List of recipes that home chefs should know?

I like to think of myself as a pretty good home chef. But I want to challenge and practice more. There are so many recipes I see on the Chef programs that I have never made or knew about. Do you have a list of recipes that Chefs should know? Other than the basic chilis, pesto, etc.

Elle Snickens


Elle S. September 11, 2014
I have a lot of stuff down as far as basics. And I put my own little on things. But thanks for the info.
Elle S. September 11, 2014
Thanks for the feedback. I guess I should have reworded my question. But I will pick up the books listed.
savorthis September 11, 2014
I second Ruhlman's Ratio. It has yet to fail me when trying my own twist on standards like homemade sausage, custards, doughs....I always thought that if I had to compete on some cooking show, that would be top on my list of things to study. Once you get some basic cooking techniques down, Ratio will help you branch out on your own.
Nancy September 11, 2014
In addition to books already meantioned (JC way to cook, Bittman h2 cook everything) 3 books about basics have helped me learn transferrable repeatable techniques. Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Cake Bible (she's a chemist AND a baker, and offers great understanding). Bernard Clayton, New Complete Book of Breads. Michael Ruhlman, Ratio: the simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking. Lots of great examples: vinaigrette, pancakes vs cupcakes, etc.
Kristen W. September 11, 2014
To add to what QueenSashy wrote, I think that the "general comfort a cook exhibits while cooking" that she mentions is largely dependent upon his/her comfort level with the techniques involved. To that end I think the above suggestions are great, but ultimately because they teach technique, which is what I believe really liberates a cook.
QueenSashy September 10, 2014
This is an interesting question… I do not think there is a standardized list of recipes a good home cook should know. Our food preferences are rooted on our demographic make up, family history, personal tastes. Our food choices could be French or Italian centric, Chinese or Indian, fusion or farm to table… So different people will give you different answers. I believe that good home cooks are measured by the comfort level they exhibit when cooking in general, and by their ability to follow instructions and correctly execute a variety of different recipes.
ChefJune September 10, 2014
I agree with Sam about "the Way to Cook." Julia took basic recipes and laid them out step by step. then in many cases she adapted them into other recipes, showing you how you can do that yourself with a variety of foods, and which ones are particularly good where.
Shirley Corriher is the cook's cook. She's the one we all go to for the why's and how's of cooking. If she can't fix a recipe, it's not worth fixing. And her biscuits are the best ever!
sfmiller September 10, 2014
You might find Michael Ruhlman's recent book, *Ruhlman's Twenty* useful. It focuses on techniques and how they apply to cooking many different things, rather than on recipes as such.

It's a good book to get experienced cooks to think about how and why they do what they do and how they might do it better. Well-written, like all of Ruhlman's stuff, and nicely illustrated too.
Pegeen September 10, 2014
Ruhlman's Twenty is a great idea
SKK September 9, 2014
The book that transformed my cooking was Shirley O. Corriher author of CookWise.
She is a biochemist and author of CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, winner of a James Beard Foundation award, and BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking.

Love Julia Child's cookbooks, and have them all. And CookWise was the book that opened the door to trying Julia's recipes. All the recipes in CookWise are, in my view, brilliantly written and explained. A foundation in cooking.

Trust yourself and your curiosity.
Sam1148 September 9, 2014
Just buy Julia Child's "The Way to Cook' and that's pretty much it.

What you see on shows are basically building on that foundation. Even making an Omelet might be 'too simple' but to master it gives you ability to riff on that theme like a good jazz band. Even roasts and stews as you mention can have many other improvisations but you need to master the basic first.

Elle S. September 9, 2014
Thank you all for the feedback. I want to learn as much as possible prior to going to starting my new focus. I have notice on several shows and in books they mention that there are recipes everyone should know. I cook for myself and tend to like the science behind recipe.
Susan W. September 9, 2014
I second the Mark Bittman How To Cook Everything. If you have it on a Kindle, you can pull up recipes by ingredients you have on hand or want to cook with. I love that feature.
Lindsay-Jean H. September 9, 2014
This post has a list of 20 essential dishes, and the comments suggest even more!

Voted the Best Reply!

ChefJune September 9, 2014
First of all, you're not a chef unless you run a professional kitchen. But thank goodness there are a lot of fabulous home cooks out there. Even Julia Child always said she was not a chef.
The most important recipes to know depends a lot upon what you WANT to cook, and what the folks you cook for love to eat. My mom - one of the all-tme great home cooks - always said if you can roast a chicken perfectly, you can serve dinner to the Queen. (meaning of course anyone important to you). But if you or yours don't care for chicken, that would be a meaningless challenge.
If you know how to make the five Mother Sauces, you will have a huge number of dishes at your command, because they are so interchangeable with not only proteins, but also vegetables and starches.
Elle S. September 22, 2014
My goal is to become a personal chef ma'am. I currently cook for several but I do things that I have created on my own. I just wanted a bit more structure.
Pegeen September 9, 2014
You could review a few cookbooks at the library if you don't already have them, such as Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" or the "Joy of Cooking" for a refresher on key categories. I often read cookbook indexes at night when I'm trying to fall asleep, since they are better than a lot of novels and remind me of categories I've forgotten.

Sometimes key recipes are also driven by your geographic location and family or social group. So jambalaya is probably more important in Louisiana vs Maine, and Mexican dishes more important in the southwest than in Michigan, etc.

I think it's a good start to read some of the primary cookbooks out there.
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 9, 2014
"Should Know" is very subjective but making a mean risotto is always a win-win.
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