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Showing 1-10 of 36 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on March 17, 2007
If you're a novice cook looking for an uncomplicated Italian cookbook or if you're looking for straight-foward meals with an Italian flare, the recipes here will meet your needs and expectations. Most of the ingredients are readily available at your neighborhood grocery; the language is direct with easy to follow instructions and explanations; and De Laurentiis is honest in presenting the fact that a number of the recipes in the book are "not for dieters." The book really does contain simple and very good to delicious recipes.

The book's downfall (and the reason for my 3-star rating) is in the design and layout. Though the book is printed in a sans serif font with decent use of white space, as another reviewer indicated, some of the recipes are printed in reverse or in very light colors, such as white on light green or light green on white, making them difficult to read and making it hard to keep your place while cooking. For anyone with low vision, the recipes on these particular pages will be totally inaccessible. Fortunately, a majority of the book contains somewhat better contrast, though still it is gray on white, not black and white.

The glossy cookbook does not lack for photos--unfortunately, very few are of food and even fewer are of the dishes themselves. That would be the food dishes, not the dishy cook. Of De Laurentiis, photos are plentiful. Some photos are your typical, glamorous, "My dentist loves me" vogue shots but much of the photography has an odd, voyeuristic quality that one would not anticipate in a cookbook. The style makes the book feel a little obsessive and frankly a little creepy. De Laurentiis' B-movie, 'What's that noise behind me?' pose on page 237 made me wonder if that's what Nancy Drew looks like in the kitchen.

Recipes, thumbs up. Book design and photography, thumbs down.
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on March 4, 2005
I love this chef. I watch her program all the time and I pre-ordered the book from Amazon. I was very disappointed in some aspects of the book, although I love the recipes and have tried many. The color of the ink on some pages, coupled with the shiny paper, make it very difficult to read in certain light. There does not seem to be enough contrast, especially for the older reader. Also, there are way too many pictures of the author and not nearly enough pictures of the food. I realize she has a hollywood connection and is very beautiful, but most cooks are interested in how the food should look when the recipe is completed, not Giada holding utensils, etc. I would have liked to see more pictures of the finished product.

Again, I love the recipes.
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on May 18, 2006
I'm very disappointed with the book, and had I browsed through it in a book store before buying it over the internet I would not have made the purchase. My disappointment is unrelated to Ms. de Laurentiis or to the content of her book. Her recipes are delightfully simple and easy, and I'll keep the book rather than return it solely because of that. I'm disappointed because I now face a visual obstacle course of reverse type and faint-colored print that is almost impossible to read. The recipes for White Bean Dip with Pita Chips on page 19 and Fried Calamari on page 22 are so hard on the eyes that I doubt I will ever prepare either of these dishes. But what were they thinking when they got to page 86, where the directions for cooking dried pasta are in green font on a slightly lighter green background? There's a wonderful recipe for Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas on page 131 that I would love to make, but I know I never will unless I take the time and effort to transcribe the recipe into a format I can actually read in my kitchen. The publishers (Clarkson Potter, which is part of Random House, which is part of Crown Publishing Group, and so on and so on) need to understand that there are people out here who actually try to use the cookbooks they buy, and who thought that David Ogilvey's classic "Ogilvey on Advertising" had put paid to the notion that reverse type and unreadable fonts create interest. Give me 12-point black Times New Roman on plain white paper.
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on March 14, 2005
Yes, her food network show is a great introduction to Italian cuisine, and although her recipes are easy to execute, it is the type of food which lends itself to the notion that it is extremely "Italian-American" cuisine. Not that it is a bad thing, but you are more likely to find better versions of these recipes done in good, easy, housewive Italian tradition in other cookbooks rather than in this book showcasing a very beautiful Giada. I am not asking you to ascend to the artistry of Mario Batali's cooking. (Mario is excellent. Celebrity chef or not, his book is amazingly so, a work of culinary art) I'm just saying that other than this book, there are much cheaper, yet better alternatives out there that don't try to get you to purchase the trademark fees that you must pay for buying a celebrity chef's cookbook. You could save a lot more money trying to buy cookbooks by non-celebrity chefs that give you more bang for the buck. If you want a good cookbook at an exponentially lower price with tons of recipes, get Michele Scicolone's book, "1,000 Italian recipes".
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on March 17, 2005
I very much like Giada De Laurentiis on her Food Network TV show and I have made a number of her recipes from the show and found them easy and excellent. Consequently, I was eager to get her book. But the book has relatively few recipes, few of which seem to be from her shows. My biggest disappointment is that there were so many pictures of her. Sure, some pictures are to be expected but not half the book (or so it seemed.) I would rather have had some more recipes and fewer pictures of Giada.
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on October 26, 2008
There are SO MANY PHOTOS of the author in this supposed cookbook it's laughable. And a little scary. And they are all cleavage shots. There are often as many as THREE photos of Giada splashed across just 2 pages {so that you are forced to see three shots of her just to look at one recipe...}. And there are full-page photos of her as well ! I was so sick of looking at Giada's cleavage and her face I ended up tearing the recipes I wanted out of the book, and throwing the "photo album" part of it away. I think if you were to just clip all the photos out this book would weigh 60% less if you actually weighed it. Many of the recipes sounded just great and I can't wait to try them though. Too bad Giada's ego basically ruined an otherwise interesting cookbook. You'd have to see it to believe it.
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on August 17, 2015
In this book you will get 125 recipes. Now I sat down and counted the pictures in this book and there are 115 pictures in the entire cookbook. Of those 115 pictures you get 50 head shots of Giada (mostly large), 36 random pictures of Giada cooking, lemons, rosemary, ladles, pots ect...and only 29 pictures of the recipes you are supposed to be cooking. I realize that some people aren't bothered by things such as formatting recipes to fit around a headshot, but I am. As to the recipes, they are simple more American than Italian as expected. One other quibble with the book. The entire book is separated into subsections with recipes listed WITHOUT page numbers.As an example, say I wanted to find a pasta recipe but I couldn't remember it's name. If I went to the pasta section (pg 83) the recipes are listed but WITHOUT page numbers so you have to flip through the section to find the recipe you were looking for.

This book was purchased for my preteen son who wanted to learn Italian cooking. I was REALLY hoping for pictures of the actual foods.
If anyone has suggestions for an Italian cookbook that a preteen could learn to cook from, I would gladly welcome them.
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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2005
Those of us who watch Food Network are familiar with some of the top names in cooking, and Giada De Laurentiis comes up in the Top 10 list. Her presentation skills, youth appearance wearing a low-cut top attracts many viewers and her cooking techniques are simple and choice of the recipes on her show is marginal. Yet for those of us who are interested in Italian cooking with an American touch, we have to look for her recopies. Until now we had to depend on recipes published on the Food Network. In this long-awaited first book, she does the same as she does on her show - helps you put Italian dinner on the table for friends or just for the kids with a minimum effort and a maximum of flavor. The book reveals sevaral ways to make red sauce, Pesto and Polenta. The price of the book is too steep, and I would recommend this if you are familiar with her show and know what to expect from the book.
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on March 29, 2006
As much as I love to watch Giada on Food Newwork, when I borrow this book from the library ( I try to borrow from the library before buying any book that I'm interested in), I was dissapointed. I'm sure the book has lots of great recipes, but when it comes to the photos in the book, there are about 48 photos of her(yes, I counted)!!!! I believe this is a cook book, shouldn't there be more photos of the dishes than the author? There are some pages where there are 3 inserts of her photos, why not a photo of the dish?
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on March 6, 2005
I TiVoed the show and transfered to tapes (about 9 tapes so far), and printed out every single recipe from the Food Network website (about 250 pages so far). I have been excitedly awaiting this cookbook for months now and just got it last week.

Since Giada used to be a food stylist, and most other people's cookbooks contain beautiful pictures, I was expecting her book would have the same thing. Therefore, I was disappointed about how the book was organized and the lack of colorful pictures of the food.

Overall, I gave this cookbook a 3 out of 5 stars. I like the simplicity of Giada's recipes, but the cookbook really is not what I expected at all. Next time I'll look at her books in person before buying them.
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