Mary Berry’s Cookery Course
A step-by-step master class in home cooking
Dorling Kindersley – £25.00
This is the sort of cookery book that many a novice simply cannot afford to do without in the kitchen (or anywhere else come to that). Reason being, it throws a wide, succinct and yet comprehensive gambit amid the gastronomically induced needs of the everyday.
As it suggests in the title, Mary Berry’s Cookery Course – A step-by-step master class in home cooking is exactly that.
What’s more, it doesn’t talk down to the un-initiated, but rather, lends a friendly guiding hand throughout. As the authoress states in the book’s Introduction: ‘’This book is for all home cooks who want to perfect their kitchen skills and get the very best from their cooking. Whether you’re a completely new or more experienced cook, there is something for everyone. When selecting the recipes, I’ve gone back to basics – the classic recipes we all love, cooked simply. Some have an up-to-date twist or a short cut, as I know the modern cook has to balance the desire to make delicious meals with a busy life outside the kitchen.’’
It has to be said that the last sentiment is indeed very true; and (obviously) realising this, Berry has catered for the more realistic/modern needs, as opposed to the rather more ideal/flim-flam persuasion. That each chapter begins with what she has termed as a ‘Master Recipe,’ which is augmented with detailed description sand step-by-step photographs – highlights this point.
This layout alone – is more than helpful for a quick over the shoulder glance to say the least.
Along with sections on Basic Equipment, Technique Finder and a Glossary of Cooking Methods and Techniques, Berry has herein delivered a compact book that fundamentally arms you to the hilt upon entering most kitchens. From Soups to First Courses, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Meat, Puddings and Cakes and Biscuits (and a whole lot more besides), the overall tone of the book is such that you really feel compelled to cook.
And so far as a cookery book is concerned, what more could you really ask for?
Scattered throughout each chapter, are little aside like headlines that jump out of the page that are invariably hard to ignore, and dare I say it, act as food for thought.
A few examples being: ‘’A swirl of cream and light sprinkling of herbs make a soup look so fresh and appetizing’’ (Soup), ‘’A simple omelette is my idea of the perfect mid-week lunch, being super-speedy to cook, light and nutritious’’ (Eggs), ‘’Bursting with flavour, goodness, and summer colour, roasted vegetables are welcome at any time of year’’ (Vegetable and Side Dishes), ‘’I’ve probably made over a thousand Victoria sponges, but I never tire of baking. It’s relaxing, fun, and so rewarding to create something to share with family and friends.’’ (Cakes).
As with many things in life, whether it’s music or writing or even trying to convey a political message, Berry’s final piece of advice is to ‘’keep it simple.’’ Which in a nutshell, works wonders every time – as does this overtly inviting cookery book.