Customer Reviews: Frugal Gourmet
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on July 1, 1998
For those familiar with Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, this book should be on your cookbook shelf and used often ! For those not familiar with him, get this book and you will get much of the feel of the TV show. Although we have not seen the TV show in quite some time, and believe it is no longer shown in the United States, it was one of the best cooking shows ever done. This book was the first in the series and out of the three we own, it's our favorite. There are sections on the spices and special tools he uses and the recipes are easy to follow and delicious. We especially like the Pan-fried chicken strips and Barbecue Shrimp, which we just had for dinner and inspired this review. If you doubt me, imagine a pound and a half of shrimp baked in a sauce containing bacon, margarine, dijon mustard, chili powder,garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, freshly ground black pepper, tabasco sauce, and crab boil. Served over plain white rice to soak up that sauce... Mmm Mmm...makes me want to go and make another batch right now ! O.K., you don't like shrimp, how about chicken? Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into pieces, sauteed in olive oil, green onions, garlic, marsala wine and lemon juice with freshly ground black pepper to top it off. You'll swear there's salt in it, but there isn't. There's lots more in there, so get the book !!!
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on October 18, 1999
I have very few cookbooks that I call my favorites and this one is always on the top of the pile. We have moved to China from California and I have found it even more useful here. We go to the free market here to do all our food shopping and the information in this delightful cook book makes our adventures even more enjoyable.
If ever a cook book could make someone want to be creative in a kitchen, this is it.
What can I say. I love it.
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on December 29, 2005
I've been cooking since I was a kid. This was one of the first cookbooks I got for myself as a young adult away from home. Some of the information is outdated, but it remains a good primer for entry level cooks. It's also an interesting timepiece from the time of transition in the U.S. (late 70s early 80s), which, as I like to think of it, was from garlic salt to fresh garlic, if you know what I mean. Took what Julia Child and Alice Waters were contributing and gave us a frugal, direct everyday version of it.

A side note: Jeff Smith passed away last year. Despite the truth or not of the allegations from the men regarding incidents 20 yrs prior as teenagers, Jeff Smith did help contribute a great deal to the overall appreciation of food and its preparation in everyday life.
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This is the very best cookbook that The Frug (Jeff Smith) ever published. I've used it for years and the recipes are as solid today as they were when this fine work was published. I place it in the Top 20 of ALL cookbooks that I know of, (and I've owned hundreds -- I recently gave away about 70 because the top of my fridge could no longer bear the load!)

I cook every day, usually from scratch, but prospective buyers should know that ANYONE can make the many fine recipes found in here. Oh, yes, I know that The Frug got into a little trouble late on in his life, and with his career on PBS, but that never affected the quality of his culinary brilliance.

Here's an idea. Just about every library around has this cookbook. Check it out, try a few recipes, and then decide if you want it. I'll bet you end up buying it!
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on March 28, 2000
With recipes prepared on the popular public TV (PBS) program, The Frugal Gourmet, this cookbook covers a wide variety of styles, tastes, and meals. I started watching the show when I was still in high school, and began trying out these recipes by the time I was in college. I have had great success with every recipe I've tried from this book (such a small book, yet filled with information that would require more than 10 books combined to compile the gems in this one).
The recipes have a little history or story with each one, and are well-laid out. They are easy to follow, and I would assume, look and taste as good as one would expect Jeff's own results would. You can't go wrong with any of these.
Rosemary chicken, Mexican-style pork, Northern Chinese pork, are but a few main dishes that I've done with ease in my own kitchen.
This is not only a great cookbook, but also a wonderful reference for anyone who has a desire to start cooking or learn more about cooking to complement their skills in the kitchen. It is a shame that the TV program no longer airs (but all good things must come to an end).
Enjoy the recipes, and enjoy elevating your skills to gourmet standards!
Peace out.
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on February 11, 2007
Why do I say this is a must-have classic? because this cookbook represents a landmark in the world of home cooking... that is, it brings so much passion and doable recipes of stuff that your basic home cook wouldn't have attempted, that it deserves a share of cookbook history. Any reviewer who says it's mediocre hasn't explored it. This book is the bridge between the Julia Child era... which brought average cooks into the kitchen to do dishes like Chicken Cordon Bleu for the first time... to the Emeril Lagasse/Bobby Flay/Paula Deen era where average home cooks now are unafraid to tackle ANY dish, ANY cuisine. Not only that, but there are dozens of keeper recipes in here, ones that you'll make time and time again. Among my friends, the pasta dishes are all favorites, especially Pasta Carbonara... if you like chicken livers the Chicken Liver Pasta is to die for... the Linguine with Clam Sauce is every bit as wonderful in 2007 as it was in 1977. I could go on and on, but this cookbook has something for everyone, explores countless techniques from Asian to Early American, does lowfat/lowcal 20 years before they were stylish, offers eclectic to comfort food. And unlike a lot of cookbooks, including ones from Rachel Ray or Emeril or Sara Moulton, this one has spot-on recipes from cover to cover... no dogs. This book should be on your cookbook shelf for life.
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Jeff Smith entertained us for years on his PBS program 'The Frugal Gourmet'. Not only did he teach us many savory dishes, he also educated us. Not satisfied with just cooking delicious meals for his viewers, he would give detailed history lessons about the origins of the dish and made it all a lot of fun!

This may not be Mr. Smiths best cook book, but it is a worthy edition to everyone's cook book library. I own and have read many, if not all of his cook books, not only for the man's knowledge of cooking, but his incredible wit! This guy was funny and I would have loved to have hung out and throw a few beers down with him.

Unfortunately, this man had some very seriously bad press released about his personal life and well..... I am not one to spread rumors.....he seemed like a great guy and sadly he died before he was able to clear his name.

R.I.P. Frugs!
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on July 29, 2001
I started watching Jeff Smith when I was home with my first borne. That was over 15 years ago. I loved the show's and received several of his books as gifts over the years. His are the only cook books that I read like a novel. Not only does Jeff give you receipes but also food origin and history. He presents it in such an intertaining way you almost forget they are cookbooks. I strongly reccomend this book for beginner cooks and know I will be send my children off with a copy when they leave for college.
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on September 10, 2014
This book is a classic that everybody should have in their library. I purchased this for my daughter who is living on her own now. He goes into all the things you need to have for a kitchen, tells you what to look for and as the title implies he is frugal about it. He talks about what to spend money on and where you can save money. The recipes are excellent. In the last 25 years I've made most of the recipes in the book and haven't found a bad one. Several are our family classics.
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on May 11, 2014
I had this book originally in a paperback version that I bought at least 18 years ago and wanted to replace it. Noticed that Amazon had it in a Hard Cover so I purchased it. You have to love the Frugal Gourmet. He has taught me so much
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