A double page from Rosemary Wadey’s Mexican Cooking Step-by-Step (1994).

My son, Alasdair, commented that he liked the style of Rosemary Wadey, in her Mexican Cooking Step-by-Step (1994). While this offers something similar to the numbering of steps in a cookstrip, the colour photographs show what is to be done, and what the final dish should look like when served.

The recipe starts with a general description, putting the recipe in context. It also explains what the dish is expected to be served with. The preparation of these items is not described in the recipe.

After this is a statement about the number of servings the recipe will produce, typically this is 4. This allows people to adapt the recipe to accommodate the number of people expected, or to give an indication of the quantity of left-overs that will be produced.

Next comes a list of ingredients, with conventional names. While I am content with metric units, this cookbook also provides quantities in American/ British units. The condition of the ingredients as they are to be used is also provided here.

This is followed by procedural steps and timings. All of these should be read in advance. In the bean soup recipe depicted, croutons, for example, can be prepared two days (48-hours) in advance. This also comes with advice as to how to store the prepared food until it is needed.

The author also acknowledges that specific products can be difficult to purchase in certain markets. A variation box provides the name of other products that can substitute for the original.

Some of the other books written by Rosemary Wadey in the same style are:

  • Continental Cuisine Step by Step Cookbook (1987)
  • Step by Step Cooking for One and Two (1996)
  • Step by Step Wok Cooking (1996)
  • Step by Step Vegetarian (2001)
  • Step by Step Italian (2001)

This is the second of an unspecified number of posts (currently seven) about cooking instructions, all beginning with Cook… Yes, you can use that as a search term to find previously published posts. If you have a favourite way of interacting with cooking information, and would like to have that presented in a weblog post that, in a good week, reaches ten or more people, send your proposal in an email to:

One Reply to “Cooksteps”

  1. I especially like recipes that come with a picture of what the finished dish should look like. It is important to read a recipe well ahead of time so that you know how long things may take both to prepare and to cook.

    I would almost never use a recipe exactly as it is as there always seems to be a few ingredients that I either don’t like or are impossible to find where I live. I also like to reduce the amount of salt, onions and garlic used in dishes. So for me, the recipe is a starting point for my own creativity with food.

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