Pros: Excellent layout, unusual recipes, great theme dinners, gorgeous photos
Cons: no categories such as desserts or entrees
The Bottom Line: Very well laid out, this book will ease you through any special meal or dinner party. Easy-to-use and delicious, the variety of meals is enticing and a great resource.
Just when I thought it was safe and I had successfully avoided Sam's Club evil cookbook section for a few months, it was time to renew our BJ's Wholesale Club membership.
It was dinnertime and we had just paid the bill for the year when I wandered through the store innocently looking for something for dinner. As I coasted up each aisle, I had no idea of the fate about to happen to me.
I was just thinking how nice it was to relax when it hit me. That photo, that price. I broke out into a sweat.
Yes, dear reader, I had ended up once again in the evil section. Even BJ's Wholesale Club has an evil section.
It was too late. I was hooked. After all, where could you get a book like this for $9.99?
WHAT IS THIS BOOK LIKE?
COOKING WITH GREAT COOKS by Arlene Feltman Sailhac is a very different cookbook.
It is a paperback book 9 3/4 by 8 3/4 inches in size. There are 383 pages counting the index. The binding is excellent, allowing the reader to lay the book flat while using it. The pages are shiny for easy wiping should you spill on it.
This book was done by the woman that headed up De Gustibus at Macy's. It is a place (open since 1980 )where famous chefs come to demonstrate practical cooking for the home kitchen.
There are copious amounts of photos, many taken in an outside atmoshere. Looking through them is like taking a walk in a gently sunlit garden to look at the flowers. It is relaxing and energizing at the same time. The meals are interesting, creative and enticing.
HOW IS THIS BOOK SET UP?
Strategies From Our Great Cooks and Chefs Cooks and Chefs (who they are and where from) Techniques (for doing anything key to using the book) Pantry Recipes (for basics to have handy to use) FRENCH COOKING NEW AMERICAN COOKING SOUTHWEST COOKING ITALIAN COOKING MEDITERRANEAN COOKING
One thing that makes this cookbook very interesting is the way the chapters are broken down.
In this book, there are 50 chefs featured.
Under each chapter heading there are full meals designed by a particular chef.
Let us take one chapter for example:
NEW AMERICAN COOKING
James Beard (A Thanksgiving Alternative)
Craig Claiborne (A Totally 50's Lunch)
Michael Lomonaco(A Late Night Supper)
Wayne Nish (Dinner Filled with Remembrances from the Flavors of Southern France)
Bradley Ogden (A Leisurely Sunday Lunch)
Debra Ponzek (A Winter Dinner)
Alfed Portale (A Modern Dinner)
Wolfgang Puck (The Flavors of Spring)
Anne Rosenzweig (A Menu for All Seasons)
Alice Waters (A Pasta Party)
CLOSER LOOK AT A CHAPTER
Let us go into this chapter and pick a certain meal.
How about Thanksgiving Alternative?
On the first page of this mini-section there is a large color photo of a pie. It is called Quince Tart.
On the facing page, there is a large blue strip down the side of the page with the chef's name on it (James Beard) and the title of the meal in white.
At the left top corner, there is a blue outline around a box with the entire menu laid out including wine suggestions.
Cornish Game Hens with Crumb & Sausage Stuffing Beet and Carrot Puree Quince Tart
Wine Suggestions Pinot Noir (main course) Late Harvest Riesling (dessert)
WHAT YOU CAN PREPARE AHEAD
In the upper right corner is a wonderful feature. There is an outline in each mini section that tells what you can do ahead. Up to 3 days ahead, The day before, and early in the day.
If you are planning a dinner party, this is an excellent feature.
In this case, the beet/carrot puree can be made up to 3 days ahead.
The Quince Tart can be made the day before.
The Stuffing can be made the morning of the meal.
The first recipe is featured on the rest of the page, followed by the other recipes on the next couple of pages. There are photos with most of the recipes.
MY COMMENTS ON THIS BOOK
This book is excellent if you are into theme dinners. It is an excellent book for dinner parties of any kind.
COOKING WITH GREAT COOKS has fantastic photos that are highly motivational. The recipes are easy to follow and practically laid out.
I like the feature of preparation laid out in days before the meal. That is helpful. Also each dish in the book has preparation time, servings, and Cooking time at the top of the recipe. That is also helpful.
All in all, this book is a great book to have on hand. The recipes are delicious, sometimes the ingredients may not be something you have on hand, but they are not overly diffcult to obtain.
The variety of recipes is also wonderful. You can cook according to your mood.
I would describe this book more as the icing on the cake instead of the cake. If you are looking for a basic cookbook, this is probably not your best bet.
If you are looking for an excellent source of unique and interesting recipes for a special and filling meal for your family or entertaining, this is the book for you.