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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook [Paperback]

WATERS
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.95
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Book Description

22 Feb 1996
This timeless addition to the Chez Panisse paperback cookbook library assembles 120 of the restaurant's best menus, including galas, festivals, and special occasion meals that have become such gustatory celebrations. A full range of menus is featured, from picnics to informal suppers. Line drawings.

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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook + Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook + The Art of Simple Food
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Product details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA Inc (22 Feb 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679758186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679758181
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 18.7 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 608,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good idea book 3 April 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I enjoy reading this cookbook more to gather ideas than to find recipes I want to cook. Alice Waters describes how she and her team at Chez Panisse created many of their memorable meals, what inspired them, the problem that arose, and how they worked around those problems. What she doesn't write about as much is the actual process of preparing the food--the recipes. Of course, for some of these menus, it would be virtually impossible to create in a home kitchen, or to have access to the ingredients (a pig feed a diet heavy with garlic comes to mind). Good ideas for the knowledgable cook.
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4.0 out of 5 stars full of creativity and taste 21 July 2010
By P Knitty VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I love this book. It is full of wonderful ideas and great creativity.
Many things can be adapted to be easy to do at home. It gives me lots of pleasure.
There are many lovely dishes liked poached pears and figs in Zinfandel that are simple and delightful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic You Must Have 8 Jan 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There's a special reason we go to the books of the great chefs. It's not to throw a meal together in 2 minutes, or to make sure we will find a dish we can cook with no trouble in two pans in our kitchens at home. It's to look inside an imagination and see what someone can achieve with ingredients and passion when it's what they do all day, every day, with devotion.
As Nigella Lawson said about another writer, "I often cook, if not directly from it, then inspired by it (which is more telling)". This is a truly inspiring work, one you will go back to again and again. From the buckwheat crepes with glaced fruit and eau de vie, to the amazing amazing fish soup, simple dishes with corn and over the top reworking of french classics, the judgement of flavours and textures is perfect. Ignore Water's fetish about perfect lettuce, read it, and just go to the kitchen. 10 stars out of five, the best of all the Waters books.
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good idea book 3 April 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I enjoy reading this cookbook more to gather ideas than to find recipes I want to cook. Alice Waters describes how she and her team at Chez Panisse created many of their memorable meals, what inspired them, the problem that arose, and how they worked around those problems. What she doesn't write about as much is the actual process of preparing the food--the recipes. Of course, for some of these menus, it would be virtually impossible to create in a home kitchen, or to have access to the ingredients (a pig feed a diet heavy with garlic comes to mind). Good ideas for the knowledgable cook.
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not your run of the mill cookbook 27 Dec 2002
By Norman Hanson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of Alice Waters' early books, and it shows, as compared to the later ones. Many of the recipes are complicated, and involve ingredients that are not easy to come by, even in NYC. I read it more for amusement. The later books (Vegetables, Fruit, Cafe), are much more user friendly and result in great dishes. I wouldn't recommend this to someone new to her philosophy of cooking, or who doesn't have serious kitchen experience.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 29 Oct 2006
By Rose City Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
American foodies owe a debt of gratitude to Alice Waters. She is the patron saint of California cooking, or new American cooking, or whatever you want to call it. She's the one who gave us goat cheese croutons, roasted beets, mache, and so many other now-ubiquitous dishes. "Former Chez Panisse chef" is just as much a brand name as the brand named meats and produce she serves at her restaurant.

For those reasons, I actually read The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook cover to cover, the way one reads an MFK Fisher book - to get an understanding of the cook's philosophy as well as recipes. Both women write in a formal style and have strong ideas about ingredients, preparation, presentation, and consumption. Unfortunately, Water's writing is more spare, perhaps as befits a patron saint, and lacks the pithy humor that leavens Fisher's books. Reading her prose is more like learning a lesson than being entertained.

Which may be why this book struck me as an essential book for someone who wanted to learn to be a restaurant chef, but not particularly useful for someone cooking at home. Most of the menus require some final preparation of the next dish after the preceding one has been served - possible in a restaurant, but not much fun at a dinner party if the cook wants to eat with the guests.

The individual dishes are also complicated or labor-intensive, causing me to often think as I read, "I'd eat that if someone made it for me." Waters is particularly fond of leg of lamb, lobsters, and quail and her recipes for these show the difficulty in preparing them at home. First, most of the lamb recipes call for spit-roasting the leg of lamb. She even explains how to build a spit. In my spit-deficient kitchen, those recipes are not possible.

Second, while I find a steamed lobster to be a wonderful treat on a special occasion, Waters takes the fun out of it with instructions to semi-cook a lobster, then remove the meat and make a fumet with the shells - a process involving roasting the shells, making the broth, putting the shells in a blender, then straining the whole thing through a fine sieve - then finish cooking the lobster. Whew!

Finally, quail do not usually show up on my dinner table, but if they did, I do not think I'd have the dedication to follow Walter's recipes. In most of her quail recipes she gives similar instructions: "Marinate the quail in a cool place overnight . . . turning the quail four to five times during this time." No little boney bird is worth losing a night of sleep.

Reading this Menu Cookbook made me want to spring for dinner at Chez Panisse, but it did not make me want to don an apron and start cooking.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Showing its age 6 April 2003
By Joseph F. Mcconnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's a lot of good sense and good food in this book, but the California style is getting a bit past mark of mouth, if you'll permit an archaic phrase/pun. I've made a few of these dishes, and they're fine, but somehow this isn't the book I pick up and flip through, asking myself, "what's for dinner?" With Jody Adams, Daniel Boulud, and Pat Wells on the shelf, I'm not sure I'd call this a "must have" addition. But, if you're a Waters fan, go for it .
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