Help - I Gotta Cook !!: A Cookbook and Cooking Guide for people who have to cook but need some HELP!Opening with an extensive breakdown of needed utensils, pantry staples, simple cooking methods, and plans for shopping, the first 60 pages of Ed Dugan’s new cookbook serve as a cooking guide for inexperienced chefs that want a simple step-by-step manual on how to get started in the kitchen. Reducing relatively complex subjects and phrases to easy-to-understand blurbs in his 40 page kitchen encyclopedia, by the time readers get to the 325 recipes, they should have no trouble following along with Dugan’s instructions.

As Dugan states in his introduction, “The recipes in this book are the ones that my family, friends (some of whom are professional chefs), and I have decided tasted the best.” Anyone who’s done a good deal of cooking may already be familiar with many of these kitchen standards, or at least some variation of them, but amateur chefs (for whom this book – the “neophyte’s cooking institute,” as Dugan refers to it – was written) will find plenty to enjoy.

There are sections for meat (beef & veal, pork & ham, other meats, lamb, chicken, turkey and duck, fish and shellfish), salads, soups, pasta, rice & dumplings, sauces, vegetables, and “special recipes that didn’t fit anywhere else,” as well as a 10-page section titled “Training Wheels Meals” that includes such basic menu items as “Johnny’s Quick and Easy Fajitas with Refried Beans and Salad.” With a list of ingredients and brief instructions written in a conversational tone, Dugan’s recipes are easy to follow and result in dishes that any new chef can be proud of.

Though a lack of pictures does detract from the effectiveness and the presentation of the recipes, Dugan’s everyman attitude and plain writing style help draw readers and wannabe (or gottabe) cooks into the pages of his book.  

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: The amateur chef who could use a little help
Stay Away if: You’re already a kitchen connoisseur

To purchase Help – I Gotta Cook!, visit Amazon

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