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An alternative to the companion title '200 Easy Suppers'
on 30 April 2012
I recently bought a used copy of '200 Easy Suppers' and gave it to some young friends who were looking for ways to prepare some easy meals rather than always eating takeaways. In many ways, this is rather similar except that speed of preparation rather than simplicity and ease of preparation is the central point. The authors are not the same but, within the series which is now almost 20 titles, several authors' names appear 2 or 3 times and on very different titles.
I had made the point in another review that most home cooks have a repertoire of 10-12 meals that they can make without referral to a printed recipe but many will have rather fewer. We are all quite busy and may not have an hour or two to devote to preparing and cooking a meal once we get home from work or university. We could probably find twenty minutes and the results will probably be more nutritious and certainly far less expensive than any takeaway. There is nothing here that demands exceptional skill or complex or unduly expensive equipment. A few basic tools such as a kitchen knife, a serving spoon or spatula and a couple of pans and a cooker is all you really need apart from the necessary ingredients. Some things, dried herbs or pepper for example, will last for months and can be easily stored in a dry cupboard. Others, such as the meat or fish can be bought, some used and the rest frozen once resealed for use on another occasion; fruit and veg can usually be bought in small quantities, especially when not pre-packed, so storage need not be an issue.
The nature of the series is that all the books share a common size and format. There are usually 110-115 main recipes and most will have a variation in that certain ingredients may be exchanged for others, an obvious example not knowingly in the book would be Shepherds' Pie and Cottage Pie - you could turn one into the other by replacing minced lamb with minced beef. Replace the meat with fish and you are well on the way to Fishermens' Pie.
Every recipe has an accompanying photo illustration and an introductory section usually provides explanations for a few terms used within that book. A good index follows.
Despite the obvious subject differences of the respective titles and the many authors involved, the books are very consistent in their presentation. If you own one title, another would be a good companion. If you own 'Easy Suppers' do you need this too? Probably, yes, as there is little that is common in their content. As may be expected, there is not too much here for vegans or vegetarians, but that is another common feature of the series.
The books are very good value and have a very good presentational quality. Small, but not pocket-sized, they will be quite at home on a kitchen shelf where they will be easily available when needed. The sole criticism is that the books do not lay flat or remain open during use and they will need to be weighted down.
An excellent choice for the busy cook or anyone wishing to add a few simple meals to their repertoire.