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10 Reviews
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old favourite now in hardback.
My paperback copy of this book is falling apart with use - it is one of my favourites - and now a hardback is available. If you like Elizabeth David you will love this, it is intelligent, eloquent and very evocative. The recipes are detailed but not strict. There is a lot of emphasis on the nature of ingredients and on general method, which invites improvisation and...
Published on 11 May 2003 by S. Richardson

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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
I happen to find Richard Olney's prose tiresome and too many of the recipes don't appeal. However this is still an enjoyable book. His recipe for brussels sprouts is essential for anyone who has only eaten that vegetable as boiled mush.
Published on 13 Nov. 2000


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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old favourite now in hardback., 11 May 2003
By 
S. Richardson (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Simple French Food (Hardcover)
My paperback copy of this book is falling apart with use - it is one of my favourites - and now a hardback is available. If you like Elizabeth David you will love this, it is intelligent, eloquent and very evocative. The recipes are detailed but not strict. There is a lot of emphasis on the nature of ingredients and on general method, which invites improvisation and confident invention.
The 'simple' food of the title is simple in the sense that it is not the over-elaborate food of urban restaurants, it is about the best home cooking which you can still find in unpretentious small town cafes. But simple does not mean artless, it is about well chosen ingredients combined with great technical understanding and real sensitivity. This is French food at its best, and an inspiring book for adventurous cooks.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life enhancing, 8 Mar. 2001
This review is from: Simple French Food (Paperback)
I have just ordered my third copy of his book as the previous ones have fallen apart. In fact my only reservation about the book is the poor quality of manufacture! Richard Olney was oe of the most inspiring cookery writers of the 20th century and I have enjoyed reading this book as much as cooking from it. His enthusiasm for food is infectious Although some recipes in the book may look a little daunting don't be put off. Most things really are simple once you get the idea. try the sauteed chicken with fennel, or if you're a veggie the braised fennel perhaps substituting wine for the suggested water. The lamb shanks with garlic are also meltingly delicious. While we're on garlic, why not try the absolute classic garlic chicken. My partner is a veggie and she finds many recipes to enthuse about. Try the sorrel tart!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 11 April 2007
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This review is from: Simple French Food (Hardcover)
Just reading this book makes you want to dance about gleefully in your kitchen like some culinary Rumplestiltskin. Yes, Olney's turn of phrase can sometimes grate, but it's also partly what makes the book an absorbing read. His understanding of 'cuisine bourgeois' is second to none, and if I could only have one French cook book in my library it would be this one.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic., 24 April 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple French Food (Paperback)
This is a modern classic, and regularly acknowledged as such. Its charm is in several parts. First, there is Olney's distinctive prose, which is a literary pleasure in itself, then there is the way he avoids as much as possible set recipes (though there are lots of splendid recipes here): his idea being rather to communicate an attitude towards preparing good food, illustrated with possibilities (if you happen to have some of this to hand, do this, if you have that, then do the other, alternatively, try something else entirely).
It also says something about his definition of simplicity that while he is, to put it mildly, uncompromising in his attitude to food, it is possible for someone living in a shared student flat to learn a lot from him (as I did). I'm currently on my second copy, the first having deteriorated, in the course of years, into a bundle of loose sheets.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, 7 April 2013
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Anthony J. C. Graham (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Simple French Food (Hardcover)
What a wonderful food writer. Gentle. Sophisticated. You can almost smell and taste the food he describes. Some good learning as well.... If you are interested in food and enjoy books about food, eating and creating dishes to enjoy; read this. Richard Olney is one of the best food writers ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 8 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Simple French Food (Hardcover)
Worth double the money, easy to follow and there is something for everyone. The style is easy to follow and set out in themes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Simple French Food (Hardcover)
Wonderful book, written by excellent food writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good one to have on the bookshelf., 8 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Simple French Food (Hardcover)
Very good book..simple recipes & worth the price
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, 13 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple French Food (Paperback)
I happen to find Richard Olney's prose tiresome and too many of the recipes don't appeal. However this is still an enjoyable book. His recipe for brussels sprouts is essential for anyone who has only eaten that vegetable as boiled mush.
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6 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull Dull Dull, 1 May 2009
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This review is from: Simple French Food (Hardcover)
I am sorry, but this book must be for the hardcore cook/professional chef. The book is drab, it contains no images of the food, it is just page after page of overly long paragraphs of preamble. The author's writing style is fitting for the age of this "classic" - it's dated!

If you're an avid reader, then this book may be for you, but if like me, getting on with trying recipes is the reason for buying a book, then it is not!

If like me you want an attractive, honest and inspiring introduction to french cooking, do not buy, you will open it once, then consign it to the cookery bookshelf to collect dust!
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Simple French Food
Simple French Food by Richard Olney (Hardcover - 10 May 2003)
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