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Reviewed by Jen Kulman

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is perpetually on the lookout for a great bridal shower gift. As much as I appreciate a good registry, it’s always nice to wrap up a little something the couple is not expecting. Cookbooks are one of my favorites – they can be paired with any number of registry items and still appear to be a cohesive gift.

Your Time to Cook is an excellent choice for beginners because the author provides instructions intended for cooks who are starting from scratch and does not assume the users have any prior kitchen knowledge. Inexperienced cooks may sometimes be put off by cookbooks that don’t give enough explanation – no fear of that here! The author specifically states he intended this to be useful for “people who are clueless in the kitchen.”

Before we wade into the recipes, there is a wonderful section in the front titled “Getting Started” that delves into the basics. Get the skinny on kitchen appliances and gadgets, plus find out which pots, pans, knives and baking equipment are essential for success. This section is pretty large because it covers a lot of the information a cook should learn before slipping on the potholders. Cooking terms and techniques are discussed, there’s an tutorial on how to stock a pantry, and some really great entertaining menus are provided.

All the recipes follow a particular format: list of ingredients, tiny illustrations of the utensils you will need, and the best part – a photo accompanying each step of the recipe. How great is that? For people who are unsure of themselves in the kitchen, I really think this is the best help of all – visual cues for assurance. For example, Baked Brie en Croute shows the brie round placed on the puff pasty, how to fold the pastry neatly around the cheese, the bundle brushed with egg, and then the finished product. The photos make it extremely easy to follow and the thorough directions are practically a guarantee for success.

Just about every type of recipe is offered here, from pancakes and waffles all the way to a whole roasted chicken. Plenty of instruction, tons of photos for guidance, handy tips, and useful guides all make Your Time to Cook a terrific choice for anyone who needs a bit of help getting started in the kitchen.

Rating: 4.5/5

Check out yourtimetocook.com for some sample recipes

Jen lives in Michigan with her husband and six year old son. She writes reviews of children’s books on her blog, FIRR-Kids and loves filling her own shelves with cookbooks.

Review and giveaway copies are provided free of any obligation by Square One Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.