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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Cooking, but is it really for kids?
Firstly, this is a great book - right up there with my all-time favourite cooking books. There are some inspirational recipes in there, and even the apparently more traditional ones are discussed in such thorough detail beforehand that you are forced to think through the whole process of preparation and cooking. It really does make you regard these recipes in a new...
Published on 31 Dec 2004 by P. Yale

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok for confident beginners but product of its time
I bought this as I read the other reviews which raved about the book for great recipes they could serve at a dinner party and the average supper, and the lower stars were more concerned with appearance on delivery or the equipment. I should have the read the dates of the reviews.

Yes in 2004 we were still in the middle of a food revolution, people were...
Published on 18 Jan 2012 by Lilyfae


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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Cooking, but is it really for kids?, 31 Dec 2004
By 
P. Yale "philipyale" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) (Paperback)
Firstly, this is a great book - right up there with my all-time favourite cooking books. There are some inspirational recipes in there, and even the apparently more traditional ones are discussed in such thorough detail beforehand that you are forced to think through the whole process of preparation and cooking. It really does make you regard these recipes in a new light. Having just acquired a digital temperature probe, I'm especially keen to try the low-temperature cooking that Blumenthal champions.
The only quibble I have with the book is that for one that claims to be aimed at getting children involved in cooking, I could find very few practical techniques or methods or recipes for achieving this. There's a fair bit of theoretical discussion about the merits of getting children involved in cookery, which I fully endorse. There are also some interesting food tasting experiments, which kids could find fun (and so could adults!) Apart from that, though, the other references to children are almost exclusively about simply urging the reader to get their children involved, about how much Blumenthal's own children enjoy a particular recipe, or how they themselves enjoyed making it. Mr Blumenthal is lucky - I can't imagine my own children tackling those particular recipes (too daunting), and some more specifically children-oriented recipes would have been nice. Blumenthal does explicitly distance himself from "gimmicky...happy parent monthly magazine" style recipes in the foreword, but I can't help feeling that in trying to avoid that particular trap he's swung the pendulum too far the other way.
Nonetheless, for adults it's a great book. Don't hesitate to buy it.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking, 4 May 2004
This review is from: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) (Paperback)
I have never before read a cookery book that has excited me in this way. This book is revolutionary and worthy of it's many awards. I have heard of the author and his restaurnt The Fat Duck before and thought that the dishes would be difficult to follow and indeed they were the exact opposite! I have used the recipes with my two daughters age 4 and 16 and we have all enjoyed the experience. Mr Blumenthal manages to not only create delicious food but recipes that let you understand and respect the ingredients. My husband and i have used the recipes successfully for diner parties and also with the children for our midweek pasta nights. Well done Mr Blumenthal and Thank you. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With two young children, our most-used cookery book, 5 May 2010
By 
Mark Harrison (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) (Paperback)
I first came across Heston Blumenthal a couple of years ago, when I was given "Further Adventures in Search of Perfection" as a Christmas present. I liked that book's obsession and story, but the recipes were all too complex to even consider trying to do at home.

Family Food is a different story - it's about balancing the "how" with the "why."

Many cookery books tell you what to do, in a very prescriptive way - exact temperatures, exact amounts, exact cooking times. Blumenthal on the other hand tries to explain WHY you might want to cook a piece of meat to a particular temperature, and then gives advice on how to get the inside to that temperature, rather than assuming that your oven works in the same way as his.

Others have noted that the "getting children involved" aspects of the books seem to just be ongoing requests to parents that they should do so... but I've found that the recipes do seem to lend themselves to having places where children as young as five can get involved in a helpful way, and hopefully increase their knowledge of real food as something that doesn't come in a plastic carton from a supermarket.

The book isn't perfect - there are the odd things left out (macerate rhubarb for 2 days - but is that in the fridge or at room temperature, Mr. B???) but there are two compelling reasons why I have to give this 5 stars:

- It's the book we use more than any other, ahead of Delia and even Conran (our previous winners.)

- The sight of my five-year old son, stirring away following one recipe and then turning round to tell his mum "I'm so clever", as he mixed and mixed.

Oh, and if you're buying this book and don't already have one, you'll end up needing a meat thermometer. Trust me on this.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kindred Spirit,, 26 Oct 2006
By 
M. Hendrick "Shendi" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) (Paperback)
Although I do not have children I was drawn to the book by Blumenthal's awesome reputation. The book is very easy to follow he even points out where problems might occur and how to prevent them. Like me he too is dismayed by the way companies are marketing junk food at children and when I read his intro especially about a certain juice company I knew we were indeed kindred spirits. So if you hate juice that is actually just chemicals and teddy bear faced sandwich meat this is the book for you, he draws on his experience with his own children as to how to get children to open up to new tastes and flavours and I think the book is brilliant the recipes taste just as good for an adult!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most practical introduction to Heston's cookery, 28 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) (Paperback)
I bought this book after watching and reading much from Heston, but apart from his chips didn't feel that able to use much from his recipes apart from an attitude of enquiry. So it seemed that as there was a family cookbook that it would be a sensible thing to get it and try that. It works!

I had the book on the bedside table for a week and read it cover to cover. It is very 'doable' and the text interesting. Then we started to work through the book and almost every time the results have been very good and surprisingly easy. The one occasion when it didn't work out was the slow cooked lamb but that was down to not having oven thermometer which was my failure. This has been corrected with a visit to Ikea.

It has also been a very good forum to talk about the process of cooking with my children and to get them involved. A great cookbook. Wish he wrote some more in a similar vein.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome change, 19 Mar 2003
By A Customer
A fantastic new direction for cooking! Heston Blumenthal treats the food with new and traditional techniques that really, get the best from produce. There is alot of those old myth's and wives tales that are proved to be so wrong, using science to dispell them. He also passes on his own enthusiasum for food, which in turn is then passed down to children, making them interested in eating new things, widening their appreciation of food, as they have been involved in preparing the food that they eat. Once you try cooking a roast chicken at low temperature, you'll never go back, its amazing. I found that the way that he explains about what happens to food when we cook it, fasinating and easy to understand. A must for anyone interested in food and even better if you have children.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - really does what it says, 10 Mar 2003
If you read Heston Blumenthal's column in the Guardian - put aside your prejudices. His column is notable for its championing of weird and rather unappetising food marriages - innovation at the cost of edibility! However, this book is really thoughtful and a brilliant way of getting your kids into the process of cooking. Also some of his recipes are very good indeed - even some of the really basic stuff makes you stop and think - he actually has a recipe for cheese-on-toast that could be life changing (it's baked rather than grilled, with wine and scope for other additions). My son (who is 12) uses it all the time. It hasn't made him like aubergines (nothing short of magic would do that) but it has converted him to lentils!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book with lots of valuable info for cooking geeks, 16 Mar 2011
By 
L. Ather (Berlin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) (Paperback)
I really like the way that Heston Blumenthal explains the science behind the recipes and talks about how to include children in cooking/eating. Lovely book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars expert cookery made simple., 1 Dec 2009
By 
Mr. Shane Smith (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Expert cookery made simple by one of the masters. Take for instance gratin potatoes. With a very simple twist on the traditional method heston not only shows us how to enhance the flavours but also reduces the fats by using more milk than double cream. I actually used Elmlea to reduce it further. Try his triple cooke chips...This is truly a great book with simple tips for the young, old, amature and experienced.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok for confident beginners but product of its time, 18 Jan 2012
By 
Lilyfae (West Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) (Paperback)
I bought this as I read the other reviews which raved about the book for great recipes they could serve at a dinner party and the average supper, and the lower stars were more concerned with appearance on delivery or the equipment. I should have the read the dates of the reviews.

Yes in 2004 we were still in the middle of a food revolution, people were beginning to realise that farmers markets were not strange things that 'other people' went to and many people had started to or wanted to move away from the 'pierce and ping' culture of the 1990s. Though it may be argued by some (my mother included) for the majority of Britain making things from scratch was strange at the turn of this century and Heston here filled a niche for middle-class parents who could afford the ideas he puts forward in the books (or good average income cooks to adapt to budget)- for most people then (and more so today) Heston's ideas are too expensive if we try to feed ourselves daily rather than Sunday lunch (rib of beef is obviously so affordable for the everyday family to have Sundays in Heston's 2004 world).

The other more practical ideas are done and dated for the capable or at least adventurous cook in 2012. I appreciate the arguments for the methods of cooking that Heston puts forward, but to be honest, I've already got these recipes done ten times over - and I know that Delia's work because Heston obviously respects her. Some of the basic recipes are reminiscent of Delia's Big black book and he even gives her advice on testing freshness of eggs!
It would be useful for a young recently married or pregnant woman with a good income who hasn't cooked anything since biscuits in Y9 food tech and wants to feed her family nutritiously and develop good cooking habits and techniques for the future. That and she could get a reluctant hubby or child to help using the instructions and build their own skills together.

For anyone who can cook already and is comfortable following a Delia, Nigella etc recipe, don't bother, for food that kids will really eat Nigella's How to Cook has a whole section from toddlers up.

Disappointed enough to go to the trouble of returning it! but then Heston has come on leaps and bounds in the last 8 years just like my cooking skills.
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Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library)
Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) by Heston Blumenthal (Paperback - 4 Mar 2004)
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