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Can you recommend a basic cookery book?

(31 Posts)
Badgerwife Thu 04-Oct-12 18:07:59

My brother in law is utterly clueless when it comes to cooking, but very keen to learn as his rubbish diet is starting to seriously damage his health (he's in his early 30s).

I would quite like to offer him a cookery book for Christmas but don't quite know which would be best!

When I say he is clueless, I mean that he wouldn't know how long to boil an egg, so we are talking basic recipes with pictures!

I've got Delia's How to Cook, but I suspect it's a bit too wordy for him.

Any ideas?

4merlyknownasSHD Mon 08-Oct-12 14:53:04

First Steps in the Kitchen by Maureen O'Connor. First published in the early 70s when I was given my copy, but still available on Amazon. Basic but very good. Things like Treacle Tart, Rice Pudding, Steak & Kidney pie and Spag Bol . It has probably been updated to include things like Mediterranean CousCous which didn't feature on the radar back then.

fossil97 Sat 06-Oct-12 18:38:05

This is not a Jamie Oliver love-in but the simpler books do seem to hit the spot with basic manageable recipes but that use proper ingredients and have a bit of flair. We like Jamie's Dinners here as well.

Also for the OP's BIL or whoever it was, Ministry of Food starts with a list and pictures of utensils and ingredients so he can't fail to know what a wok or box grater is!

netto I find that with a lot of Jamie books. I use them loads to start with then the meals just become part of my normal repertoire. Jamie at home has loads of recipes that I do without even thinking about it any more.

NettoSuperstar Sat 06-Oct-12 13:50:21


It's a great book though, simple, tasty family meals, that don't cost the earth or contain hard to source ingredients.

It's actually one of my least used now, but only because I've used it so much in the past, I know most of the recipes by heart!

GoldenPrimrose123 Sat 06-Oct-12 13:38:23

This is a little embarrassing.

I'm not a great cook at all, and would like to improve, so I read this thread with interest. I liked the idea of Jamie's Ministry of Food book, so I looked it up on amazon, had a good look and came close to buying it. I thought I'd just check with DH first, as he has a few Jamie Oliver books, and I thought he might have something similar.

I forgot all about it and went off to do something else. I was looking for something different, and guess what I've found on MY OWN bedside table? Yes, the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food. blush In my defence, I didn't put it there, DH must have been looking at it and just dumped it there.

I'm so glad I didn't buy it from Amazon!

StrawberrytallCAKE Fri 05-Oct-12 22:00:56

YY Jamie

petitfiloser Fri 05-Oct-12 21:53:04


Badgerwife Fri 05-Oct-12 21:52:19

Step by step pictures?! That's totally what I want. Ministry of Food it is then!

I would second either Ministry of Food or Cook with Jamie. I like Jamie because I find its very much stuff that you can cook quickly after work. Plenty of pasta dishes, curries etc. I like Delia but ime Jamie would appeal more to a 30 year old novice

FireOverBabylon Fri 05-Oct-12 16:58:29

How about Len Deignton's cook book? I've seen copies in Home bargains so you might get one as a cheap stocking filler in addition to a proper book.

It is a serious cook book though, not some pastiche.

NettoSuperstar Fri 05-Oct-12 16:57:21

Another vote for Jamie's Ministry, great book for new cooks.

fossil97 Fri 05-Oct-12 16:55:02

The good thing about Ministry of Food is that it covers all the basics that you actually want to eat on a week by week basis, not fancy pants stuff. Pies. Roasts. 4 or 5 variations on curry. Ditto Chinese. Vegetables. Stew. Bolognaise. And there are step by step pictures and a good clear photo of the finished dish. Far better than most other Jamie Oliver books in fact!

MrsJohnDeere Fri 05-Oct-12 16:49:49

A other vote for Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food. Very good on the basics, but with a good range of different meal types.

somebloke123 Fri 05-Oct-12 10:51:55

This is good and simple I think, with basic and good recipes explained in comic strip format:

poachedeggs Fri 05-Oct-12 06:46:59

I also like Jamie's Ministry of Food - I think the attractive thing is that he doesn't get too tied up with weights and measures, and gives a new cook the confidence to just chuck things in.

In your shoes, whatever you give him, I'd type up my favourite staple recipes (bolognese, shepherd's pie, carbonara, some soups etc along with some basic stuff like how to cook pasta, eggs,vegetables, a cheese sauce, a tomato sauce ...) then laminate them.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Oct-12 06:44:03

I don't think you can beat Delia.

sashh Fri 05-Oct-12 06:32:30

I was about to say Delia - I find her recipes are great for someone who can't cook.

The Hermes House books are also good, each one has a section at the beginging explaining things like where a cut of meat is from and utensils.

I don't know if they have a basic 'all round' book, I have 'meat', 'mexican' and 'Spanish' and they are big glossy books that cost about £2.50 from The Works.

WowOoo Thu 04-Oct-12 18:35:16

I agree with GraceK.
I learnt all the basics from Delia.
Hsome Good Housekeeping ones as a wedding present many years ago. They assume you know nothing.
Delia assumes a basic level of common sense and isn't so patronising, I thought.

Badgerwife Thu 04-Oct-12 18:32:35

I love that there's a book called 'Cooking for Blokes'. It might be bit less offensive for him than a kids' book.

I'm going to go online to have a look at all of these, but do keep them coming if you can think of any other good ones!

BoffinMum Thu 04-Oct-12 18:22:18

One of the Dorling Kindersley children's ones? Great recipes with step by step instructions, not too patronising.

GraceK Thu 04-Oct-12 18:20:51

Delia's How To Cook - covers everything from how to boil an egg to proper meals with glossary of terms and clear photos. Also a big fan of her original Cookery Course which I've used so much the spine's dropped off mine & it's held together with duct tape. Still find it invaluable when confronted by a new vegetable for instance.

Jamie might be good but he does assume some basic knowledge. He also might enjoy Julian Barnes' Pedant in the Kitchen which is about his attempts to learn to cook in later life & his frustrations with cookery books.

BikeRunSki Thu 04-Oct-12 18:18:43

Cooking for Blokes, it was written by a man who'd been in the same situation.

SizzleSazz Thu 04-Oct-12 18:18:12

You're probably right Lindsell grin

SizzleSazz Thu 04-Oct-12 18:17:35

Step by Step. Classic 'encyclopaedia type' cook book.

lindsell Thu 04-Oct-12 18:16:25

I like the good housekeeping cookery book too but I suspect a Jamie Oliver one might appeal more to a bloke who isn't particularly interested in cooking grin I like the 'cook with Jamie' one as it's quite straightforward and all the recipes I've tried from there are easy and work well

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