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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4

on 12 March 2003
Let's start with the basics. This book is a high quality item: it looks beautiful, is finely presented and has wonderfully appealing photographs. It would be a great asset to someone who likes to collect aesthetically pleasing foody books or would make a supreme (and expensive-looking) gift!
For me, this book did not quite hit the spot although neither is it completely useless. The main premise of the book is that by using a series of techniques devised by the author, you will be able to cook classic recipes but with the addition of much less fat. The techniques are described in detail in the first chapter and include such things as "emulsifying" fats such as butter by boiling them with water thus increasing their volume without adding to "caloric" value. She also has methods for smoking fish or meats in the comfort of your own kitchen, using nothing but a bog-standard frying-pan and real wood chips (a dangerous sounding activity, if you ask me). She is very keen on maximising flavour without adding fat and has many suggestions for marinades, dry-rubs and the use of flavoursome herbs, spices and condiments which are quite useful. My main complaint is that many of the methods sound time-consuming and complicated (I have not as yet tried them out) and I prefer a rough-guide approach which gives you ideas on what to throw in the pot without being too strict on detail. Whilst she is flexible in the ingredient lists she recommends suggesting many variations on the same recipe depending on what you have to hand, she does stress the importance of properly weighing and measuring the items and the techniques themselves are quite specific (not everyone’s cup of tea!)
Anyone looking for a truly low-fat cookery book will not be satisfied with this one. I would call this a "lower" fat book which includes recipes with cream, butter, cheeses etc but in lesser amounts than less health-conscious books! This will dissapoint some.
Having moaned a little about the shortcomings of the book, I'll just add that some of the recipes such as rustic free-form fruit tarts, foolproof roast chicken with its own pan sauce and miso-sake glazed fish fillets look absolutely divine and for the cook with a little time on their hands and a desire to experiment, this book will offer masses of cooking and eating pleasure.
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on 27 July 2005
I took this book out the local library, a safe option because I don't like buying cookbooks only to find that the pictures are the only thing positive between the front and back covers.
This is the best cookbook I've read in a very long time. Ms. Schneider could have made a lot more money by breaking her book into smaller books. There is so much content and all of it is unbelievably useful. She has sections on marinades, infused oils, simple broths, dry rubs, and even a how to section with information that you are always looking for in cookbooks like 'how to peel and section citrus fruit.' It isn't the type of cookbook that you just thumb through and hope a picture cries out to you although if you read through a recipe the ingredients themselves will pretty much tell you it is going to be fantastic.
I've actually sat down to read each section in my own time and I've learned a lot of new techniques that are sound and healthy without sacrificing flavour. One of the ones I've gotten quite adept at is infusing oils with flavour using a variety of herbs, garlic or anchovies... whatever. Schneider calls for using pasta water and the oil, a mixture which coats the pasta perfectly eliminating the need to keep adding fat to make it taste good.
As another reviewer mentioned, these are not the traditional low fat recipes with 1 teaspoon of fat and lean turkey so if that is what you are after, buy another book. The reason it is NEW is because it challenges the idea that in order to be healthy and lose weight we need to do away with all butter, cream, bacon etc. I've been using her cookbook for the past month and I am astounded by how good I feel. Clothes are fitting better and I don't feel this nagging desire to run down to the local Sainsburies to bury myself in a bag of Taste the Difference chocolate chip cookies.
I think many of the techniques she calls for seem time consuming at first because they are unfamiliar. What I have found is that once you do them two or three times they become second nature. This is the aim of the author, in my opinion... to empower people to be creative in the kitchen while still being healthy...
I'm a believer.
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on 30 November 2001
This is a wonderful book on may levels. It concentrates on giving generalised recipes, practical ideas and techniques for tasty healthy food - much like Nigel Slater's "Apetite" but with an eye to the waistline, and a much broader range. For example, a recipe for roasted vegetables gives a range of what could be used, rather than specific ingredients and quantities. It also suggests how else a recipe can be used, eg tasteless winter tomatos can be tranformed by slow roasting to something tasty to go on bruschetta, in a soup, a sauce, etc. Good details on what to make in advance, how long to store in fridge or freezer, etc. There is also a section I have been craving for years - handy 'zingy' additions to standard food ... the kind of thing you look for when you know what you want but can't quite finish it off: a quick sauce, a coulis, a different salad dressing.
The book is easy to use, lovely to read, and very practical. Although written for the USA, there aren't any overly obscure ingredients and there are always alternatives (eg parmigiano or 'old' Jack) and since the recipes aren't about 'spoon feeding' the cook, they work.
I have a full time job, get home quite late and like to sit down with my family for a tasty but healthy dinner. I can cook, but want new ideas all the time. This is the kind of book you can read, close and get cooking; or search, follow and serve. This book works for me.
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on 12 March 2003
Let's start with the basics. This book is a high quality item: it looks beautiful, is finely presented and has wonderfully appealing photographs. It would be a great asset to someone who likes to collect aesthetically pleasing foody books or would make a supreme (and expensive-looking) gift!
For me, this book did not quite hit the spot although neither is it completely useless. The main premise of the book is that by using a series of techniques devised by the author, you will be able to cook classic recipes but with the addition of much less fat. The techniques are described in detail in the first chapter and include such things as "emulsifying" fats such as butter by boiling them with water thus increasing their volume without adding to "caloric" value. She also has methods for smoking fish or meats in the comfort of your own kitchen, using nothing but a bog-standard frying-pan and real wood chips (a dangerous sounding activity, if you ask me). She is very keen on maximising flavour without adding fat and has many suggestions for marinades, dry-rubs and the use of flavoursome herbs, spices and condiments which are quite useful. My main complaint is that many of the methods sound time-consuming and complicated (I have not as yet tried them out) and I prefer a rough-guide approach which gives you ideas on what to throw in the pot without being too strict on detail. Whilst she is flexible in the ingredient lists she recommends suggesting many variations on the same recipe depending on what you have to hand, she does stress the importance of properly weighing and measuring the items and the techniques themselves are quite specific (not everyone's cup of tea!)
Anyone looking for a truly low-fat cookery book will not be satisfied with this one. I would call this a "lower" fat book which includes recipes with cream, butter, cheeses etc but in lesser amounts than less health-conscious books! This will dissapoint some.
Having moaned a little about the shortcomings of the book, I'll just add that some of the recipes such as rustic free-form fruit tarts, foolproof roast chicken with its own pan sauce and miso-sake glazed fish fillets look absolutely divine and for the cook with a little time on their hands and a desire to experiment, this book will offer masses of cooking and eating pleasure.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse


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