Guide to Everyday Cooking is an all-inclusive primer, with over 200 dishes and lots of information on techniques, ingredients, and kitchen help. As with all of Gate’s books, the focus is on using the freshest and best quality ingredients you can find, with the simplest, most classic of cooking techniques.
Reviewed by Magdalena Ball
Gabriel Gate’s Guide to Everyday Cooking
by Gabriel Gate;
Allen & Unwin
pb, April 2003, RRP $A39.95
You can always count on Gabriel Gate’s cookbooks. Unpretentious, full of lovely, not too fussy recipes that are healthy and family friendly, his cookbooks tend to become staples. Gate has now written 19 cookbooks, and the latest is for the kitchen novice. Guide to Everyday Cooking is an all-inclusive primer, with over 200 dishes and lots of information on techniques, ingredients, and kitchen help. As with all of Gate’s books, the focus is on using the freshest and best quality ingredients you can find, with the simplest, most classic of cooking techniques. The introduction contains information on how to become more creative in the kitchen, on involving children, hygiene and safety, optimising the shopping, using equipment, and kitting out the kitchen. Guide to Everyday Cooking makes no assumptions. Every technique is carefully explained, and ingredients from stock to nuts, tricks like working out when something is cooked, or working out what type of meat would be best is all covered.
After the information section, the book is divided into chapters on soup, snacks, pasta and rice, salads, vegetable dishes, fish, chicken, meat, and desserts and baking. Although the recipes are all good ones, and many are fancy enough to serve to the fussiest of guests, this is not a book for those looking to make haute cuisine. The recipes are classic, rather than innovative, and move from the easier to those requiring more complex techniques. Each recipe contains some information about the dish, and throughout each section are relevant pieces of information. This includes such things as the fat content of common foods, hints for people with diabetes, what to do with leftovers, how to keep your weight down, sauce ideas, how to take care of your heart, and lots more. These little insets add up to quite a lot of information.
There are soups like potato and pumpkin. The snack section contains things like dips, sandwiches, omelettes, pizzas, and savoury pancakes. Pastas and risottos are all very easy and quick. The salads are light and fresh, with lots of healthy dressing ideas, and some salads, like the Indonesian Gado Gado, make good main meals. The vegetable section includes many full course vegetarian meals like Moussaka and Curries. Fish dishes are flexible, allowing you to choose whatever is in season, and the chicken section has dishes which range from light burritos to a rich chicken. prune and bacon casserole.
The meat section is particularly useful, with information on cuts, cooking techniques, and times. Gate provides one of the best hamburger recipes you’re likely to come across, along with stir fries, grills , and roasts. Desserts emphasise healthy fruit based meal ends like Gabriel’s Festive Fruit Salad, Lemon and Pear Rice Pudding, and some more decadent custards and biscuits.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone setting up home for the first time, this is it. Guide to Everyday Cooking is a simplified and modernised Joy of Cooking. Just don’t flip through it first, or you might be liable to keep it. Even if you’re an experienced cook, this could be the only cookbooks you need, especially if you are happy to cook a range of easy and fresh family meals that don’t involve too much fuss.