Sohla El-Waylly’s Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook aims to be a comprehensive, entry-level guide to cooking. It is mammoth, much like the Joy of Cooking my mom gave me when I moved into my first apartment. There’s a strong emphasis on technique—searing, poaching, browning, all the ways to prepare eggs, pastry 101—and clear indication of expertise required for any given recipe. The design reminds me of how recipes are presented on the internet: full-color, with tags and photo tutorials throughout. But many dishes feel elevated, far from basic, even when they fall under “easy,” such as watermelon chaat, jammy egg tacos and a quinoa crunch salad. I suspect a lot of newlyweds will be adding this one to their kitchen shelves.
Sohla El-Waylly’s mammoth Start Here is a comprehensive, entry-level cookbook that elevates easy-to-master recipes.