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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: 24.9 x 19.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,282 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

167 of 174 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Drum on 20 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett's book is full of useful and tasty-looking recipes. There is a chapter called "Bedrocks" in which they explain how to cook one large main meal and then spin the leftovers out into another two dinners (and possibly a lunch as well!). There are also plenty of other recipe ideas and a few puddings too. The one caveat I would express about this book is that it is about *cheaper* rather than *cheap* cooking. If you buy a lot of takeaways and ready meals and would like to eat more healthy and economical food at home then this is the book for you. It will save you money and be better for your waistline into the bargain. However, if you are cooking on a tight budget then the book would be entirely unsuitable and you would do better to go for Jack Monroe's book or something similar. A book containing so many recipes involving large, expensive joints of meat or a whole salmon, etc cannot really be anything other than a guide to help rather profligate middle class people to eat well for slightly less money than they were spending before. At one point they even exhort the reader not to throw out leftover meat but to reuse it instead. How many people do chuck out roast meat without even having the wherewithal to put it in a sandwich?
Nonetheless, There is plenty of inspiration here and their ideas for batch cooking mince, etc could be time-saving as well as economical. All in all, it's a good book but one aimed more at people who are not really poor but may be feeling the pressure of mortgage payments and rising fuel bills rather than those who are really struggling to make ends meet.
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197 of 221 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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Miller on 26 Sept. 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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