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8 of 71 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be careful with this book! Much too simple., 22 Jun 2010
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This review is from: The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Paperback)
I guess the clue's in the title, it's the wrong type of cookery book for me as I find most of the recipes MUCH MUCH TOO SIMPLE to be delicious and you kind of think perhaps true Italian food is just about using just tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs (as so many of the recipes reads more or less the same), nothing like the British/American scrumptious jazzed up version of Italian food we're used to and love eating! For example the vegetable section, most of the different vegetables are simply prepared with Parmesan and olive oil. No wonder the book's 2 inches thick, same boring 'basic' recipes repeated for different meat and vegetable! I've tried several times trying to pick a recipe from this book but keeping turning them down in favour of recipes from other cookery books, even my Eastern European cookery book (written before the fall of Iron Curtain) has far better & much more interesting & unique recipes. If this is not the type of book for you, go for more glorified version of Italian cookery book - I'm still looking.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jun 2010 00:05:05 BDT
D. Downie says:
Simple and delicious is what Hazan is about. Did you try the fricassed chicken with red cabbage? The braised lamb with vinegar? The spaghetti and carbonara? This is meant to be simple home cooking with delicious flavours.

Posted on 26 Jul 2010 13:53:39 BDT
This has to be a contender for the most-missed-the-point-of-the-author post in years. Try cooking the recipes before you reject them. Food doesn't need to be complicated to be good, it just needs intelligence.

Posted on 26 Jul 2010 19:48:54 BDT
Matt says:
What a pointless review that I just had to reply to. Why on earth this obsession with overly complex cooking?
British / American Italian? You mean pizza and spag bol?
Keep on looking for that 'glorified' version of an Italian cookery book - or better still, try to understand cooking just a little more intelligently. The simplest ingredients can create the most versatile and incredibly tasty dishes, but only if your prepared to *learn* how ingredients work together, instead (excuse the pun) of being spoon-fed ridiculously complex recipes and never understanding *why* they work.

Talking of Eastern food, the best book I ever bought for Chinese cooking cost 4, had no photographs and was wonderfully simple.
If you want a coffee table book full of stupidly difficult recipes with glossy photo's, I guess your rubbish at cooking and spend more time reading cookery books than actually cooking, or inventing your own recipes.

Posted on 19 Aug 2010 21:52:31 BDT
soopdragon says:
Italian food in even the simplest of restaurants from sardinia -up to Bolzano in the the north is simple.Not overloaded with ingredients. I wonder if you have ever eaten in italy -but certainly I have never eaten italian food in britain to compare ,because simple fresh ingredients are the key and the attempts by American and british chefs to jazz up Italian cuisine is a great pity. I had shepherds pie the other day in an up market restaurant some fool had added green pepper.....see what I mean?

Posted on 29 Dec 2010 19:02:48 GMT
R. Pavey says:
I agree with the previous comments. I think in order to make a recipie consistently successful, you have to 'cook by feel', as among other things, your ingredients cannot be consistent. I've used this book mostly to create pasta dishes, and from it have learned to make pasta from scratch and several dishes that I'm frequently asked to cook, such as the 'sugo de pomodoro e panna', 'capeletti con le panna' and another cream sauce with gorgonzola (If I've got the names wrong, my apologies, I do not have the book in front of me). The recipies I've used have been fantastic, but in order to make them so has required an understanding of all the usual cooking variables, and especially, how to 'tweak' them all in order to convey the product to the dining table. I think a recipe is a starting point; it is simply not possible for a recipe to guarantee a good result, let alone an exceptional one; due to the aforementioned variation in ingredients. This may or may not seem obvious, but I believe that the consideration of this is the essence of a good cook. (by saying this, I'm not for one second claiming that I AM a good cook). If you were to follow the quantites and cooking times of any recipie and did not achieve a 'gourmet' result then the obvious temptation is to blame the recipe. But I suggest that if you cannot cook her recipies that I mentioned earlier and achieve a stunning result, then you have no place in the kitchen. I'd also like to add that this book allows you to depart from the dreary, generic cooking that is all too often the sad norm for the British/American take on Italian cuisine that we all know.

Posted on 28 Feb 2011 02:29:54 GMT
Eli says:
Italian food "is just about using just tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs". If it was like "the British/American scrumptious jazzed up version of Italian food", it wouldn't be Italian, would it?. Yes, the clue was in the title, you should have guessed a bit harder.

Now go and buy a hamburger and leave reviewing books to people who actually can.

Posted on 28 Feb 2011 02:31:44 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 28 Feb 2011 02:32:03 GMT]

Posted on 23 May 2011 14:39:33 BDT
I am an Anglo Saxon who now lives in Italy. I have always cooked and always found that the best food comes from the fewest, most fresh ingredients. I am sorry to keep hammering home what others have said before-and likely better-than I can, but I must agree with all who have commented here. Actually, I am surprised that Parmesean cheese was added to any of the grilled vegetable recipes, usually a little drizzle of olive oil is all that is needed! Not because Italians are boring cooks, but because-until recently-the quality of Italy's produce made any other seasoning of vegetables useless, each vegetable bringing its own unique flavour to the mix. I am blessed to live here because there really is still the sacrosanct idea that one should only cook with what is in season. So, yes, ridiculous as it sounds, we get very excited for the few weeks that fava beans are to be found in the markets, for example. They tend to herald warmer weather and are best eaten as a light supper, straight from their casings with good bread, pecorino cheese, and a glass or two of chilled white wine. I know what you are talking about with your "scrumptious, jazzed up version of Italian food"; it is what we call here "tourist food" eaten, I am sure, in "tourist portions". A true Italian meal will have "a little of much", if you see what I mean: A pasta or rice dish to begin with, then a meat or fish dish, then vegetables and salad, then fruit, always fruit, then perhaps a particular pudding and then coffee, especially at lunch. The trick to these meals is that each course's portion is small, or should be, and that each mouthful is savoured. Yes, we (still, though Berlusconi is fighting it) have 3 hour lunch breaks. It is not because we are lazy, it is because when one eats, one should SIT DOWN AND EAT, preferably with one's family. Ideally, then, one should sleep. When one wakes up, one is refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of the day (yes, most everything is closed between 1 and 4pm and then open from 4 or 4:30pm until 8pm). It is only in the last decade or so that one is seeing the alarming rise in obesity here, especially among children. And why? Because the concept of eating sensibly is dying while the concept of eating well persists. The quality of food has gone down, as it has all over the world. I will be buying this book. And it is because of your review: I feel that it is the least I can do to help keep the concepts of good food and better eating habits alive.

Posted on 14 Jun 2011 08:36:22 BDT
maybe italian food just isnt for you as this womans recipes never fail to deliver. The pork with juniper berries and mushrooms was to die for. Yes simple but why mess around with your food? You should try heston if you like complicated cooking.

Posted on 27 Aug 2011 21:16:58 BDT
As ill-informed reviews go, this one takes the biscuit! I rather expect that if you were to comment upon a recipe book featuring genuine Indian cuisine, you might complain about the lack of a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. The sweeping generalisations ("most of the different vegetables are simply prepared with Parmesan and olive oil" and "so many of the recipes reads [sic] more or less the same") are not only factually incorrect, but betray a complete lack of understanding of how Italian cooking should be. Have you ever even BEEN to Italy? And if you have, did you ever venture beyond the tourist trap pizzerias? Somehow, I doubt it.
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