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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Clarkson N Potter Publishers (April 6, 1999)
  • ASIN: B0048CBLUE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (400 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,985,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In 1978, Ina Garten left her job as a budget analyst in the White House to pursue her dream of operating a specialty food store in the Hamptons. She is a frequent contributor to major national magazines and writes a recurring column in O Magazine. Her new television series on entertaining can be seen on Food Network. Ina lives in East Hampton, New York, and Southport, Connecticut, with her husband, Jeffrey.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

294 of 302 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Waters on June 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I see more than 100 reviews of a book, I usually balk at adding my own two cents worth to the mix. However, I am a big fan of Ina Garten and own all of her books (3 so far) and wanted to throw my opinions into the ring anyway.
Many reviewers commented on the beautiful photos, but complained about the number of recipes. I can understand that point of view, but I would rather have a really good, dependable cookbook with 25 great recipes (and there are more than that in this book) than a cookbook with 100 recipes that are just so-so. It's the ol' quality versus quantity argument, I suppose.
And about those photos -- I know that color photos add to the cost and bulk of a cookbook, but when they are beautifully done, as is the case with this book, it makes you WANT to try the recipes. On the other hand, I've got some gorgeous cookbooks with some stinker recipes in them. That's another reason why I love this book. You get beautiful photos AND really good recipes.
Do you want a cookbook you can trust? This book fits the bill for me. I have made her recipes for the first time FOR GUESTS -- something that would normally create heart palpitations and have me reaching for that unnecessary extra glass of wine. Yet my guests and I have yet to be disappointed. I'd say that was cause for celebration myself.
One other comment -- Garten emphasizes using fresh and good quality ingredients. If you do you will find her recipes work all of the time. I suspect that one or two of the less than satisfied reviewers here took some shortcuts or perhaps used a less than stellar ingredient.
There is no substitute for fresh thyme for example when it is a PRIMARY flavoring.
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292 of 302 people found the following review helpful By DJP on December 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I had people for dinner a few nights ago, and no one can stop talking about the wonderful results. I tried the Indonesian Ginger Chicken, and it sure was tasty. I followed her easy directions, and marinated the chicken overnight-- which is a real lifesaver, since you're not in the kitchen, seasoning, while everyone else is gossiping in the living room. I love recipes where you can prepare ahead, and just pop them in the oven when you want to eat. That seems to be the focus of Ina's book-- have fun with whomever you're entertaining, while a scrumptous meal cooks in the oven. The only thing I would do differently with the Ginger chicken is to buy pre-minced garlic and ginger. Doing it yourself takes forever because of how much is called for in the recipe. All in all, I think this book is terrific, and I've read through each recipe many times, simply imagining the tastes and looks of the food. It's so well put together, and I think Ina owes much of the book's success to the wonderful photography. This is the kind of cookbook you pick up to read just for fun, even if you're not planning to use it that day. Great job! Buy this now!
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284 of 300 people found the following review helpful By C. Cunningham on July 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is not your ordinary cookbook. It is a visual feast for all your senses. The photographs are stunning, the recipes are simple to understand, and the tips are actually very helpful. Ina Garten expertly walks you through preparation to presentation, and injects personal anecdotes throughout. I was left with the impression that she truly wants her readers to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of a great meal.
The book begins with an introduction to fresh ingredients and again, the emphasis is on quality and simplicity. Ina guides us through a farmer's market of fresh fruits and vegetables, explaining what to look for and how to select the very best ingredients for our meals. In the midst of this primer, she delivers a simple recipe for fresh lemonade (a quick application of what we have just learned!), followed by a glossary of kitchen terms, and all accompanied by beautiful photographs. The first section is devoted to appetizers, and includes detailed instructions on what to serve at cocktail parties (and exactly how to serve it) and how to make and present an elegant, yet simple fruit and cheese platter. My favorite recipe from this section was the vegetable sushi. She then covers Soups (including home made croutons), Salads (the French Potato is tremendous!), Dinner Entrees (including a kitchen clambake and the famous Indonesian Ginger Chicken recipe), Vegetables (with instructions on creating a stunning vegetable platter), Desserts (the country dessert platter is perfect for small groups get-togethers!) and a section simply entitled "Breakfast" with a wonderful recipe for White Hot Chocolate and a short primer on how to make "the perfect cup of coffee".
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133 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Kristen Mackey on September 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Before I found The Barefoot Contessa I hated cooking. Even after building a new home with a large, beautiful, functional kitchen, I wasn't interested. In fact my oven didn't get used for the first two months. Then a friend recommended Ms. Garten's book and I liked it because it looked pretty on my countertop. Since the day I opened it, my husband says I'm a changed woman.
My first attempt at a recipe was Parker's Split Pea soup, which is as delicious as my mother's (sorry, mom) and sooooo simple. If you can use a knife to chop veggies you're 90% there. The Rosemary Whitebean soup (use FRESH rosemary or don't even bother) enticed my neighbor to ask about the aromas she could smell from her yard. I then moved on to recipes that required more focus but are easily followed like Filet of Beef Bourginon (my husband's all-time favorite) and Swordfish with Tomato and Capers with Parmesan Smashed Potatoes served at a dinner party for eight (something I never would have even considered a year ago) where a guest inquired about whom I used for a caterer! Overall, extremely well written and simple to navigate your way through each recipe. Ina's side column notes are helpful personal touches, like why to use Kosher salt instead of table salt. (I had never even heard of such a thing...) The biggest rewards are hearing guests rave about MY cooking and, of course, enjoying the incredible food in my newly-discovered kitchen.
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