Irena Chalmers explores the foundations and simplicity of cooking in this re-installment of her classic book, The Confident Cook.
“One tablespoon of butter, one tablespoon of flour, one cup of milk results in a cup of white sauce. And if you add some cheese, you have cheese sauce. If you add some egg yolks and some egg whites, you have a cheese souffle! So then everybody will love you,” exclaimed Irena Chalmers.
Irena Chalmers's The Confident Cook is a guide to cooking traditional and new foods that is all about simplicity–not in terms of her dishes, but in the ingredients and directions to make them.
Now a celebrated chef with over 40 years of experience, Chalmers first moved to the United States with no knowledge of cooking. It wasn’t until she discovered Julia Child that she began to cook, which eventually led her to study at the Cordon Bleu School of Cooking in Paris.
From all of her work as a chef, an author, a mentor, and a restaurant consultant, Irena still claims that cooking relies solely on three ingredients: a base of butter, a flour, and a liquid. Certainly the liquid can vary from water to milk to eggs, but with these three types of ingredients, anyone can produce a diverse variety of soups and sauces.
That’s what The Confident Cook is all about–boiling down cooking to the basics. From guiding an amateur chef through poaching, roasting, and grilling, to directing a skilled cook in preparing Veal Scallopini with Lemon and Brandy, The Confident Cook is made for everyone.
And all you need to start, according to Irena, is a sharp chef knife, a little paring knife, a whisk, and a frying pan.
Tune in to the third installment of Cookstr Classics by listening to Irena break down cooking into its simplest forms and share advice on becoming a successful cook with confidence.
Picador Cookstr Classics is a series collaboration between Cookstr and Picador. It brings to the forefront some of the beloved cookbooks that many have grown up with in the last few decades and preserves a piece of history in the culinary world. If you enjoyed Irena’s insights, check out The Confident Cook and enter the world of cooking through her witty commentary and lyrical sidebars.