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Action Cook Book Hardcover – 14 May 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reissue edition (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007305877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007305872
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'How does one go about achieving some Harry Palmer style? Details first. Remember, Palmer is a gourmet, so get hold of the Len Deighton “Action Cook Book”.’ Michael Jacovides, GQ

'Len Deighton's “Action Cook Book” is not a good cookbook. It is a shockingly good cookbook.' Paul Collins, Village Voice

'Cooking as I'd never seen it: fun, cheeky, male and promising the awesome prospect of sex…The taut clarity of Deighton's writing, his encyclopaedic knowledge and attention to detail…The prose reads like Dashiell Hammett channelling Brillat-Savarin.' Waitrose Food Illustrated

'[Len Deighton's cookbooks] have attracted cult following for their brilliant design as much as for their comprehensive approach to cooking…his democratising, demystifying approach couldn't be more appropriate.' Guardian

'They showed the idiot novice male how to dice an onion without it falling apart; how to fine-cut parsley by rocking the blade rather than chopping it; how to sauté mushrooms without them yielding the water that would turn them into a gelatinous glop.' Simon Sharma

About the Author

Len Deighton was born in London in 1929. At the age of seventeen he became a photographer attached to the R.A.F. Special Investigations Branch. Following his discharge in 1949 he did a variety of jobs and in 1952 won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. His writing career began with The Ipcress File which was a spectacular success and was made into a classic film starring Michael Caine.


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By F. Seed on 4 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
A confession: as a poor student I stole this book from a bookshop in 1961. It's still on my shelf almost 50 years later, much sellotaped and stained, and is still the one I turn to for trifle, cassoulet, tripe and onions. In many ways it has dated: the home cook can buy good stock, decent croissants (make them? are you kidding?)and ripe tomatoes in cans and as passata. You'd be lucky though to find brains, crepinette and eels. Duck a l'orange is very 70s (go for passion fruit for an update) and things once considered exotic - minestrone, for example- now no longer are. Herbs and spices should now include e.g. smoked paprika and the Indian range. But if you still want to buy a mauve shirt, like the guy on the cover, and invite girls home as I did with middling success when I couldn't afford both restaurant dining and a babysitter (I was a single dad) or if you're simply looking for inspiration I recommend this book, an old friend, without hesitation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bismaquer on 12 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up while browsing in a book store. I had no idea Len Deighton was a cookery writer as well (Now that opening scene in The Ipcress File is explained!) as a thriller writer.

As befits the former food writer for The Observer, this is a technically excellent cookbook. It's really aimed at blokes - going into some detail about the science of cooking, and with some seriously good diagrams to explain the mechanics of cooking. It certainly isn't just a recipe book: it tells you what wines go with what food, what kinds of rice to buy for what effect, and what kitchen equipment to buy (and what to avoid).

It has dated slightly, but not where it matters. For example, a lot of the book writes as though you are going down to the local greengrocer, the local butcher and the local fishmonger. I'm lucky enough to have the last two, not many people in Britain are, so it's like an evocation of Britain past (and all the more charming for it). Tastes in wine have changed, as well. It's not every well appointed swinger that keeps a case of Pomerol on standby, let alone a third of a case of Chateau Margaux!

But where it matters, in the recipes themselves, and most of the general advice on drinks and equipment, it really is an excellent book to buy someone who, well, maybe doesn't hate cookery, but doesn't know where to begin. Especially if that person is a man. This is a completely different take to most basic books, and it's a really fun one. Just the thing to inspire a quirky guy to start cooking.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tangotastic on 12 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I confess I'd never heard of Len Deighton but I was impressed by this book, which I bought as a laugh as it promised old-fashioned 70s seduction via cookery.

Attempts to make this a seductive cookbook have perhaps not quite hit the mark, not least because the food would be too stodgy to allow you to get up to much "action" afterwards. But it's great for some serious retro recipes. Baked Alaska, anybody? For a man who loves eating, and who is a nervous but keen cook, this is ideal. As long as he's a red-blooded meat-eater as well, otherwise it won't just be the beans that will blanch. (I'm still intrigued as to how the lady caressing the cook on the cover would react to the idea of being served brains, but there y'go).

There are some good, solid recipes in here - I tried the borscht and it was WONDERFUL: don't skip the sour cream in it. The style is great as it's almost written in the form of little cartoons and diagrams so it's easy to follow. And I like his flexibility - sometimes he'll just tell you to use a dollop or a handful of something. Finally, there's a basic guide to choosing wine, creating a cocktail cabinet and selecting cigars as well, for those who wish to be hosts with the most.

A lovely present for a young bloke who's fed up making pasta or opening a tin. It's a good, comprehensive recipe book that will last a lifetime. Good price, too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By grandmere on 29 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
As an old lady I bought this for the sheer nostalgia.As a young wife I cut out the cook strips from the Observer and pasted them on my kitchen wall. I think, in fact I know, they were what gave me an interest in cooking.
Good common sense coupled with clear drawings and information. A delight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. R. Poole on 27 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ok, the cover might be a little naff but this book was first published in 1965. It's concisely written and very informative. As other reviewers have commented, the recipes are straightforward and uncomplicated, and the cartoon strip method of presentation is very effectiive.

Much of what Len Deighton wrote about food and eating is still relevant today. The diagrams that show which part of the animal particular cuts of meat come from are very helpful.

One thing to bear in mind is the fact that this book was written at a time when supermarkets were nowhere near as predominant as they are now; a time when people would shop at a baker's, grocer's, butchers etc.Finally, the book should be praised for its lack of pretension and "can do" approach, which might have been quite revolutionary when it was first published, at a time when for many men the kitchen was a foreign land.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ollie Cox on 14 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
So good to see this brilliant cook book has been reprinted. My dog eared original from the 60's was starting to fall apart - and my son kept nicking it to take to college. So now he's got the old copy and I've got this nice new hard-back version.

Len Deighton's lovely simple approach puts Gordon and Co in their place. And I'm sure the quality of his food is just as good.
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