Delia’s How to Cook – Book 1
In this first book of her complete cookery series, Delia’s mission is plain and simple, as she states to her readers: to teach absolute beginners the fundamentals of cookery so that they can produce a wholesome and nutritious, if simple, meal instead of having to buy all their food ready-made. This first book covers everything from how to cook pasta and a sauce without destroying either to how to bake a sponge cake with minimum fuss and effort. Delia’s much praised powers of communication shine throughout the book as she guides the reader around the kitchen.
Although some readers may be initially put off by the simplicity of some of the early instructions, recipes and methods this is all necessary and very much taken in by the true beginner. Delia does an excellent job at teaching the basics well, if you already have some grasp of cookery then these early chapters may not be for you, however we all like to think we know our basics, but you’d be surprised at how many one can quickly forget! Personally, I would read every detail, even if you think you already know it, because something will crop up you might not have thought of.
But this book is more than just ‘cooking for dummies’, especially once the introductory training chapters are over and recipes come thick and fast. Many of these recipes have been well designed to highlight and reinforce the basic skills that have just been introduced, but that does not mean that they are ‘too easy’ or not very tasty, each and every recipe, as we all expect from Delia, produces a good quality, tasty result if the instructions are carefully followed. These recipes gradually get harder as the book goes on, but each step is punctuated with clearly explained methods, techniques and skills which can be learned with a little patience and practice.
In general, as a beginner’s guide to cookery this book is excellent, easy to use and very informative. As a standalone recipe book, it may not be the most complicated but it contains a great variety of dishes and cakes and all can be mastered with some practice. It may not be the ultimate guide to gastronomy, but it’s not meant to be; as an introduction to cookery and it’s pleasures for the novice Delia definitely does the job, as she always does.