This cookbook is put out by America’s Test Kitchen – the same folks that make the PBS show and Cook’s Illustrated magazine. It’s my go-to book for classic recipes such as Meatloaf, Boston Baked Cod, Coleslaw, Spicy Buffalo Wings, and Caesar Salad. The book also has scattered among its recipes information about different ingredients, how-to tips, equipment and product recommendations, and ideas for modifying recipes. They are good learning recipes too, since the book covers a wide range of ingredients and the most basic ways to prepare them.
The majority of the recipes are really solid – after all, ATK’s claim to fame is the way they take well-known dishes and test and re-test them until they get the best results. The book has the best recipes I’ve used for Hummos or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and I use their basic Muffin recipe over and over. Some of the recipes, like the “Bake Sale” Brownies, or Spinach and Artichoke Dip are not my favorites. They actually published a better recipe for Brownies in their April 2004 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. Still, overall it’s a good reference, and I find myself returning to it over and over.