Martha's Cooking School opens

Yesterday, Martha launched the "cooking school" segement of her daily talk show with two important lessons: essential knives and how to pick a cookbook.

The knife advice was helpful and nicely delivered by John from the PBS cooking show Everyday Food, but I am sad to admit I still don't think I know how to cut an onion properly. I cut onions three or more times a week and I still don't know how to do it. Is it the onion, the knife, is it me? R* sweetly said he noticed that he has better knife skills than me and I agree with him. In the blood orange beet salad and minestrone soup I made for dinner this weekend and I was frustrated with how 'butchered' the vegetables looked. Still tasted great, but it could of looked better.

Martha's lesson on cookbooks was much more successful. It was exciting to see Martha talk about something with such passion. She tries to seem excited talking about soap operas and propogating begonias, but when she started talking about cookbooks, it was clear that this was where her passion was.

Martha gave a surprisingly heart-felt tribute to Julia Child and her two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She also recommended Marcella Hazen's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. All of these books had been recommended to me before and I had read a bit about them on 101Cookbooks.com. She went on to recommend two soft-cover cookbooks by Elizabeth David (Italian Food, French Cooking). I'll have to look for them. Maybe I'll try to teach myself a more disciplined approach to Italian cooking through Marcella Hazen's book and the Italian Food book by Elizabeth David.

Martha also put one of her own cookbooks on her list of favorites. I was happy to see tat she didn't use this as one more opportunity to flog her new baking book. Instead, she said she "worked very hard" on one of the first books she published: Quick Cooks from 1992. I saw this in a used book store when I was in San Francisco and I passed it up in favor of her appetizers book. Half.com has copies in good condition for 75 cents plus shipping.


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