Cookology Cookbook Club

Have you ever cracked open a cookbook in the store, mouth watering over the photos, and wondered what it would be like to make such a wonderful meal in your own home? You dream of friends and loved ones telling you what an amazing cook you are as they clamor for the recipe and demand to know your secrets (oh, it’s just a little something I whipped up this afternoon, you’ll tell them). Then you clutch the book to your chest, run out of the store, receipt flying in the air, only to get home and realize you don’t have a meat thermometer and have no idea what creme fraiche is or where to get it. Parchment? Ham hock? Medjool dates?! Fleur de Sel?!

Even if you are able to acquire the list of ingredients, secure all the proper equipment, and follow the recipe TO THE LETTER – sometimes your dish just doesn’t look or taste like the gorgeous photo suggests it should (we’re looking at you, braised lamb meatball debacle of ’05).

We know how you feel. And we want to help. That’s why we’re starting a cookbook club!

During these once-a-month meetings our chefs will discuss the month’s book pick, answer your questions about the recipes, and prepare several dishes from the book for you to sample. We’ll talk techniques and ingredients, share photos, and dissect the concepts and recipes each book presents. What was your favorite dish? Which was most surprising? What tips did you learn that you can apply to other dishes? We hope these books and meetings will not only educate and inspire you to get in the kitchen and get cooking, but also be a great way to get to know our chefs and the community of food lovers living right in your neighborhood.

Our first meeting will be held in June. Help us pick the first club selection by voting on the book you want to explore first. Below you’ll find more information about each featured book. Voting ends Sunday, May 8 at midnight. Next week we’ll announce the full details of the June meeting. If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments section below, on our Facebook wall, or e-mail us at info(at)


• Ad Hoc at Home – Thomas Keller






This book by Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Per Se) shares family-style recipes from his casual dining restaurant Ad Hoc, located in Napa Valley. He describes it as a “big collection of family meals and everyday staples, delicious approachable foods, recipes that are doable at home.” It’s full of gorgeous photos and artful diagrams, and gives step-by-step lessons like how to create a simple vinaigrette and truss a chicken, and includes a section with instruction on culinary basics and “becoming a better cook.” The book takes the elevated food of one of the world’s most celebrated chefs and makes it approachable, with delicious results. Some of our favorite recipes include chicken soup with dumplings, summer vegetable gratin, and blueberry cobbler.


• I’m Just Here for the Food – Alton Brown





This book from the Food Network resident science geek Alton Brown explores the foundation of cooking: heat. Brown instructs readers on searing, roasting, braising, frying and more as he covers a whole host of culinary basics (with a dose of humor thrown in for good measure). Most of the dishes are traditional, though there are some fun and wacky recipes and techniques, like Bar-B-Fu (barbecued tofu) and how to grill with a hair dryer. This food-science-rich tome is both extremely educational and supremely entertaining, with stand out instruction on skirt steak, roast turkey, and fried green tomatoes.


• Think Like a Chef – Tom Colicchio





Chef and Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio features a unique approach to cooking that goes beyond a basic collection of recipes. In harmony with the Cookology method of instruction, Colicchio uses the book to share his knowledge about techniques and ingredients, but more importantly he says, his enthusiastic and passionate approach to food and cooking. The first section of the book teaches techniques like roasting, braising, and sauce-making, then goes on to discuss the creative process of a chef, ingredients, and stand out seasonal dishes to help readers see their market and their kitchen through the lens of a chef. Some of our favorites from the book include baked free-form ravioli with asparagus, morels, and ramps, caramelized mushroom tarts, and roasted tomato risotto.


Vote for your pick:

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8 Responses to “Cookology Cookbook Club”

  1. Jan
    May 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    This is a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to find out the details of how this club will work! :-)

    • admin
      May 3, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

      Love the enthusiasm Jan! We’re excited too. We’ll follow up next week after the voting is complete with full details about the first meeting.

  2. Kristin
    May 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I consider myself a good cook with solid techniques down pat but Alton Brown never fails to teach me something new. His book schooled me in meat prep – to get both the brown crust and the proper doneness. I found it a great read.

  3. Greg B
    May 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Looking forward to learning more. I’ve loved flipping through Keller’s book, but am intimidated by it.

  4. Rita
    May 7, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    Thank you for wonderful classes and your creativity with the Cookbook Club. Looking forward to reading more and … participating!!


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