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Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (Penguin Cookery Library) Paperback – 4 Mar 2004
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'An eye-opening approach to what little angels should eat' -- Daily Mirror
Family Food is a sure candidate for recipe book of the year -- Independent on Sunday
Heston Blumenthal is by far the most innovative and original chef I have ever come across -- Egon Ronay
This is a chef to be cherished -- Matthew Norman, Sunday Telegraph
This is a book for all the family to use. It will encourage children to have a go at cooking with their parents. It will provide tips and advice on how best to feed your children now, specifically with the abundance of readily available junk food around, and how to start enjoying family meal times around the dining tables instead of in front of the television. The author will cover the problems of the breakdown of the family unit at mealtimes, he will look at supermarkets v smaller specialist shops and he will underline the pleasures that can be had from sitting down to a family meal together.See all Product description
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I had the book on the bedside table for a week and read it cover to cover. It is very 'doable' and the text interesting. Then we started to work through the book and almost every time the results have been very good and surprisingly easy. The one occasion when it didn't work out was the slow cooked lamb but that was down to not having oven thermometer which was my failure. This has been corrected with a visit to Ikea.
It has also been a very good forum to talk about the process of cooking with my children and to get them involved. A great cookbook. Wish he wrote some more in a similar vein.
Family Food is a different story - it's about balancing the "how" with the "why."
Many cookery books tell you what to do, in a very prescriptive way - exact temperatures, exact amounts, exact cooking times. Blumenthal on the other hand tries to explain WHY you might want to cook a piece of meat to a particular temperature, and then gives advice on how to get the inside to that temperature, rather than assuming that your oven works in the same way as his.
Others have noted that the "getting children involved" aspects of the books seem to just be ongoing requests to parents that they should do so... but I've found that the recipes do seem to lend themselves to having places where children as young as five can get involved in a helpful way, and hopefully increase their knowledge of real food as something that doesn't come in a plastic carton from a supermarket.
The book isn't perfect - there are the odd things left out (macerate rhubarb for 2 days - but is that in the fridge or at room temperature, Mr. B???) but there are two compelling reasons why I have to give this 5 stars:
- It's the book we use more than any other, ahead of Delia and even Conran (our previous winners.)
- The sight of my five-year old son, stirring away following one recipe and then turning round to tell his mum "I'm so clever", as he mixed and mixed.
Oh, and if you're buying this book and don't already have one, you'll end up needing a meat thermometer. Trust me on this.
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