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Big Food: Amazing ways to cook, store, freeze, and serve everything you buy in bulk Paperback – July 28, 2005

3 customer reviews

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About the Author

ELISSA ALTMAN is a prize-winning writer, journalist, and essayist in the area of food, culture and travel. Formerly a manager at Dean & Deluca and a senior member of the HarperCollins editorial staff for 10 years, she presently lives in Connecticut.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (August 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594860874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594860874
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,082,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Named after her James Beard Award-winning blog, "Poor Man's Feast" is Altman's smart yet tender tale of her gastronomical and spiritual evolution.... Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, this is one of the finest food memoirs of recent years." - New York Times Book Review

"The author--a New York editor, cook, and award-winning blogger--artfully merges relationship narrative, personal history, and food memoir in this satisfying book....Luminous writing brings many stories small and large to feed the heart." - Publisher's Weekly

"Smart, funny, and unflinchingly real, Elissa Altman writes like no one else. Poor Man's Feast is a reminder of the richness in simplicity, an invitation to a table set with wine and warm tomato sandwiches - a brave, generous story about family, food, and finding the way home." Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life and Orangette

"Poor Man's Feast is two overlapping love stories. It is a pleasure to get to live both at Altman's joyously, irreverently laid table." - Tamar Adler, author of An Everlasting Meal

"Poor Man's Feast is a wild ride with biting highs, withering lows, and tremendous wit and humor. But throughout, there is a great tenderness that is so consistently warm and moving that when the end came, as it was bound to, I found myself searching for even just a bit more, like picking up especially divine pastry crumbs with a moistened fingertip, before gently closing the covers. A beautiful story." - Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

"Who wrote the book of love? Elissa Altman did. Poignant, funny, and full of wisdom, every single page should be savored." - Tracey Ryder, founder and CEO of Edible Communities Publications

The 2012 James Beard Award-winner for her blog,, Elissa Altman is author of the critically-acclaimed 2013 memoir, Poor Man's Feast: A Love Story of Comfort, Desire, and the Art of Simple Cooking. A longtime food writer and editor who has been described as "the lovechild of David Sedaris and M.F.K. Fisher," Altman, in everything she writes, explores the intersection of food, family, and culture in all its outrageous eccentricity; her work has appeared everywhere from Saveur to Zester, the New York Times, Prevention, Spencer Magazine, and elsewhere. She appears regularly on National Public Radio, and attributes her affinity for the table to her mother, singer Rita Ellis Hammer, who, every single time she prepared lamb chops for Altman, set them ablaze.

Altman lives in Newtown Connecticut with her partner, book designer Susan Turner.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By kiwanissandy VINE VOICE on January 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had first thought this cookbook was a "once a month cooking" type of cookbook in that you purposely buy a lot of one type of item and then start a marathon cooking session. This cookbook was not like that. It's more of a cookbook that if you were to buy 3 lbs of spinach this is what you could do with it. The first suggestion was to make a warm spinach salad with mushrooms and bacon. The recipe was included along with a homemade vinaigrette dressing. Suggestions were given on how to store the remaining spinach but you'd have to go to the back of the book to find other recipes to use up that spinach; but there are several.
Now the downside of the cookbook: there are no pictures. I always think it adds to the validity of a cookbook especially to have pictures of the author, recipes, and such. The other downside is the first 30 pages of the cookbook are just verbiage. The author tells stories about her childhood, how her grandparents purchased their groceries, equipping your kitchen and whatnot. Not necessarily useful information as far as a cookbook is concerned. Also, it's a little hard to read because the ink is blue and in several places it's also printed on blue background so it's very hard to read in those sections. You need good light.
Nevertheless I think this is a great cookbook. It provides a lot of useful information for those who are costco junkies! ha-ha.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Allain on January 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
We all do it - buy too much of something just because the bigger container was a better buy. This book addresses that and even has an exercise to understand your food buying habits. A lot of the book is devoted to recipes to help you use that food surplus, but the book also gives shopping advice and helps you streamline your pantry.

I really like the Big Food Action Chart which helps match the food I have on hand with the recipes needing those ingredients. This is the book for anyone who hates to see those outdated supplies clogging up their pantry shelves and hates, even more, throwing such stuff away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cissa on December 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I understand the "bargain" mentality; I inherited it.

I am not sure that this cookbook is a great way of dealing with it, though.

The "good until" dates seem to be very conservative indeed; a well-packed and frozen piece of meat is good for only 3 months??? REALLY??? because that is just nuts. Similarly with butter being good for only a week or so in the fridge. I could go on, but while I'm sure these criteria are safe- they are also VERY conservative, in that properly prepped stuff lasts a lot longer than said.

I'd hoped for more recipes that let me make stuff and freeze it for future, totally easy use. Like- making a lasagna and freezing it. This cookbook doesn't do that; it's more about immediate uses of whatever huge quantities one has purchased. For me, that is not all that practical an approach.

I am probably not the ideal customer for this; we get most of our meat from a local farm rather than BJs, and similar with other things. That's why I'd hoped for more focus on making freezer-ready dishes, to be hauled out and cooked easily and quickly.

I just spent 11 days making dinner and lunches out of a 15-pound turkey, so I know how to use every last bit. This bookd was not as helpful as I'd hoped in expanding my skills thus.

But- if you are NOT "ganging up" on cooking now- it could be a great help! For many years I'd make some kind of roast weekly, and use the rest in soups and stews and other things during the rest of the week, and this cookbook is in tune with that approach.
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