Trying to identify a cookbook

Thought I’d see if the hive mind could do better than me at thinking of this book (or thinking of Google keywords to search for it…)

I read this cookbook a few years ago. It was pretty new at the time. I can’t remember anything about the title at the time, but I remember the author was male.

The “hook” of the cookbook was that it didn’t have any set recipes–instead, the author would divide the book up up into different dishes, and then provide charts with variations on the dish.

I wrote a few of them down: for example, there was a basic chicken breast with a pan sauce. First, the author would provide all the cooking instructions; first sear the chicken breast, then add liquid, blah blah. Then there’d be a chart with with various viarations on the ingredients you could use. For example, Chicken Breast Sauteed with Apricots and Rosemary, Chicken Breasts Prima Verde, Asian Inspired Orange Chicken Breasts, etc.

It was really useful and I’d like to check it out again. I’ve searched with google many times, but I’m not sure of just what keywords to use in order to find it, since I can’t remember many details.

Has anyone else ever read this book? Thanks in advance!

How to Cook Without a Book?

Edited to add link. A great book!

Good try! That book is a very similar kind of thing and it looks really interesting, but it’s not it. Like I said, I’m pretty sure it was by a male author, and it was one of those very fancy cookbooks–full-color illustrations, glossy pages, etc. Also there were literally these charts with different ingredients, not just descriptions of variations.

Ratio? I haven’t read that one.

No, Ratio is a tiny book, no photos, and gives recipes. It starts with basic formulae for various sauces, baked goods, etc., and then expands them into example recipes.

It is, however, an awesome book to have.

Cooking for Geeks?

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! Those all look like great books, but I’m afraid none of them are quite right… I wish I could remember any other details about it! I know there was a website that went along with the book, but I have no idea who the publisher was or anything. I’ve actually gone to the library and looked through the shelves, but didn’t spot any likely candidates. It might have been checked out or something. Hmm.

To Serve Man?

Mark Bittman - “How To Cook Everything” ? Though he’s written a few cookbooks, this one has recipes and variations that you might actually cook. On one page he would describe how to properly cook a boneless chicken breast, and include variations - Asian flavors, Italian flavors, and so on.

No Bittman’s other book with Jean-Georges Vongerichten Simple to Spectacular.

Oh yes, that has to be it! Bittman was a good guess but his “How to Cook Everything” doesn’t have glossy photos, and is a more straight-up cookbook than what the OP’s description suggested.

You might also like Albala’s The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time

It also reminded me of Nigel Slater - I think the book is Real Food.