Whatever your opinions about Martha, the lady knows how to cook. No flash in the pan is she; her many years in the culinary spotlight have proven her skill. Still, when I am looking for recipes, I don’t usually check her website. I guess I have the impression that her food is fussy, that it takes exotic ingredients and that it is expensive to make. Martha’s new book is changing my opinion.
Martha Stewart’s Cooking School was just published in October, yet my wonderful library already has a copy. I’m glad it does because it has given me a chance to dig into this huge book without paying the list price of $45 (though Amazon has it on sale right now, so that’s a good thing).
Written with an eye toward mastering the basics, the text covers the differences in certain chopping techniques (like what a medium dice really means versus finely chopped – yeah these things do matter if you want consistent results), when to use certain knives or herbs or kitchen equipment. The book begins at soup and each recipe is geared to teach you a different skill or to serve as a basis for moving on.
I made her version of beef stew (albeit with a little tweaking for family dislikes) and it turned out very well. Ingredients were added in stages, rather than all at once – which makes sense. The potatoes don’t need to cook as long as the beef or they will get mushy. And true with all stews, it was even better the next day.
So if your library has this new book, I would recommend giving it a look. You might not take everything to heart but you might just rethink your take on Martha Stewart and her cooking.