I loved 'How to Eat' and 'Domestic Goddess' so much that I ordered this book sight unseen. Stupid me. Living in the Netherlands, I hadn't had a chance to flick through it in a bookshop. If I had, I'd have seen what little substance there is to it. Unfortunately it was only once it had been delivered that I realised what a disappointment it was. There are very few recipes in the book and far too few in each chapter to provide a decent selection from which to choose. If you're looking for something to cook for a party, for dinner, whatever, you're going to need a book with a bit more content than this. Worse still, several of the recipes are rehashed from Nigella's previous books, so if you're a Nigella fan, you'll already have them. True, there are lots of lovely photos of Nigella looking lovely. Which is nice if you want to make a Nigella calendar, but I didn't. Photos of preparation techniques or finished recipes can be useful in a cookery book, sure, but do we really need 5 photos of the same cake? And which publishing bod came up with the trick of adding two blank pages at the end of each chapter for "Notes"? What a clever way of filling the space between the covers with a little bit more nothing. I had been so looking forward to receiving this book but, even with a 50% discount, I just feel I've been ripped off.
I loved How to Eat (it sits by my bed and I read it when I'm feeling grumpy, but I do cook things from it too!). How to be a Domestic Goddess was brilliant too, because I love baking. But this book is kind of a cop-out. It looks nice, but it's pretty lightweight compared to the more rigorous and extensive How to Eat. I'm probably a biased reviewer because I like cookery books for the writing not for the photography, but I know a lot of people feel differently. If you like photo-heavy books, you'll probably like this one, but if you like the more verbal approach go for How to Eat.
I love this book, it fits in so well with the recipes I am used to cooking from; old family recipes measured in bizzarely unique units of '2 mugfuls of flour - use blue mug with broken handle'. It's like having someone there cooking with you, which makes the whole process of choosing what to cook and actually preparing it a much more relaxed affair, as you can be confident that you're not in for any nasty surprises. If you still think you might be a bit nervous cooking, for instance, 'ham in coca-cola' for the first time, just mix up a jugful of Nigella's Bloody Mary and it wont seem half as bad! Nigella, if you're reading this (as you claim to be a late-night Amazon addict) then I just want to say a big THANKYOU - especially for the choc fudge cake.... and the orange muffins.... and the chicken soup.... oooooh, and the salt and pepper squid - amazing!
This is the first of Ms Lawson's books that I encountered and I absolutely loved her style of writing. Its all so realistic..."you can make this dish by doing this, this and this but if its all too much trouble just pop the lot in a blender and blitz." Her pancakes are a regular feature at breakfast in our house as are most of the cakes and biscuits. I think one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is that you can sit down and read it at any time, not just when you are looking for inspiration!