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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort
Some of the other reviews/comments I read had me nervous that this was going to be full of unobtainable ingredients and completely unfamiliar terms, but really it's just exactly what you would expect to find in any American cookbook. Kosher salt, cup measurements, cilantro, "minced" garlic and so on. Anybody who has any familiarity with American cooking terms will find...
Published on 30 Dec 2009 by David Stavros

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really all that...
To be honest, I bought this book with great expectations and it just turned out to be full of simple recipes with no real structure or linking between the dishes. A beautiful tome it is, but of very little use in a real kitchen.
Published on 12 Jan 2012 by Ms. V. Rjechko


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort, 30 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
Some of the other reviews/comments I read had me nervous that this was going to be full of unobtainable ingredients and completely unfamiliar terms, but really it's just exactly what you would expect to find in any American cookbook. Kosher salt, cup measurements, cilantro, "minced" garlic and so on. Anybody who has any familiarity with American cooking terms will find nothing to intimidate them in this excellent book. The slight problem you might find is that, where the author lists his stockists for speciality ingredients, most (not all) of them are US-based, so arranging delivery to the UK might be problematic - but this is barely an issue. Most of the recipes are truly accessible to anybody, and hard-to-find ingredients are few and far between. Most of the ones which are listed could easily be replaced with similar products which you've tracked down yourself (e.g. it's probably not necessary to have applewood smoked bacon sent from a specialist California supplier in order for the recipe to be a success), and others have UK suppliers which can be found easily on any search engine.

With that out of the way, what of the food? Clearly this is a completely new style for those accustomed to Thomas Keller's usual meticulous, stylised recipes. In fact the man himself admits in these pages that the restaurant which gives this book its name originally sprang from a desire to own somewhere at which he could serve a Hamburger. It should be noted that even though the food, then, is distinctly more relaxed and homely than his previous works, no sacrifices have been made regarding quality - the aforementioned hamburgers are made mostly with beef sirloin, which should give you some idea of the aim of the book. Another quintessential example of what to expect is the Meatballs with Pappardelle (meatballs which are made with beef sirloin, chuck steak, pork and veal shoulder, stuffed with mozzarella). This is a simple, familiar dish given the full treatment by Keller and his team in order to give the home cook a chance to produce something special but not completely outlandish. It reflects what I suspect to be the essential aim of most of the recipes in the book: to prove that, when given the proper attention, everyday foods can be something spectacular too - and there's no need to simmer anything for 3 days at a constant 73.6 degrees in a bath of Louis XIII and Dom Perignon.

Among a whole host of impressive recipes, I found the sections on Soup and Salads to be exemplary. In many books these recipes can be somewhat of an afterthought, but here they are laid out lovingly over 76 pages which will have you dashing to the shops for the requisite ingredients the day the book arrives if you are anything like me. The Chicken Soup with Dumplings looked too good to delay cooking, and as with the other recipes I have since tried, it more than lived up to expectations. Any effort required to track down ingredients or convert measurements (or simply buying a set of cup measures, which are a good addition to any kitchen) is more than repaid in the results it will yield.

Alongside the food itself, some basic tips on how to become a better cook are given in a fairly conversational style. These are simple and seem mostly designed to encourage the reader to learn on his/her own. Topics covered include how to judge the right amount of oil to use when sautéing (recipes which use specific measurements are met with scorn), how to improve your cooking by only attempting one new technique at a time and so on. Nothing earth shattering, but I'm sure most readers will be able to take something from them, and they are dotted throughout the book in such a manner that they don't interfere with your recipe browsing should you choose to ignore them. Some more practical tips such as how to correctly joint or truss a chicken are well described and accompanied by step-by-step photos which leave no room for doubt.

Gorgeous pictures accompany many (but not all) of the recipes, and the aesthetic of the book in general is of the high standard you would expect from a work of this calibre.

Overall, I strongly recommend Ad Hoc at Home to any keen cook. The recipes are just simple enough to be accessible, but not so simple that the dish is compromised. Unlike other books by chefs like Thomas Keller, you will probably find yourself more often than not thinking "I'll try that tomorrow" rather than "I'll try that next time I have three days to spare." Excellent stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home cookin' Keller style, 18 Dec 2009
By 
B. Arnold "benny the chef" (Holland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
Again Keller and his team have put together an impressive collection of do-able recipes focusing on comfort dishes and food your Granny would have made back in the day.
Techniques and methods are described in plain simple english with most ingredients and equipment commonly available.
He offers tips on preparation and general organisation as some recipes as expected contain several processes.
Overall a damn fine book worth cooking from or for the less active cooks a handsome addition to any coffee table.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, other reviews maybe a little unfair, 25 Oct 2009
By 
John Molloy (glasgow, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
I pre-ordered this book and having looked over it a few times and tried a few of the recipies i would give it 5 stars. I feel that marking this book down due to it having american weights and measures is a little silly, any conversion table on the internet will convert them for you. Also some of the ingredients in the book use american names, again not too hard to find out what the equivalent ingredients are.

if you can get over the fact that it is an american book written by an american chef there are some really simple but really effective recipies which are a pleasure to cook.

This book is markedly different from thomas keller's other books, but well worth the money.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Casual Keller, 27 Jan 2010
By 
Jonas S. Mathiesen (Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
Thomas Keller is a perfectionist in the kitchen and this shows in 'Ad Hoc...', as in his other food bibles. 'Family-style' does not indicate ease of execution. It should rather be understood as 'not Michelin Star / French top-bistro' food to be served for loved ones when time permits. For a seasoned home-chef the book is a great inspiration into Keller's American take on European classics. It is a great introduction into American food classics but with a sense of thought and a quality mindset to it so you actually want to prepare and eat the food.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Keller shows another side........, 13 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
I have been an admirer of Thomas Keller for a long time. His restaurant books are beautifully photographed and as a chef his attention to detail is second to none. In Ad Hoc, none of his attention to detail is sacrificed and anyone with an interest in cooking would be able to follow these receipies to their conclusion. However this is not a book for anyone who wants 'meals in minutes'. You will need to invest a reasonable amount of time in nearly all the recipies in this book, it's food you make for people you love and want to nuture. It's not food for skinny minnies!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I feel at home., 4 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
The nicest way to approach the perfection, following simple recipes, with simple ingredients, for an everyday great food.
As always, "Grazie!" Chef !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book, 10 Jun 2013
By 
Sarah-jane Coldwell "little devil" (the french riviera, france) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
What an amazing book from an amazing chef, everything is explained so well and the pictures are amazing. I cannit wait to start doing some or all of the recipies in the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Waited a long time for this one, 26 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
I had this product in my basket for a long while before I bought it hoping that the price might go down. However it never varied much so in the end I just took the plunge. I have only had a quick flick through so far. My only gripe would be that it is for the American market so therefore unless you spend a lot of time with your head in cook books, like I do, you may need to look up some of the ingredients and double check your measures. I.e. When a stick of butter is called for you will need to look up the UK equivalent, which I believe is around 4 0Z in old money, approx. 100gm in new! Collard greens are something else you may not have heard of either. But otherwise a beautiful book with achievable recipes. I am most certainly not disappointed with my purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting!, 4 Jan 2012
Love this book. Do like Mr Kellers enthusiam and the additional pieces he writes in the book. Very interesting. the recipes are a mix of very achievable and a bit of a stretch family meals. Most you could cook no problem but some would suit an older family rather than younger children. Only thing that irks us is the cup measures. Would prefer grams! Apart from that I have to say I love this book. It's one of the few I will sit down with and browse at night.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really all that..., 12 Jan 2012
By 
This review is from: Ad Hoc at Home (Hardcover)
To be honest, I bought this book with great expectations and it just turned out to be full of simple recipes with no real structure or linking between the dishes. A beautiful tome it is, but of very little use in a real kitchen.
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Ad Hoc at Home
Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller (Hardcover - 1 Nov 2009)
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