The New Best Recipe: Cook’s Illustrated’s Cooking Bible

Even if you're a beginning cook, this book will help you perfect your skills.

If your attempts at culinary genius have been scarred with gloopy pasta dishes, fallen soufflés and molar-breaking brownies, you’ve probably converted your oven into extra shoe storage and resigned yourself to a lifetime of TV dinners and take-out pizza.

So what if you can barely boil water? Don’t throw in the apron yet — there’s still hope for you, thanks to The New Best Recipe cookbook, your personal guide to never-fail gastronomy from the fine folks at Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

Each of the 1,000 recipes in this weighty tome has been tested with minor variations in ingredients and cooking procedures — 20, 30, sometimes hundreds of times —until the obsessive kitchen crew comes to a consensus on culinary perfection. The result is an encyclopedia of all things edible, featuring a three-page treatise on homemade mac ‘n cheese, a taste test for store-bought pickles, and a step-by-step diagram for planning out Thanksgiving dinner, just to name a few.

The truth is, there’s no such thing as a culinary wizard — it all comes down to science. These cookbook authors got straight A’s in high-school chemistry and thankfully they’re willing to share their notes with you. The Cook’s Illustrated team may be geeks, but they’re geeks with a purpose: teaching the world to cook. And if you already know your way around the kitchen, The New Best Recipe is all you need for a proper ace up your sleeve. Though come to think of it, the book weighs more than five pounds — so you may just want to leave it on the counter instead. It’s $23.10 from Amazon, marked down from $35. Buy it here.

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