For a time the busy family mother (and it is mostly ladies with some notable masculine exceptions) have been led to believe that convenience and ready-made foods have been their saviour in the battle to achieve some form of work-family-life triangle. There is now a renaissance for home cooking and healthier eating, yet many younger people don't REALLY know how to cook! Help!
Fortunately this book cheerfully comes to the rescue without being patronising or overly-complex with its informal teaching style. This is not a specific "teach yourself cookery" book but even the inexperienced will be able to make a good meal after following the book's advice. And if you are a bit of a star in the kitchen, you might pick up a few new recipes, a few tips and maybe some time-saving routines into the bargain.
Cleverly, the author has planned everything so that you can prepare healthy, nourishing food for the entire family from just one recipe, making food suitable for adults, youngsters and even small babies at the same time. No separate meal planning and preparation! Modifications are easy and you even get some extra for your lunch the following day or the freezer.
As part of the author's quest to eat healthily there is inevitably a degree of "perception programming" which some readers may find off-putting. It is a fine line to get between stating fact and stating opinion and some of the recipes are based around the author's own perceptions, such as that cow's milk is meant for baby cows and not human beings, so alternatives are recommended where possible. A lot of information is given for the reader, such as an extensive overview of "wonder foods" which are highlighted as they are said to offer something above and beyond what most people eat every day and are worth including in your diet. Basic advice is also given about the art and methods of cooking and basic nutritional background information. Then it is on to the recipes, which are split into several logical sections covering typical meal times.
Many of the recipes are what one might fairly describe as basic, such as smoothies, fruit breakfasts and burgers, but the range overall is impressive, not repetitive and certainly appealing to the adult who really does not want more mushed vegetables. Of course, the younger ones might not care so much at the time, but hopefully they also learn through exposure and experience. Following the recipes is fairly simple, thanks to the informal and clear writing style, clean layout and overall demeanour of the book and thus combined with the wide range of recipes this could be an appealing proposition to many, particularly when combined with the quite unique "one recipe suits all" style.
Sadly though, the book does seem to lack a certain something to transform it from a good, regular book to a particularly super book. It might be the slightly nannying tone concerning ingredients that manages to cast a little shadow. It is hard to decide. But like restaurants, a three or four star restaurant is by no means bad, even if the chef had wished it could be a five star establishment. Perhaps that is the same for the author. Here is a good book, a quality "three or four stars" but it is not up there in the rarified atmosphere of a five-starer.
If you are expecting a child or have a young family, you might want to at least take a closer look at this book. If it gels with you and your expectations then you will be very pleased. Otherwise you need to find something particularly appealing in this book to pluck it out from many similar other ones.