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The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

I love the science behind food. Several years ago I started watching the Cook’s Illustrated television program on PBS. I instantly loved the idea of this show and how it explained the how to and the why you do things of cooking.

I immediately started checking their cookbooks out of the library, and I now own several of them.

A few years ago my sister gave me a copy of  The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook for my Birthday. She knew that I loved Cook’s Illustrated and she thought I would enjoy this cookbook. She was right. This has become one of my most used cookbooks. Many of my favorite recipes are adapted from this book.

If you are not familiar with Cook’s Illustrated, they really focus on the hows and whys behind each recipe. I love that, but many people do not. Beginner cooks find many of their recipes and ideas overwhelming. This book though is different than their other books. This is more of a basic everyday cookbook. It does not have all the details behind the recipes that many of their books have.

However, that does not make it less of a book. The recipes in this book have been tested and retested. Many recipes have tips and ideas next to them. Others have ways that you can adapt them or make them ahead. It contains just enough information about each recipe without being overwhelming.

What I like about this book, is it is everyday basic food. The majority of the recipes are not complicated. Not only that, most of the recipes, contain regular, everyday ingredients.

This cookbook has simple pasta sauces, but also a few more complicated sauces. It also contains things like how to match a sauce to a certain shape of pasta. It contains chapters on cookies, cakes, pies and tarts, fruit desserts, breakfast, vegetables, poultry, and many other items.

This is a cookbook that would be perfect for a new cook. I also think this would make a great gift for a new bride or someone setting up a house and kitchen for the first time.

To me the The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is like a modern day Betty Crocker cookbook. It is set up in a similar style and has the same basic idea. And to be honest I like this cookbook better than any Betty Crocker cookbook that I have owned.

Do any of you own this cookbook? If so what is your favorite recipe from it?

This post linked to WFMW.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I don’t own this cookbook, but it’s been on my wishlist for a while – it’ll be bumped up in priority now that I’ve read your reviews! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. I enjoy reading what other cooks have to say about cookbooks – it gives me good ideas of what ones to add to my library.

  2. I think I would love having the information! Recently I’ve (finally) been digging into my copy of American Home Cooking and it’s similar–lots of variations, history, etc. Fun!
    .-= Vanderbilt Wife´s last blog ..Losing It: Week 2 =-.

  3. I do have this. My cooking career has been relatively short and this cookbook is really the first one that I got excited about.

    Watching America’s Test Kitchen on PBS has been a major influence on me taking an interest in cooking to begin with. Some people may find their scientific approach overwhelming or unnecessary but it has been quite the opposite for me. I have found it to spark an interest in cooking that was not really there before.

    My goal is really to cook more things out of this cookbook as I am lazy and not really doing it.
    .-= Catherine R.´s last blog ..Posted by my kind husband from his work computer at my request: =-.

  4. I make the guacamole (minus the cumin) all the time 🙂

    The pork tenderloin with maple glaze is a

  5. Oh, yes, it is about my favorite of all the cookbooks I own too. Now, I want the ATK Baking Book (the one that is as big as the red one but comes in blue and is nothing but baking!).

  6. I just acquired my first ATK cookbook – a compilation of recipes from the shows for the last 10 years. I’ve marked a whole bunch of their recipes for trying. I especially love their blueberry pancake recipe.

    Question – Do you find there’s a lot of overlap among their cookbooks? (I’ve only got the one at this point)
    .-= unfinishedmom´s last blog ..Cocoons =-.

  7. I LOVE this book! Hands down, Baked Macaroni and Cheese and the Light Chicken Parmesean are my family’s favorites!!!

    Honestly, everything I have tried has been good though!
    .-= alexis´s last blog ..What have I done?!?!?! =-.

  8. No, I don’t own it, but I have checked one out from the library before and, like you, loved the science behind the cooking that they explained. I remember reading a jumbo chocolate chip cookie recipe and they explained each test and what they changed to improve the texture and moistness and cripsness on the outside. It was awesome! I sold my cookbooks to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and since then haven’t purchased a single one b/c I realized I mostly get my recipes online. Still, I got really excited when I inherited a big stack of them from an old friend that passed away. It’s sort of bittersweet, reading them before bed. Every time I use them I will think of her.
    .-= Veronica M.´s last blog ..BSI Challenge: Caramelized Tofu Over Brussels Sprouts =-.

  9. I’ll have to check this cookbook out. I do love me a good cookbook 🙂
    .-= Allie Z´s last blog ..Once a Month Cookoff Entry! =-.

  10. You can check out COOKBOOKS from the library?! I never knew!!! That’s a tip in itself. Thanks!

  11. I have one of their cookbooks and I love it. I need to put this one on my wish list. Thanks for the recommendation!!

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