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Economy Gastronomy: Eat Better and Spend Less Hardcover – 27 Aug 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (27 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718155726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718155728
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.3 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Described by The Independent as "a caterer with a conscience", Allegra McEvedy has been cooking professionally for 20 years, working her way through a clutch
of London's best restaurants as well as an eighteen month spell in the States.

She got her first Head Chef position at Tom Conran's The Cow, in Notting Hill, at the age of 24. During a spell in the USA, Allegra ran the kitchen at Robert De Niro's New York restaurant Tribeca Grill, regularly doing 500 covers a night.

In 2003, Allegra co-founded LEON, the award-winning, healthy, fast-food restaurant group, which opened its first outlet in Carnaby Street in 2004. Allegra gave up her role at LEON in early 2009 to focus on writing and broadcasting, though she remains a keen shareholder in the business.

Allegra was Chef in Residence at The Guardian for 3 years until 2009, as well as hosting a quarterly "cookalong", the internet's first live, interactive and illustrated cooking class.

Over the summer of 2009, Allegra co-presented Economy Gastronomy, a six-part BBC prime-time series about planning ahead, shopping well, spending less and using ingredients wisely.

In 2008, Allegra was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry, with the citation of promoting healthier eating and ethical sourcing in the UK.

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Merrett owns and runs the Victoria Pub and Dining Rooms in Sheen. He has been awarded a Michelin star twice, and is the author of Using the Plot: Tales of an Allotment Chef (2008).He was the presenter of BBC Two's Ever Wondered About Food... series, and co-presented a BBC Two ten-part prime-time series called The Best. Paul is married with two children.

Allegra McEvedy co-founded Leon, the award-winning healthy, fast-food restaurant group. In 2008, she was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry. She is the Resident Chef of the Guardian's G2, and writes a blog column for the Observer Food Monthly. Her second book Allegra McEvedy's Colour Cookbook won the IACP 2007 Cook Book award. She was born and educated in West London, where she still lives.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

166 of 173 people found the following review helpful By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book goes with the TV show on BBC2, which aims to create delicious meals that cost LOADS less. Paul Merrett is a chef I've seen before on TV, very accomplished and knowledgeable about food, but his co-author Allegra McEvedy is my favourite of the two. Tall, blonde, and a bit 'jolly hockey sticks', she shortens all her words, exclaiming "let's get in the kitch!" when she wants to start cooking. She just makes it all seem easy and fun.

There are a hundred recipes in the book, balanced between Merrett's, which are slightly more ambitious and restaurant-y, and McEvedy's which are tasty, tasty, tasty. (I'm not sure macaroni cheese with added artichokes is ever really going to make a truly 'cheap' meal, artichokes are just too pricey, but it tastes amazing.) She is the founding chef of London's LEON restaurant chain which specialise in really cheap delicious 'fast food', so she's great at knowing how to do things.

Most of the money-saving ideas are really good, and I'm impressed by the totting up of how much various households saved switching over to Merrett and McEvedy's system. Totally avoiding food waste is the most important element, with bits and pieces being used up to make stock, flavour soups and so on. And also they are great at sneaking illicit vegetables into dishes for kids who refuse to eat them normally.

This would be an okay book if it just put forward the system, but the recipes from these two fine chefs make it a must-have. Brilliant!

PS you can check out some of the recipes on the Guardian website, google Guardian and Economy Gastronomy and you should get four ways of cooking salmon.
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195 of 219 people found the following review helpful By Henry Turner on 16 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover
There's little to learn here for anyone but the least experienced cooks - except for a clear method that the cooks claim will save you money. Most of the recipes here are real standards that anyone with more than a handful of cookbooks will already have. Most recipes are very time consuming and not devised for people with limited time on their hands. The 'system' that McEvedy and Merrett advocate - creating a 'bedrock' meal then for days afterwards eating 'tumbledown' meals (ie leftovers) seems kind of crazy. Yes, leftovers are good, but what's on offer here is endless themes and variations on mince that you're supposed to consume across a week that would ensure that me and my family quickly gave up the will to live (or, at least, to eat). Some of the recipes just look plain ghastly. Anyone for Hot Dog Hotpot (frankfurters, egg noodles, white cabbage and a few other things)? No, I thought not.

There are plenty of other books anyone with a real interest in food will find far more useful: for ecomomy meals try Delia Smith's Frugal Food, Jocasta Innes's classic The Pauper's Cookbook or 101 One-Pot Dishes or even Fay's Family Food; for seasonal approaches try Delia's Summer and Winter, Jeremy Round's The Independent Cook, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall's The River Cottage Year or Valentine Warner's new offerings. I'd recommend this book only to people who intend to rigorously stick to the 'system,'. It's not a recipe book to dip into if you already have the odd copy of Delia, Nigella or Jamie on your bookshelf.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Miller on 26 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some good ideas in this book, which I have tried out, and will continue to try. However, the idea of bedrocks that take literally hours to prepare, both in terms of the bedrock, and then many of the tumble-downs - some of which aren't what you would describe as a "meal", eg.coronation chicken - does not appeal. If, like many busy families, you unfortunately don't have time to all sit down to a meal every night of the week, or plans sometimes change, then the bedrock and tumbledowns are also likely to go off.

Unless you have plenty of time to cook, you sit down every night to a meal (which I know we all should), and you don't mind eating the same thing for a few nights on the trot, then I would avoid this book and stick with your Jamie or Gordon quick and easy's.

And since when was it more cost effective to buy, peel and cook kilos of fresh tomatoes, rather than just buy them in a tin?!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trailfinder on 1 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover
mmm - a great idea in these recessionary times. The underlying philosophy is sound - making large amount of a 'base' recipe and then incorporating it in other dishes. There need to be a few more of these however, in order for there to be enough variety. For busy mums and dads, there could also be some suggested shortcuts e.g. the tomato sauce base using tomatoes that havent been skinned, cored and de seeded. One of the best moments in each of the programmes was the tips from the butcher/fishmonger for thrifty purchase. Such a shame they weren't included in the book. May be these could be put on a website.....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hannah on 31 Dec 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book contains really good, tasty recipes and some useful tips. But the let-down is the style of writing, which can be patronising and tiresome, and takes this book out of the league of the more well-known cook books. The bread section for example begins "I feel a rant coming on!" and sure enough does - please, spare us!

The other problem is that it feels like this book is missing an "About the Authors" section. Who are Allegra and Paul? What experience do they have in the kitchen? And why should we sit up and listen to their advice over others? Why have they chosen to write the book together? It seems that the answer to this last question is that they haven't - each section is written by one author or the other and each recipe's name ends with the initial of the author. This doesn't really seem to be of any benefit for the reader, more for the two authors who perhaps didn't really want to collaborate with one another when writing the book.

My advice would be to borrow this book from a friend or a library, but don't buy as there are much better books out there for keeping on the kitchen shelf (Delia, Jamie, etc.), which achieve the same "economy gastronomy" remit, but do so in a much more helpful, friendly way.
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