405 of 428 people found the following review helpful
A bit of a rehash,
This review is from: Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home (Hardcover)
OK, let's start with what I love about this book: It's beautifully written, it has amazing photos of the food, it's presented immaculately and the recipes cater for most tastes.
The biggest plus point for me is the fact that the recipes seems so well tried and tested. I am a big Nigella fan and have all her books and I can honestly say that I have never, ever been let down by one of her recipes. As with all Nigella's books, the recipes in Kitchen are easy to follow, with accurate quantities, extremely helpful hints and encouraging chit-chat along the way.
Since getting the book last week I decided to try some of the recipes from it: Tarragon chicken, smoked haddock my mother's way, speedy scaloppine with rapid roastini, chocolate chip bread pudding, maple pecan bundt cake and blondies. These all turned out well (even if they didn't look as good as the pictures) and I would cook them again.
The book is 500 pages long and has 190 recipes, accompanied by some really beautiful photos. Nigella's writing style (friendly-chit-chat-by-the-stove) is one of the best things about this book, and I read it through once, before I started cooking from it. This was a hopeful start before I went back through it to earmark the recipes I wanted to try. And this is where I started to feel disappointed (and also where I duck for cover).......
I had a touch of deja vu: the layout, the type of recipes included (comfort, quick, children's, baking, cocktails) and also the type of ingredients used (chilli sauce, pasta, spices, rice, mirin). In fact I would say this book has a predominantly south east Asian and Italian bent. There's nothing wrong with this, other than it all seems very over-familiar and done several times before in her previous books. Yes, on one hand this could be a good thing because you know what you're going to get. But I was hoping for something a bit more "Wow". Dare I say it, but to me, Kitchen seems a little bland. Apart from the six recipes that I tried over the past few days (see above) there weren't many more that I really fancied trying. I went through it a few times, hoping for more inspiration and also hoping to add more post-it notes reminding me of the recipes I want to try. I found a handful at best which was very disappointing.
It's almost like some sort of "Best of Nigella". It's got a bit of all her previous books thrown in and packaged very glossily. For this reason alone I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't already own a Nigella cookbook and wants to try her style of cooking. But for me it is just a rehash. A tired format that I suppose I have just become bored with. I don't think it's her best work and I don't think I will be using it as much as her other books.
I say this very reluctantly, but for me, Kitchen is an uninspiring regurgitation that looks very pretty but is mundanely average.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Sep 2010 11:48:34 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Jun 2012 06:36:18 BDT]
Posted on 8 Sep 2010 12:12:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Sep 2010 12:16:48 BDT
Thank you whipmeupsomecream for this review. Considering the book was only released on 2nd September, I get the impression that the 5-star reviews on here are just part of the numbers games which a handful of Amazon reviewers seem to like to play at an awful lot simply to increase their ranking positions. They are not telling us anything we can't find out from the internet and I am sure we will get the 'edits' when some folks actually do some cooking from it!
And who knows what Mr W J Wright is harping on about, but clearly 9 other people are just as confused about his comment as I am and have voted accordingly!
I digress - your objective review has persuaded me NOT to buy this book, which is a first for me because I love Nigella and everything she represents. I examined the said book in a well-known High Street bookstore, today, and put it back on the shelf. In fact, I was also disappointed by the narrower size, which presumably necessitated the need for so many pages! It wasn't as 'glossy' as I was expecting and I am not keen on the run-on over pages which make it harder to use on a worksurface.
You are clearly on the same wave length as myself and I, frankly, have better things to do with £13 than purchase what is, allegedly, a re-hash of what the gorgeous NL has done before, packaged differently!
This sounds a little like what happened with Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities and the obvious disappointment with the glowing reviews on that, some of which were down-graded over time, but at least you got an impressively LARGE and sumptuous book for the money.
A reviewer like you is worth their weight in gold and Amazon definitely needs more like you!
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2010 12:13:13 BDT
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2010 20:43:43 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 28 Jan 2012 17:47:45 GMT]
Posted on 9 Sep 2010 23:54:43 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 9 Sep 2010 23:54:57 BDT]
Posted on 14 Sep 2010 10:06:37 BDT
I think you have made some valid points in your review and I am inclined to agree with some of what you are saying. I gave the book 5 stars as I can see it's potential as a slow burner and I actually like it.
Posted on 15 Sep 2010 04:57:39 BDT
A. G. Lamas says:
Thank you very much for your lovely review. It's been immensely helpful, especially since I don't own any of Nigella's previous books and this might just be the perfect treat for me. Thank you again for being so clarifying.
Posted on 16 Sep 2010 04:42:28 BDT
L. Stewart says:
I completely agree with you. I too also own all of Nigella's books plus her DVD's so I am immensely fond of her, but I feel that this book is just missing something, missing that spark. Its a pretty book that is beautifully written but yes, all too familiar. I keep flicking through it wanting something more but I'm just not getting it!
Posted on 16 Sep 2010 10:25:33 BDT
emma who reads a lot says:
I think this is a really interesting review, but I don't agree that Kitchen is regurgitation! Like you, I value how tested the recipes are, and that's why I don't feel that much compunction about recommending the book from the outset. Unlike you, though, I liked how low-key (and possibly 'bland') this book is. I love my Nigella books, but I often struggle to find everyday things to cook in them. I feel this book has more to offer my weeknight cooking, just because of its very blandness. I think for me this book goes back a bit to "How to Eat", with more chat, and those run-over pages which Maccie so dislikes :-). You did make me think carefully about what I valued in it, though, so I really enjoyed your review.
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2010 09:51:47 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 26 Jan 2011 15:25:21 GMT]