There is a bit of a misconception that bakers bake and cooks cook, and that there is not much crossover between the two. This idea is fueled by the fact that every chef/cook on food television shows confesses to hating baking and admits to having no idea how to bake even the simplest dish. It’s possible that these chefs actually may not know how to bake – but bakers certainly know how to cook and When Bakers Cook: Breakfast to Dessert, Over 175 Fabulous Recipes for Family and Friends.
The cookbook is a good all purpose cookbook with a little bit of something for everyone, and it’s the kind of book that you’ll find yourself referencing for everyday occasions, not just special occasions when you want something elaborate. The book opens with a comprehensive introduction that covers the basic ingredients and tools that you might need in your kitchen – and those who focus primarily on baking alone may find they need a few extra ingredients in their pantries – before you start. The chapters are divided up to include every meal throughout the day: breakfast, soup, salad, poultry, beef, seafood, pasta and pizza, and vegetable side dishes. There is are two small chapters on desserts included at the end of the book, as well, since it is true that bakers have a hard time resisting the urge to make a dessert when they are cooking a full meal. The recipes are straightforward and easy to make, and offer a wide variety of flavors from mostly classic American dishes, with a few dishes with international flavors mixed in for variety.
The recipes here really speak for themselves and you’ll probably find yourself bookmarking both sweet and savory recipes to try even without a large number of illustrations to accompany the recipes. Coming from a baker, quite a few of the recipes do involve some baking, and many (like the soups and salads) are recipes that can simply be accompanied by a good loaf of crusty bread or a batch of dinner rolls. And if you are a die-hard baker, you can pick up a copy of the book for the desserts and sweet breads in those last few chapters and know that at least you have the other recipes on hand just in case you get hungry for something between baking batches of cookies.