“Cooking at Home: More than 1,000 Classic and Modern Recipes for Every Meal of the Day” by Chuck Williams, Weldon Owen, $40,
663 pages, hardcover
What better way to celebrate the 100th birthday of Williams-Sonoma founder Chuck Williams than by offering a limited edition anthology of 1,000 recipes with 100 recipes from Williams’ own collection.
“Cooking at Home: More than 1,000 Classic and Modern Recipes for Every Meal of the Day” was published in time for Williams’ 100th birthday on Oct. 2, 2015. He died Dec. 5 in San Francisco.
The book opens with a foreword by Williams, who noted that when he opened his first cooking equipment store in 1956, “having a basic knowledge of home-style cooking was something many people took for granted. … Today, of course, things are much different.”
He says he often met customers who had never learned to cook alongside a parent or grandparent but had a desire to cook for their families and friends. “Cooking at Home” is meant to fill that gap, he wrote.
The first of the book’s 23 chapters examines cooking basics from outfitting a kitchen and following a recipe to building flavor and pairing wine with food. Recipes for stocks, clarifying butter, preparing bread crumbs and pizza dough are in this chapter.
Other chapters include breakfast and brunch, appetizers and first courses, fish and shellfish, fruit desserts and frozen desserts.
Among Williams’ personal recipes are Cheese Soufflé, Minestrone, Quiche Lorraine, Roasted Garlic, Spanish Rice, Pot Roast With Balsamic Vinegar, Chocolate Mousse and Ginger-Orange Steamed Pudding.
Each chapter begins with basic information on that chapter’s topic. For example, the meat chapter offers info on refrigerating, freezing and defrosting meat, how to select a cut at the market and how to judge when it’s done to various levels. It also has illustrations of meat cuts, with suggestions for the best cuts for roasting, braising and stewing, grilling and sautéing.
The book features full-color photographs, but most recipes don’t include photos of the completed dish.
“Cooking at Home” will make a good addition to the kitchen library of both novice and experienced home cooks. And, it’s a wonderful way to remember Williams.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at email@example.com, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.