Sara Moulton was one of the first breakout stars of the then embryonic Food Network and is currently the host of Public Television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She is also the author of the Associated Press column “Kitchen Wise.”
Her newest cookbook is the ambitious, Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better.
Not just a collection of wonderful recipes, HOME COOKING 101 is a teaching manual aimed at the home cook. The recipes will indeed make it easier to put dinner on the table on a weeknight, but, as Sara notes in her introduction, “more important is that each recipe specifically demonstrates a tip or method that can make you a better and more confident cook while also teaching you to make your dishes taste better.”
Accordingly, the book’s first chapter is a compact and handy rulebook entitled “The Ten Basics of Good Home Cooking.” It advises the home cook as follows:
- Shake hands with your stove
- Buy a good knife
- Get organized
- Follow the recipe exactly the first time you make it
- Dispense with mise en place
- Reach for the salt
- Balance flavors
- Build umami
- Use all your senses
- Don’t waste food
As for the recipes, there are 150 of them—all new and accompanied by photographs that illustrate, step-by-step, the book’s key techniques. The book also boasts guest recipes from a stellar cast of some of Sara’s favorite chefs and cookbook authors, including Rick Bayless, Amanda Cohen, Hiroko Shimbo, Jacques Torres, Marc Vetri, and Grace Young.
In sum, Sara writes, “The goal of this book is two-fold: to sharpen your sense of taste and to provide you with a raft of time-tested techniques that I hope will become second nature to you.”
We’re in the kitchen with Chef Sara.