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Canal House Cooking Volume No. 8: Pronto Paperback – October 29, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
Book 8 of 8 in the Canal House Cooking Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER HIRSHEIMER is a home cook, writer, award-winning photographer, and cofounder of Canal House, whose facets include a publishing venture, culinary and design studio, and an annual series of three seasonal cookbooks titled Canal House Cooking. Before starting Canal House in 2007 in Lambertville, NJ, Hirsheimer was one of the founders of Saveur, where she was executive editor. She cowrote the award-winning Saveur Cooks series and The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook (Chronicle, 2006), and her photographs have appeared in more than fifty cookbooks by such notables as Colman Andrews, Lidia Bastianich, Deborah Madison, Mario Batali, Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, David Tanis, and Alice Waters; and in numerous magazines, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, InStyle, and Town & Country.

MELISSA HAMILTON is a home cook, writer, painter, food stylist, and cofounder of Canal House. She previously worked at Saveur as test kitchen director, and was its food editor for many years. Hamilton also worked at Martha Stewart Living and Cook’s Illustrated. She has developed and tested recipes and styled food for both magazines and cookbooks, including those by acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors Colman Andrews, Lidia Bastianich, John Besh, Deborah Madison, Jonathan Waxman, David Tanis, and Alice Waters. 

Christopher and Melissa currently collaborate on Canal House Cooking, for which they do all the writing, recipes, photography, design, and production. They are 2013 James Beard Foundation nominees for their cookbook, Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel, 2012) and for their Bon Appétit video series, “The Seasonal Cooks”, as well as 2013 IACP nominees for Photography and Food Styling. They also write a column for Bon Appétit, “The Seasonal Cooks.” To see more of what these two women are up to, visit their website, thecanalhouse.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: Canal House Cooking
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Original edition (October 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982739486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982739488
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have praised all seven of the annual editions of the Canal House cookbooks. I raved about their magnum opus, Canal House Cooks Every Day, well before Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton won the James Beard award. I come now to press upon you volume eight, "Canal House Pronto!"

This time I have a modest gripe.

My affection for Christopher and Melissa goes beyond my admiration for their books. It's personal. Late in life, I have started to collect fascinating, super smart, big hearted women. I think of them as sisters -- women I love, but not in "that way."

The Canal House women are major members of that sorority, and they know it.

So when they went to Italy to collect recipes for this book, would it have killed them to bring along a butler? I would have carried their luggage. Chopped the onions. Served dinner. Protected them from Italian men.

But no -- Christopher and Melissa went to Italy, and all I got is this terrific cookbook.

For those who are new to Canal House, a quick history. They call themselves "home cooks." That's like Paul Simon describing himself in a song as "an ordinary player in the key of C." Christopher Hirsheimer was one of the founders of Saveur Magazine. She has co-authored four cookbooks and taken the photographs for thirty more. Melissa Hamilton co-founded a restaurant, did a stint at Cook's Illustrated and ran the test kitchen at Saveur before becoming its food editor.

Something happened to Hirsheimer and Hamilton when they moved to little towns across the river from one another in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Fresh produce, of course. But also a gentler pace. They found a loft overlooking a canal and opened a studio: Canal House.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes Hamilton and Hirsheimer exasperate me because I love their lives too much. I love how they cook, right, their photos, art, I love where they do this at Canal House with their two little stoves and the seasonal way they create recipes. Then of course are the trips to Italy when I want to scream for my homeland and stay in that rented cottage with them and eat all their food.

I have everything they've done but especially love these handbook sized volumes. I read and re-read them constantly. i like how i feel like I can make everything they include, everything is in my wheelhouse. They are quirky ad practical at the same time. I love what they eat and what they cook.

I love to cook with my mother (who is my best friend) and we have our own version of Hamilton and Hirsheimer going on, though not quite as spendy with the truffles and trips to Italy. Still I am happy to now include some of their recipes in my extensive Italain repertoire.

I will re-read this again to find more inspiration and new recipes. This is the fifth time since I got the book! Thats how readable and useful it is. This may well be the best volume they have produced.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I don't know why I loved this book, but I did. I do not cook, but I do eat, so that may explain the attraction. That and all things Italian. When I requested this book from Net Galley, I expected the Canal House to be somewhere in Italy, probably Venice. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the Canal House is in New Jersey. Oh, well. The recipes are Italian and sound delicious. I can't wait to pass them on to our cook, my Italian husband, and have him try a few of them. Some were already familiar and some not. The chatty tone of this book is engaging and makes for an easy read. I would love to see the book in print form. My only complaint was....too much eggplant! Loved the mentions of my favorite cheese, pecorino,which is not available in our little hamlet, albeit the state capital. Some of the Tuscan wines discussed are among my favorites. I guess I am beginning to see why I loved this book. I would recommend it and would read another by these authors.
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Beautiful photos, fresh and easy recipes, great advice. These women feel like friends who come over and give you a few simple cooking tips. Their philosophy( and mine) is find the very best ingredients and keep it simple. Check out their Canal House Cooks blog to see what they make for lunch everyday day!
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......some simple but elegant interpretations.....charming.....only disappointment..no index...one cannot quickly refer or find,without bookmarking....would have been helpful....but,still a delight......nice delivery...good addition to collection.
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I have almost all of the Canal House cookbooks. I really love the different ones. This one is where my heart is. Italian cooking. Very well done, clear and a very interesting read also.
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Beautiful photography and artful appearance although many of the recipes seem somewhat challenging. I really enjoy the commentary. A great but!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of these little books, and this is definitely one of their most useful yet. Perfect for weeknight dinners, this book is filled with quick(ish) and delicious recipes. Also includes a useful section on italian wines written by one of their friends. I will definitely be adding some of these recipes to my rotation.

Also, these recipes appear to me to be separate from those included in the larger cookbook, whereas with the earlier texts there is some overlap (despite that fact, I still recommend getting all of them).
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