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Delia's How to Cheat at Cooking [Hardcover]

Delia Smith
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
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Book Description

15 Feb 2008

In How to Cheat at Cooking, Delia has sourced a range of pre-prepared foods (from tins, chill cabinets, freezers and store cupboards) to help you short circuit cooking times and techniques. Readily available from supermarkets, delis, online food shops and farmers markets and of the very best quality these recipes using instant time savers will allow you to create fabulous food without the faff. How to Cheat is for people who don't want to cook, who think they can't cook, or simply don't have the time to cook. As Delia herself says, "Cheating's come on a lot and there's much more available. The way it's going I can't think of anybody who wouldn't want it."

Delia is Britain's most trusted food writer and her formidable track record of over 19 million book sold speaks for itself. How to Cheat at Cooking, created with her characteristic attention to detail, comprises over 150 easy-to-follow recipes all presented in a great contemporary design.

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Delia's How to Cheat at Cooking + Delia's How to Cook Book One + Delia's How to Cook Book Two
Price For All Three: 50.33

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press; 1st. Edition : 1st. Printing edition (15 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091922291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091922290
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 20 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Delia Smith is Britain's bestselling cookery writer, whose books have sold over 21 million to date. She began her writing career 40 years ago on the Daily Mirror and since then has presented very many cookery series on television and published numerous bestselling cookery books including Delia Smith's Cookery Course, Summer and Winter Collections, The Vegetarian Collection, Delia's How to Cook and Delia's Happy Christmas among others.

After a five-year break in 2003 to concentrate on Norwich City Football Club (where she is a director) and Canary Catering, Delia returned in 2008 with a new BBC TV series and the fastest-selling cookery book of all time, How to Cheat at Cooking. Her Complete How to Cook was released in 2009 to celebrate 40 years of writing recipes and was voted the Most Useful Cookery Book of All Time. She was also awarded a CBE for her services to the food industry. Delia is married to the writer and editor, Michael Wynn Jones. They live in Suffolk.

Product Description


"I really see Delia as a sunbeam of rational thoughts, striking through the clouds of food fashion...If any of these ingredients gives you a shudder, just ask yourself, who's more likely to be right: you or Delia? No, you lummox, it's not you." (Zoe Williams The Guardian)

"Delia's first new book in four years is set to become one of the biggest selling publications of all time...At 66, Delia is the mistress of mumsiness. I salute the queen of ease and an unashamed advocate of instant mashed potato." (Amanda Platell Daily Mail)

"Like any priestess worth her salt, she has absolved us of our guilt by occasionally employing time-saving devices, from ready-made sauces to pre-grated cheese...Yet when the timer has pinged and the cake has risen, Delia is The One" (The Independent)

"With Delia's How To Cheat at Cooking, Middle Britain's culinary saint has turned into a mischevious little devil...Oh, saint Delia. You have sinned and how we love you." (Richard and Judy Daily Express)

"I love Delia. I love the way she has introduced the pleasure of cooking into so many people's lives....The way I look at it is this. There is a whole world of cooking that lies between soaking your own beans and the microwave-head's instant chilli con carne. Somewhere along that line most of us will probably say 'No, I'm not going to do that - I don't have the time' or 'No, I'm not skipping that bit, it would be cheating the very people I am cooking for'. Somewhere along that line lies Delia's How To Cheat. No, I won't be buying her suggestion of ready-sliced and cooked onions...But I know that there are many people who will find that those canned onions in olive oil and a packet of frozen pastry will mean the difference between making their kids a lovingly home-made pie and giving them a defrosted one from Iceland." (Nigel Slater Observer Food Monthly)

Book Description

Britain's biggest name in cookery, Delia Smith, reveals her secrets to superb, hassle-free food

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Give it a go. 28 Mar 2008
I got this book as a gift and was a bit sceptical. I had seen an episode of the show and hadn't enjoyed it, as I wasn't very impressed by the look of the recipes. I really enjoy cooking so the idea of a cheats guide offended my sensibilities a little. Still, I gave some recipes a go and have been pleasantly surprised.

In an ideal world (which is obviously where many tv chefs and pundits appear to live given the comments I've heard on tv recently) we would all shop for organic food and spend at least an hour each day in the kitchen making our meals from scratch. But out in the real world we all know that's just not possible. The reasons for this are myriad but, I'd suggest, include:

Not enough time to cook meals from scratch.
A lack on interest in cooking.
A lack of experience in cooking.

It seems to me that Delia's book tackles these three issues with aplomb. For the inexperienced cook the recipes provide easy access to culinary competence. For the time-poor...well, most of the recipes are quick to prepare (even if a little thought is needed when shopping). And for those who lack interest, I suppose the hope of the author is that they'll try a few of these recipes and maybe ditch a takeaway or two.

There's so much sniping and snobbery surrounding this book because, I guess, cooking is such an emotive subject these days. But it's well worth giving some of these recipes a spin...I've been pretty impressed with the results.
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82 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a help for 'real life' 29 Mar 2008
By Dolly
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I grew up on 'Delia' food and can see exactly now what she means in the book introduction. I've had the book for a few weeks now and started cooking the recipes - unlike it appears some of the people who have commented here - so very, very judgmental without actually getting to grips with what I think Delia is trying to do and giving it a go themselves. All it seems to me is that Delia is trying to help us mad crazy women with a family and home to run to put tea on the table night after night, week after week, month after month. We have all fallen down the ready meal/takeaway trap too often - and I know this only too well because I am one of the people who is being truly honest about what we produce for tea every night. I have always tried to do the best for my family but sometimes with a full time job, young children, elderly parents and home life I don't always succeed. Isn't it great that someone we trust so well - ie Delia - has done all this great research for us. I don't have the time to trawl the supermarket shelves to find the best tomato sauce - but Delia has done it for me- and yes I have purchased it and we all loved it. No different than reducing a tomato sauce myself - which on a a busy home night just isn't possible. The casseroles are brilliant. Food is such a snob issue nowadays - all we are looking for is a tasty home cooked dinner each evening and if we have had a spot of good quality help achieving that all the better. All my close friends agree - go for it Delia and ignore (which I am sure you do) all those 'head in the clouds' comments I've read here tonight.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic help 2 Sep 2011
I read the reviews and was a bit put off, so bought this as a used copy for about 2-00. I have to say I am really impressed. I normally make all our meals from scratch but this gives you some handy shortcuts. I have 2 children aged 6 and 3 and I work, not getting in until 6pm by which time they are very hungry. This book helps you save time without losing out on the quality of the food.

At the end of the day, would I recommend this to a friend?.......yes I would.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes - this is a excellent resource 8 Jan 2009
I got this for Christmas and love it. I have tried the Lemon Meringue Pie and the Quiche Lorraine - both were excellent. I served the pie to friends of mine and my husband and they all loved it. I am American and this a dessert served often in the South - Delia's recipe really is excellent. The Quiche Lorraine I served to my in-laws - who loved it as well. It was so easy to make and was like something served in a good restaurant (as was the pie). I have chosen four recipes to do this weekend - ordering from Waitrose online (which doesn't stock everything Delia recommends, but has quite a lot of them). Not only are the recipes interesting and easy, it is nice to have had someone as picky (presumably) as Delia test out all the products she recommends. I would have been too nervous/busy to buy all of the things she did - like tinned lamb mince, Dress Italian sauces, Thai Taste products and Aunt Bessie's potatos. For me, that is a big plus of the book. I'm a busy mom who likes to cook well for my family, but find it hard to cook like I want to all the time. I think this book is great for women like me. Well done, Delia, and thank you!
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246 of 292 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much outrage! 9 Mar 2008
Deary me. Delia's latest really has upset a lot of people, hasn't it? The howls about tinned mince, the wails about frozen mashed potato, the gnashing of teeth at the thought that Delia might have 'sold out'. But the thing that no-one is mentioning is what the food is like. Check the ingredients on the items that Delia recommends and they're not full of hydrogenated fats or preservatives; they're good quality well-made versions of stuff you could make yourself *if you had time*. And the clue's in the title--this isn't a book about cooking, it's a book about /cheating/ at cooking. Would everyone have been happier if it has been titled "cooking by standing on the shoulders of giants"? She's quite clear that cooking conventionally is best, but let's be practical, people: we don't always have the time or the inclination to cook, and in those circumstances we all rely on pre-prepared food. How many of those who wrote negative reviews would think nothing of using dried pasta? Don't they know they should be making it from scratch?! And that's what all the noise is about really--much to a lot of people's annoyance, Delia has pointed out that these days there are pre-prepared ingredients out there that are at least as good as you could make yourself, and that if you cook with them you'll get perfectly acceptable results without having to slave in the kitchen for hours. That's her crime, not the food. Prove it to yourself: get the book, make the shepherd's pie with it's M&S tinned lamb mince and Aunt Bessie's frozen mash, then tell me that she's wrong.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 28 days ago by Sandy Turner
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It's OK but definitely my least favoured of my collection of Delia books.
Published 1 month ago by genierose
3.0 out of 5 stars The times have changed.
I first bought this as a scruffy paperback in the '70s, (1971 edn. Coronet Books, 1.50--I've managed to pick up a 2nd-hand copy since). Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. S. Atherton
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
As described and arrived within specified time.
Published 2 months ago by Peter K
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta Have
Delia as always provides simple easy to follow recipes for the busy person. The seafood spaghetti is to die for and a family favourite.
Published 2 months ago by Christine
5.0 out of 5 stars delia smith how to cheat
great and easy cook book. came exactly as stated which was good as it was intended for a late present.
Published 2 months ago by vincent malcolm
2.0 out of 5 stars Cooking from spice packs
Not really that useful if you don't want to buy so-and-so's ready-made spice packs etc. Nice ideas, but disappointing. Don't buy it new!
Published 3 months ago by Jill Hubbard
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab book
So impressed I have bought 5 more copies at this wonderfully cheap price to give to friends, daughter and daughters-in-law!
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Anne Helen Philip
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever marketing / expensive shortcuts!
Time saving recipes? By the time you have bought all the "cheats"
You will be seriously out of pocket and as well /cheaper buying ready meals !
Published 5 months ago by RUTH M FAIRGRIEVE
5.0 out of 5 stars An old book revisited
Have had this book for many years and always enjoyed a particular recipe, shared it with a friend and decided to try and find her the book! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gabrielle Douglass
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