeley; he is currently a fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Throughout his career Bittman has strived for the same goal: to make food, in all its aspects, understandable.

Bittman's six books on how to cook anything:

  • How to Cook Everything
  • How to Cook Everything The Basics
  • How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
  • How to Cook Everything Fast
  • How to Bake Everything
  • How to Grill Everything

1. How to Cook Everything―Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition: Simple Recipes for Great Food

The 6 Best Cookbooks: How to Cook Anything

For twenty years, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything has been the definitive guide to simple home cooking. This new edition has been completely revised for today’s cooks while retaining Bittman’s trademark minimalist style—easy-to-follow recipes and variations, and tons of ideas and inspiration.

Promising review: I purchased this as a gift for a young and enthusiastic cook on my list after hearing the author interviewed on NPR, but I like it so much that I may buy a copy for myself. It's full of basic recipes with many suggestions for interesting twists and variations. This is NOT filled with recipes requiring obscure or hard to find gourmet ingredients. Rather, it is for everyday, creative cooking with ingredients that most people already have on hand or are available from the nearest market. I used to love my 1970s version of Joy of Cooking, but it's literally falling apart, so perhaps it is finally time to update. Bittman's modern basic cook book, which has nice large, easy to read type, and plenty of helpful tables, illustrations, and photos, fits the bill. This is a winner, destined to become a classic - cachkn46.

Get it for $19 from Amazon.

2. How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1,000 Photos

How to Cook Everything The Basics

Mark Bittman's highly acclaimed, bestselling book How to Cook Everything is an indispensable guide for any modern cook. With How to Cook Everything The Basics he reveals how truly easy it is to learn fundamental techniques and recipes. From dicing vegetables and roasting meat, to cooking building-block meals that include salads, soups, poultry, meats, fish, sides, and desserts, Bittman explains what every home cook, particularly novices, should know.

1,000 beautiful and instructive photographs throughout the book reveal key preparation details that make every dish inviting and accessible. With clear and straightforward directions, Bittman's practical tips and variation ideas, and visual cues that accompany each of the 185 recipes, cooking with How to Cook Everything The Basics is like having Bittman in the kitchen with you.

Get it for $23 from Amazon.

3. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Ten years ago, this breakthrough cookbook made vegetarian cooking accessible to everyone. Today, the issues surrounding a plant-based diet—health, sustainability, and ethics—continue to resonate with more and more Americans, whether or not they’re fully vegetarian. This new edition has been completely reviewed and revised to stay relevant to today’s cooks: New recipes include more vegan options and a brand-new chapter on smoothies, teas, and more. Charts, variations, and other key information have been updated. And, new for this edition, the recipes are showcased in bright full-color photos throughout. With these photos and a host of recipes destined to become new favorites, this already classic vegetarian cookbook will continue to be more indispensable than ever.

Get it for $24 from Amazon.

4. How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food

How to Cook Everything Fast

In How to Cook Everything Fast, Mark Bittman provides a game plan for becoming a better, more intuitive cook while you wake up your weekly meal routine with 2,000 main dishes and accompaniments that are simple to make, globally inspired, and bursting with flavor.

Get it for $25 from Amazon.

5. How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking

How to Bake Everything

Promising review: Got this for my sister for Christmas. She loves to bake and now she loves this book. Her daughter in law has health issues and can't eat gluten, dairy or eggs. She says this book offers alternative ways to bake the recipes to accommodate those problems and describes substitutes for prohibited ingredients. She is an experienced baker with other cookbooks but this now her go-to cookbook for baking - Tome Toad.

Get it for $24 from Amazon.

6. How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food

How to Grill Everything

Here’s how to grill absolutely everything—from the perfect steak to cedar-plank salmon to pizza—explained in Mark Bittman’s trademark simple, straightforward style. Featuring 1,000 recipes and variations, plus Bittman’s practical advice on all the grilling basics, this book is an exploration of the grill’s nearly endless possibilities. Recipes cover every part of the meal, including appetizers, seafood, meat and poultry, vegetables (including vegetarian mains), and even desserts.

Get it for $17 from Amazon.


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