James Peterson has written seventeen cookbooks, six of which have won major awards including the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook of the Year.
Peterson’s books are widely used in cooking schools and restaurants as well as being appreciated by amateur home cooks.

Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making

Sauces has become the definitive bible for both amateurs and professionals. More than a compendium of recipes, Sauces explains how and why the ingredients for a sauce are combined. Much of the book is structured around traditional French cooking but takes into account many of the innovations of the last 20 years. This new edition also includes information about Asian sauces and pasta sauces.
Extensive color photography shows the exact points when sauces are at their best and guide the reader through careful step by step processes.

  • Introduction by Richard Olney
  • The Good Cook Book Club
  • Better Homes and Gardens Book Club
  • Winner: James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year (1992)

Splendid Soups

“Jim Peterson’s Splendid Soups is a comprehensive and mouthwatering atlas of the world of soup. It not only covers soups of all nationalities and every garnish, but provides a handy list of sources for every hard-to-find ingredient and kitchen tool, too. More importantly though, through his gargantuan world tour Jim empowers home cooks to strike out on their own and invent new soups. It just makes me want to get into the kitchen and start cooking!”

— Sara Moulton, The Food Network’s Cooking Live, Executive Chef Gourmet magazine

  • The Good Cook Book Club – Dual Main Selection
  • First serial to Gourmet
  • Nominated for James Beard Award (1994)

Fish and Shellfish

Fish and Shellfish demonstrates every conceivable method for preparing seafood, from baking, braising, deep-frying, grilling,and broiling to poaching, panfrying, marrinating, curing and smoking. It is considered the definitive work on the subject by amateurs and professionals alike and is often found in cooking schools, restaurant kitchens, and in well-fed households.

  • “Peterson…achieves a true balance between a professional reference work and a home cookbook.” –USA Today
  • “A comprehensive and easy-to-follow…bible, supplying the tools, ingredients, and recipes for stirring up any meal.” –Elle
  • “A universe of eating pleasure” –LA Times
  • “[Peterson] speaks…in an informal way that invites you into his kitchen with a spoon and bowl in hand…” — Chicago Tribune
  • Newbridge Book Club
  • The Good Cook Book Club
  • Nominated for James Beard Award (1997)
  • Winner: IACP Award (1997)


This award-winning book has been acclaimed for its practical approach. While Vegetables contains many vegetarian recipes, it is not a vegetarian cookbook, but instead cooks vegetables in the most savory way possible even when this calls for small amounts of meat or dairy products.

  • “Another excellent book by James Peterson that should not be missed.” – Madeleine Kammen
  • “… a thoroughly practical, reasonable, up-to-date, and uncomplicated guide…no-nonsense, and I found new tips and ideas on nearly every page.” – Patricia Wells
  • The Good Cook Book Club – Main Selection
  • First Serial to Gourmet
  • Second Serial to Food and Wine
  • Winner: James Beard Award (1999)

Essentials of Cooking

This illustrated guide contains over 1100 color photographs that show every aspect of cooking technique so that both beginning and advanced cooks can understand the hows and whys of cooking. Many of the methods that are difficult to describe in words are shown here so that when the cook encounters a method in a cookbook he or she will have a quick way to see the method illustrated.

  • The Good Cook Book Club – Main Selection
  • Nominated for James Beard Award
  • QPB – Main Selection
  • First time in history of Book of the Month Club that one book was chosen as a main selection for all of the clubs
  • Paperback reprint – May 2003
  • QVC Selection

Glorious French Food

Glorious French Food has been called “the book James was born to write”. Here, Peterson explores the essential ingredients, techniques, and recipes of French cooking to uncover the underlying principles and connections that have helped define its unique culinary traditions.
This is a book about much more than French cooking–it is a book that teaches the reader how to be a better cook, regardless of whatever cuisine he or she is preparing.

  • “The work of James Peterson brilliantly reexamines the great French classics…”
    — Paul Bocuse, Chef and Owner, Le Restaurant de Paul Bocuse
  • “James Peterson has done an amazing job reviving classics…French cuisine has never sounded so exciting!” — Eric Ripert, Executive Chef, Le Bernardin
  • “…a treasury of slow-cooking recipes. — Sara Moulton, Host, Food Network’s Sara’s Secrets
  • The Good Cook Book Club – Main Selection
  • Nominated for IACP Award
  • Winner: James Beard Award

Simply Salmon

A complete guide to cooking salmon, Simply Salmon is filled with exciting recipes and cooking tips. All the basic techniques for cooking salmon–poaching, braising, grilling, smoking, sauteeing, and others–are all explained in detail. Recipes include classics such as Poached Whole Salmon with Tarragon Butter, Salmon Tartare and Salmon en Papillote, as as well as original ideas such as Sauteed Salmon “Saltimbocca”, Grilled Salmon Salad Nicoise, Salmon Tacos, and Salmon and Basil Ravioli. Simply Salmon contains more than fifty color photographs.

  • The Good Cook Book Club – Main Selection

Sweet Wines

A growing interest in sweet wines has left wine lovers hungry for information about this once underappreciated category. In Sweet Wines, James Peterson presents a country by country survey of the best in the world–from the fabled Sauternes of France to the crisp Mosel Ausleses of Germany and the rich ports and Sherries of Portugal and Spain.

Peterson describes how each wine is made, how it should be served, and what it tastes like. He also encourages us to explore both sweet and savory dishes paired with sweet wines. The book features dozens of helpful sidebars on topics such as organizing a sweet wine tasting, decanting sweet wines, and reading a German wine label. A glossary of wine terms and descriptions of the most important grapes is also

  • The Good Cook Book Club

The Duck Book

American ducks have idiosyncracies that are confusing to cooks who read recipes for cooking whole ducks. The secret to cooking duck is to cook the duck parts in different ways. While there are an abundunce of photographs in The Duck Cookbook that show the readers how to cut up a duck themselves, duck parts are now sold in most supermarkets. Once the cook has duck parts in hand, elegant duck dishes can be prepared in as little as 15 minutes. The Duck Cookbook has recipes for quick and easy dishes as well as long simmered preparations for cold winter days.
There are are recipes for sauted duck breasts with various sauces, duck salads, duck thighs braised with cabbage or sauerkraut, smoked duck, home-made duck prosciutto, duck spring rolls, Peking duck, and many more.

  • The Good Cook Book Club

Simply Shrimp

Here is a comprehensive guide to identifying, purchasing, and preparing shrimp, with recipes organized by the myriad ways shrimp can be prepared

10 Responses to Cookbooks

  1. Jim,

    Congratulations on your great revised Vegetables cookbook. (Your onion tart recipe is fabulous!)

    Here is our book review of Vegetables –

    Our website receives more than 330,000 unique visitors annually.

    Best wishes for continued success.

    Barb & Ron Kroll

  2. Jim says:

    Thank you for your so-kind review. I hope you continue to enjoy Vegetables.

  3. Yh Chong says:

    Really enjoy reading your books, thanks!
    I am wondering where can I find errata of your book/books? As I was thinking about getting your book “Baking” and a few reviews in Amazon are saying that there may be some typo’s in the book.

  4. Hi Jim,

    I’ve been cooking all my life (not professionally) and have more cookbooks than I care to mention. I love to cook, its my therapy, and about a year ago I purchased Cooking. Shortly after I also purchased Sauces (first edition). I have learned more between those two books than all the cookbooks before. Every time I try something new I go to one or both books for suggestions and have actually learned to follow the recipes (I’ve always just used cookbooks as a “starting point” and gone from there). Today I experimented with Lobster Crepe’s combining your “Nouvelle Lobster a’ L’ Amerricaine” finished with your Lobster Butter. Just before serving I added the lobster pieces and filled and rolled the crepe’s. I then covered them with sauce. They were delicious.

    I’ve lived all my life on the coast of Massachusetts and I have learned more about Lobster in the past 2 days then all the years before.

    Thank you for extending my cooking skills to the next level.


  5. Jim says:

    Oh, I’m so glad your lobster worked out. I’ve been developing a new technique: Poach a 2-pound lobster for 4 minutes. Drain it, cover it with a towel and let rest for 4 minutes more. Take the meat out of the shell. Take out any raw coral, work it through a strainer, and whisk it into a sauce base such as beurre blanc. Delicious and easy. People have been overcooking lobster for I don’t know how long–all my books say 20 minutes.

  6. Jim says:

    There’s no official errata, but some problems have been pointed out to me. If you get the book, let me know and I’ll point out the problems.

  7. Donna J. Wright says:

    Hello Chef,

    Recently, I have been looking for a new approach to teaching my Classical Cuisine courses. My first introduction to your collection of books was Sauces as a culinary student. After my search through many traditional format cook/text books, I decided to go with Glorious French Food, that had been on my shelf for a few years. The reason for this choice was that you offer the students something more than “just a recipe” on a page and have offered something special that a traditional text book cannot. The students are truly enjoying one of your beautiful creations. Your passion, understanding and notes, add great interest and knowledge to their reading assignments. I send this message with respect, appreciation and thanks.
    (p.s. the students have had to purchase the book online, not in the book store, due to the publication status)
    On to teaching!

  8. Jim says:

    Hi Donna,
    Thanks for your kind note. Let me know if I can be of any help giving advice, clarifying ambiguities, etc.

  9. Behrooz Mohammadzadeh says:

    Dr. Peterson
    Hi, my name is Behrooz mohammadzadeh.
    I am a PhD student in Seafood Processing and Technology department at Tarbiat Modares University, Iran.
    I was studyied your book with title:
    Topics this book were very useful for me who is research and work in seafood filed in IRAN.
    I will be very grateful that your guidance about method of preparation spreadable fishery product such as roe-spread or mince- based spreadable fishery product with introduces some papers or book or any scientific and industrial source that you identify.
    Beast regards.

  10. Jim says:

    Dear Mr Mohammadzadeh,
    I’m sorry to have taken so long to answer your question. I’m just learning how to work all this stuff. I’d be delighted to help you in any way I can but, I’ll be frank, I’m unfamiliar with industrial processes.

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