Customer Review

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than it seems!, 8 Feb 2006
This review is from: The Kitchen Diaries (Hardcover)
I bought this book when it was so reduced I couldn't resist it. A great admirer of Slater, I had looked at it and thought it over-priced, wordy, self-indulgent, poorly presented, and of little practical value. Indeed, a week after buying it I had decided to throw it out!
I don't know what changed my mind, but I'm very glad I did. This is a goldmine of wonderful hints towards great food. There are little stories of what's in season, pointers to menus, food for friends, and hundreds of flexible ideas on producing meals around a main ingredient. As to the type of food, it's typical Slater and typically British - covering every cuisine under the sun with style, panache, and no pretentions.
The book would have won 5 stars, but it is over-conscious of the message, far too long, and the "realistic" photos are a mistake. Once you grasp the knack of looking for the bold text in the margin, however, it is transformed into a very valuable addition to the kitchen arsenal. I like it more every time I use it.
If you want cooking prescriptions with lots of useless pictures, stick to the glossies from TV "chefs". Otherwise, consider Slater's book an essential purchase - at any price.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Dec 2010 00:00:35 GMT
no one says:
So after all these years, what did change your mind?
Enjoyed the review.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2011 12:25:16 GMT
Thomas Holt says:
Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comment - a reasonable question! Looking back on it, and re-examining the book, I think I learned how to use the book without realising it. The problem is that I'm a very practical cook who worked full time when this review was written. I liked to find ideas quickly, make a shopping list for three or four days, get the stuff and cook as needed. This book is very difficult to use that way, until you learn how to identify the essentials quickly. Now I'm retired, I find it's also a good read! It has also given me one of my most used recipes - the blueberry and pear cake. This is an inspired combination of flavours - although Nigel claims it was dictated by the contents of his store cupboard. It's so simple and beautiful - the sponge rises through the fruit creating an extraordinarily complex array of colours, flavours, and odours. Eat it warm or cold, with ice cream, cream, or nothing - it's GREAT!
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