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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 14 December 2002
How to eat is the stickiest cookery book that I own, simply because I use it almost every day. I have not reccomended this to friends, I just pretend that I have always made perfect pastry, delicious ice cream and sumptuous cakes - instinctively.
Nigella Lawson's gift is that she lets you pretend that she is as cack handed as you or I undoubtedly are and fills you with an enthusiasm for eating which quickly lures you stoveside. I have read this book quite a few times, almost as you would read a novel and have found it extremely comforting. Buy it if only to make the ham in coke, (sounds disgusting I know - but tastes fab), the pastry - it has never failed me and everybody is impressed by home made pastry. Plus the writing, this really makes you feel that you have a friend and a glass of wine in the kitchen with you.
If I could only buy one cookery book, this would be it.
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on 17 November 2003
Suffering from an eating disorder I had forgotten what it was really like to enjoy food and the fun of preparing and sharing it with friends. The book was a gift from my brother and at first I was less than enthusiastic finding the "no pictures" format rather off putting for a recipe book. However, after reading the first few pages I was hooked and have not been able to put the book down since. I have remembered the feeling of eating and enjoying just through Nigella's description of how she feels when savouring childhood comfort foods. I have rekindled the desire to share with others the kind of "communion" that one only finds around a table. It's not the recipes themselves that inspire me its Nigella Lawson's enthusiasm and confidence that spur me to want to enjoy food.
Far from the low fat, vegetarian, overly dressed way of cooking this book encourages sheer enjoyment and appreciation of real food that we all experienced years ago, before the age of diets and when cholesterol wasn't an everyday word. All of these recipes are easily adaptable both to diet and the amount of time available for the task, they seem to be more of a suggestion to which personal taste is the key rather than the list of ingredients.
A well written, fascinating and inspiring book.
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on 1 February 2004
No problems with the book, but this is the US version - hence measurements in cups, degrees Farenheit, etc.
Just thought I'd post a warning.....
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on 24 May 2000
More like an evening in with your best mate and a bottle of wine than a cookbook, Nigella Lawson's book is just brilliant. It's absorbing, funny, intelligent, and completely addictive - and that's before you even get to the recipes! Totally unpretentious yet gloriously indulgent, packed full of sensible, practical advice that will boost the kitchen confidence of even the most cack-handed cooks. I've read this over and over again and am not bored of either the writing or the recipes. Great to see a cookbook that revels in greed and has a healthily dismissive additide to food fads, dieting and general gastronomic snobbery. Buy it!
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on 6 June 2005
As someone who wants to be more than a dabbler in cooking, I have to say that this book is absolutely superb. The recipes clearly walk you through the processes and are written in such a way as to inspire confidence in one's abilities rather than terror at one's perceived inadequacies. Even better is the fact that you can actually sit down and take pleasure in simply reading through. It serves to put you at your ease, and - certainly in my opinion - the warm anecdotes, stories and suggestions for cullinary sourcing are a much better use of space than pictures of the results of every recipe. I find that pictures engender an unrealistic expectation - certainly nothing that I have prepared ever looks as good as the picture on the pages of the recipe book, hardly surprising when they are usually created by professional chefs and photographed by professional photographers, both of whose jobs are to make the subject as artistic and perfect as possible. You end up feeling disappointed, which does little to assist in your appreciation of the food. This book avoids all that in favour of reassuring you that one's first pancake or blini is invariably a disaster, but once the first is out of the way, it gets better.
IIf you are looking for an invaluable kitchen companion, then this would be my first recommendation. Read it cover to cover, don't just flick through for the recipes, you miss so much that way. There's simple, everyday suggestions scattered throughout what some seem to think of as filler text.
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on 2 April 2005
This book has almost replaced my Delia Smith's Complete cookery course, which I used to use for everything - rice, yorkshire puds, pancakes etc. It covers all the basics - how to cook veg, meat, rice, cakes etc and then progresses on to recipes, organized in helpful chapters, such as 'Fast food', 'Cooking for 1 or 2', 'Cooking for babies' - it has lots of new and interesting takes on older recipes - beef stew with prunes (delicious - far better than you can ever imagine), pea risotto...
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on 6 May 2005
This book is the most useful book I have in my collection. Everybody can use it - if you are single, if you are dieting, if you have small kids, if you are having a dinner party.... Nigella has suggestions for what to cook!
Read it and learn a lot about methods, measurements, indgredients - use the recipes as they are or be inspired to invent your own recipe - and the book is perfect for bedtime-reading!
In a few words - this book has everything!
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on 26 April 2006
I've had this book for about four years now. I had browsed through it a couple of times in bookshops but decided against it because it didn't have any pictures. It was only after I bought and loved Domestic Goddess that I decided to give this a try. It's fantastic! I have used this book time and time again. I think I counted about thirty recipes that I've tried and enjoyed, which is more than I have used any other book in my collection. What is more, I have more success with Nigella's recipes than almost any other recipe book writer; she's very reliable. I highly recommend this (and Domestic Goddess).
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on 30 January 2002
I normally buy a recipe book on a whim, flick through it, put the book on a shelf in the kitchen, and then promptly forget about it.
I bought 'Nigella' on a whim, read it from cover to cover (twice), got post-it notes out, stuck them on exciting recipes that I couldn't wait to try... and promtly ran out of stickies!
I've discovered that Marigold is not just a type of rubber glove, but is one of the best stocks I've ever come across. I had no idea ham in coca cola was such a good idea. Strawberries in balsamic vinegar even impressed my Dad. But the best bit for me was that I still felt good if I just cooked a bit of pasta with a can of something!
PS The seven minute steamed chocolate pudding saved my marriage.... but that's another story!
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I wasn't sure what to expect of this book; being a big fan of Nigella in our house, we already own a lot of her more recent books (such as Nigella Express, Kitchen, Nigellisima and of course Nigella's Christmas).

And when I first flicked through the book I was worried... no images, or at least no food images(!). Recipes in book are sometimes broken up with a random image of a rolling pin or a random ingredient, but I really thought I was going to hate this book (have uploaded a couple of images so you can see how typical pages look).

Thinking I had made a mistake (and wishing I had clicked Amazon's `look inside' before buying) I started to read the book anyway... and turned out to be very pleasantly surprised.

`How to Eat' is less your traditional recipe book of instructions accompanied with images, it is much more like listening to a friend tell you how to do a recipe.

Indeed the book is very conversational and contains all the information and advice you could wish for; my wife likened it to her mum telling her how to do a recipe over the phone and I think this analogy is very appropriate.

The book contains over 350 recipes, with the premise of them all being uncomplicated and delicious. And to date I would concur.

To try and summarise the main things we like about the book:

-The recipes are straightforward and very doable
-We have found no mistakes in quantities / oven times etc (something that has rung true with all of Nigella's recipes we have tried across all books)
-Nigella's writing style - really is like chatting to a friend over a coffee about food and recipes
-The detail in the recipes; advice / information is not lacking nor is it too much

All in all, yes this book is very heavy on the text, had I known that I probably wouldn't have bought it, but weirdly I'm very glad I did. My wife especially enjoyed reading it almost cover to cover when we first bought it and it is now regularly referenced in her day to day cooking. I would especially recommend the Birthday cake from the `basics' section (very simple but exceptionally tasty and rich chocolate cake).

If recipe images are an absolute must though, even as a fan of Nigella this probably isn't the book for you; but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this if heavy text doesn't put you off and you love READING about food / reading through recipes with no images.

I had considered that the kindle version might have been better - you certainly wouldn't be missing out if you bought this version. But if like us you like to have the recipe to hand in the kitchen, then probably still best to buy the book (our Kindle would be dead when I look at the state of some of our recipe books).

I'd also recommend opening the `look inside' image on this product page and scrolling to the end as it lists all the recipes in book, and for the most part we find them to be most suited to everyday cooking.
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