Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook
“Thanks to his immense curiosity and devotion to detail, Kimball shines a generous light on the world’s cuisines by providing a context for each recipe’s ingredients, techniques, and origins.”
In the Milk Street kitchen rules are useful in building a foundation of knowledge so are not meant to be broken. But when they create boundaries and dampen creativity, they need to be subverted. With their latest cookbook, Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes that Will Change the Way You Cook, Christopher Kimball and his Boston crew have revised standard culinary practices, honoring time proven techniques while abandoning rigid constraints. In challenging classic Euro-American techniques, they’ve devised guidelines for creating speedy, boldly seasoned dishes that are light, bright, and vegetable forward. This eclectic collection of recipes spans the globe yet calls for ingredients easily found in most grocery stores.
The book lays out the basic premise for achieving balanced dishes focused on a dominant ingredient sparked by contrasting flavors, textures, colors, and then finished with simple embellishments. And it lays out 75 “rules” to streamline the process and guarantee success. Take for example, “No. 39, Steam Don’t Boil Your Eggs,” a method that safeguards against rubbery whites and overdone yolks. Or consider “No. 13, Stop Stirring Your Polenta;” instead bake it in the oven to save fuss and guarantee creaminess.
Delivered in Kimball’s no-nonsense, practical tone, Milk Street’s back-to-basics principles promise crisp succulent chicken, bright salads, creamy sauces, and quick robust stews. Here are beloved recipes such as Spaghetti Carbonara, reimagined with a light, lush cream sauce; Southern fried chicken with a vibrant Thai twist; pan-roasted butternut squash with toasted couscous and fragrant spices; and cabbage that’s turned tender and sweet thanks to a firm char and a finish of sweet-hot cilantro-sesame sauce.
Kimball inspires cooks to bump up the flavor of familiar vinaigrettes, sauces, soups, stews with fearless use of the world’s spices and encourages the judicious addition of intensely sweet, tangy, salty condiments such as pomegranate molasses and fish sauce. He challenges standard cooking methods and streamlines unnecessary steps. So cooking noodles right in the sauce or stock, rather than by boiling separately and adding back into the dish, yields delicious, richly flavored noodles in far less time with way less work, according to “Rule No. 24.” Ordinary ingredients, such as garlic, are given extraordinary attention. Here you’ll find in the book two pages covering five different methods for coaxing forth garlic’s sweet, nutty, notes through roasting, oil poaching, frying, stewing, and sautéing.
Each of the chapters delves into a food category: vegetables, beans and grains, noodles and breads, eggs, seafood, chicken, pork, and beef, providing recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. And each dish features a full-page photo with well-tested, step-by-step instructions that shed light on how to create these dishes as well as to why they work.
Kimball’s writing, unrivaled for clarity and precision, inspires confidence in every home cook. With this playbook, those starting out in the kitchen will appreciate the step-by-step, easy to follow, no-nonsense prose. Veterans will welcome the creative spins on familiar favorites, the new recipes, and stunning techniques that are sure to make cooking fun again.
Thanks to his immense curiosity and devotion to detail, Kimball shines a generous light on the world’s cuisines by providing a context for each recipe’s ingredients, techniques, and origins. Time and again on his TV show and in his books, Kimball reminds us that there is no such thing as ethnic cooking, just a meal served in another corner of the world. In this way, he helps remove boundaries that dampen imagination, instead guiding cooks in revising old codes. By doing so he helps expand our pallets with confidence and ease, bringing us to the New American table with enthusiasm and joy.