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Delia's How to Cheat at Cooking Hardcover – 15 Feb 2008
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"I really see Delia as a sunbeam of rational thoughts, striking through the clouds of food fashion...If any of these ingredients gives you a shudder, just ask yourself, who's more likely to be right: you or Delia? No, you lummox, it's not you." (Zoe Williams The Guardian)
"Delia's first new book in four years is set to become one of the biggest selling publications of all time...At 66, Delia is the mistress of mumsiness. I salute the queen of ease and an unashamed advocate of instant mashed potato." (Amanda Platell Daily Mail)
"Like any priestess worth her salt, she has absolved us of our guilt by occasionally employing time-saving devices, from ready-made sauces to pre-grated cheese...Yet when the timer has pinged and the cake has risen, Delia is The One" (The Independent)
"With Delia's How To Cheat at Cooking, Middle Britain's culinary saint has turned into a mischevious little devil...Oh, saint Delia. You have sinned and how we love you." (Richard and Judy Daily Express)
"I love Delia. I love the way she has introduced the pleasure of cooking into so many people's lives....The way I look at it is this. There is a whole world of cooking that lies between soaking your own beans and the microwave-head's instant chilli con carne. Somewhere along that line most of us will probably say 'No, I'm not going to do that - I don't have the time' or 'No, I'm not skipping that bit, it would be cheating the very people I am cooking for'. Somewhere along that line lies Delia's How To Cheat. No, I won't be buying her suggestion of ready-sliced and cooked onions...But I know that there are many people who will find that those canned onions in olive oil and a packet of frozen pastry will mean the difference between making their kids a lovingly home-made pie and giving them a defrosted one from Iceland." (Nigel Slater Observer Food Monthly)
Britain's biggest name in cookery, Delia Smith, reveals her secrets to superb, hassle-free foodSee all Product description
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For those not old enough to know, Delia's first 'How to Cheat ...' book, published in the 1970s, was about how to convince people you were a good cook when you weren't necessarily that experienced, expert etc.. This one is mostly about cheating the clock, and producing good food more quickly and easily.
I live in the country, and have limited options for 'popping to the shops' for forgotten items etc.. Although I do cook for the freezer, I also cook a lot FROM the freezer, and Delia has excellent advice on stocking both freezer and store cupboard with easy-to-use and short-cut products, and of course the recipes to make with what you've got. She does a good job of taking hassle out of making 'real food' (like Jamie Oliver), and she and Jamie can't be wrong, can they?
I live in France, so some of the items I might buy if I lived in the UK are absent - there's no way that Aunt Bessie's potato products will make it into my freezer, for example, but as I'm a low-carber this is no bad thing!
Delia herself says that not all her product recommendations are available from the same supermarket (isn't somebody missing a trick here - busy/remotely-located people may not find it easy to shop around and a supermarket which stocked (almost?) everything would surely find favour with them), but of course Amazon can be a good source of store cupboard items, as can E-Bay.
As with so many things in life, the key to this is mostly organisation, probably, and organisation starts with a list or lists! Delia's lists are there in the book to get you started.
The book is made of good-quality materials - I bought a used copy and it arrived in excellent condition.
Delia is a genius.
Probably good if you value your time over money... I think it's likely to be more expensive buying the branded cheat food packs (e.g. frozen roast potatoes) than it is to make them from scratch