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

4.3 out of 5 stars 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: #3,444,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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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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