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Supper for a Song Hardcover – Illustrated, 2 Oct 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd; 01 edition (2 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184400743X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844007431
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.3 x 25.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Thrifty but delicious is the mantra in Tamasin's latest title. Leftovers, foraged finds or seasonal gluts are used in cookable recipes illustrated by warm homely photography."
-- The Bookseller, 17th July 2009

About the Author

Tamasin Day-Lewis is an inspirational food writer with a wonderfully refreshing style. In her own words, she writes 'for people who appreciate good food, for people of all skills'. Tamasin writes regularly for English and American Vogue, Saveur, Stella (The Telegraph Magazine), Sainsbury's Magazine, Waitrose Food Illustrated and Reader's Digest. She has also written a host of successful cookbooks, including her most recent food memoir Where Shall We Go For Dinner? A Food Romance (2007) and All You Can Eat (2008). She has also appeared in two television series entitled Tamasin's Weekends and Great British Dishes. Author Location: Somerset

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Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
With references to shooting parties, Ascot and her brother winning his Oscar scattered liberally through the text, this book really doesn't sit well with its "thrifty" tag. Frankly, Tamasin D-L is about as appropriate a guide to frugal food as Nigella Lawson, someone she resembles in many ways. Having said all that, this is a lovely book. It's gorgeous to look at, with photographs that don't just look pretty but genuinely help you to prepare the meals (something Delia's books often lack, making her detailed recipes look off-puttingly lengthy). The layout of each page is both attractive and clear, making it a real pleasure to use in the kitchen. Finally, unlike some recent offerings from TV chefs, it's a sensible size and actually stays open on a kitchen table.

So, what about the recipes? Well, they sound stunning - I see where she's coming from with the "thrifty" tag because she does encourage the attitude to food that all good cooks should try to cultivate. Use the best ingredients you can afford, be sparing with portions and stretch them to two or even three meals wherever possible. It does rather undermine this worthy concept, however, that she has a habit of chucking in pretty expensive extras as padding. Reminds me a bit of those TV shows where rich people volunteer to spend a few weeks on welfare benefits, blissfully unaware that poverty is a very different experience when cushioned by extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the cupboard.

So it's probably best if we forget the "frugal" tag altogether - her account of her days as a poor student will grate on your nerves if you're trying to feed a family on a budget without reaching for the Asda Value Lasagne.
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Tamasin Day Lewis's last few books have been a little disappointing. Her Kitchen Classics seemed a little rushed and I found many of the recipes unappetising and poorly written. Where Shall We Go For Dinner was a romantic fancy but not up to her usual standard and All You Can Eat is simply a compilation from her previous books (and some might argue a repeat of her brilliant Kitchen Bible).
However, with Supper for a Song, we get more than a glimmer of her previous brilliance, first glimpsed in her early books that were welcomed by true foodies. The thing with Tamasin is she is hard to market. Without the glamour of Nigella or the affable charm of Nigel Slater, she will always struggle to be accepted for what she really is - a truly exceptional food writer. Yes, she does come across as bossy and somewhat millitant about the organic food crusade. This is no bad thing and - newsflash! - the cookbook won't self-destruct if it senses that you've chosen to use produce from Tesco's budget range instead!
I have found all the recipes cooked so far to be superb, in particular the coffee and date sponge (a very cheap-to-make but delightfully simple recipe) and the chick pea and chorizo soup. Tonight I'll be making the fish pie, using whatever fish I have in my freezer.
Firstly, I feel that those who have left negative comments regarding the book and who have mentioned how wealthy Tamasin (and those who enjoy this book!) must be to cook some of these recipes, really don't have that much imagination in the kitchen. If you can't afford pheasant (and seriously, you really don't know anyone who goes shooting and is trying to give away freebie pheasant or rabbit, because I live in a large -non affluent - town and know several) then use chicken.
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4 Comments 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I wasn't going to read this book, being acquainted with Ms Day-Lewis's writing of yore for the Sunday supplements. In my mind I hear a hectoring, strident voice, talking about the fashionable issues: organic, sustainable, seasonal, Aga, farmhouse kitchen; listen to her Amazon video if you'd like to hear exactly what nightmare runs in my mind. Most of the other reviews talk about what "for a song" means to a woman of privilege, where economy means doing your own shopping in Harrod's/Fortnum's, and not sending the help out to do it.

It's true that the principle of economy is spoiled by the little additions. It also seems that the book came up a little short, and a number of the recipes were flung together out of the larder and pantry at the last minute, and further supplemented by a few luxury recipes rather than parsimonious ones. Her simple tea bread is jazzed up with Earl Grey tea and Fortnum and Mason's mixed dried fruits, but is otherwise identical to Mary Berry's Bara Brith recipe. But she does start with the classic "how to get three meals out of a roast chicken", and has a fair swathe of ways to use up left-over mashed potatoes.

This isn't a book for people lacking kitchen skills: some of the recipes are complex: take a look at the bay, honey and lemon cake, for example; and you need to know how to prepare cake tins and make a cartouche. But she name checks the right people: Elizabeth David and Anna Del Conte, and comes up with authentic seeming Italian recipe pastiches. The photographs are mostly of the actually recipe mixtures (this isn't as common as you might hope), although I did spot a couple of discrepancies, like a cake using what seemed to be fresh dates when the recipes calls for medjool dates.
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