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My Pantry: Homemade Ingredients That Make Simple Meals Your Own Hardcover – September 15, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ALICE WATERS is the executive chef, founder, and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café in Berkeley, California. She founded the Edible Schoolyard, is Vice President of Slow Food International, the recipient of three James Beard Awards, and the author of twelve books. Her most recent books are the bestsellers The Art of Simple Food II, 40 Years of Chez Panisse, and In the Green Kitchen. She lives in Berkeley, California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; F First Edition edition (September 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080418528X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804185288
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is, for the most part, a great book for those wanting to keep a pantry and make their own items for the pantry. The book is by Alice Waters, whom I have long admired for the way she helped change how America looked at food. The charming illustrations are by her daughter, Fanny Singer.

The chapters are:

Spice Mixtures and Condiments
Nuts
Beans and Other Legumes
Savory Preserves
Whole Grains
Preserved Fish and Meat
Cheese
Sweet Preserves

We are told how to make everything from Za'atar, to apple peel cider vinegar, to almond milk, to hummus, to zucchini pickles, to gravlax, to ricotta and yogurt, to vanilla extract and lovage syrup. I plan to make the lovage syrup when my lovage (hopefully) returns next Spring.

A lot of reviewers said that the book was not what they expected and I admit to having the same feelings. I knew the recipes would include a lot of those which are more West Coast than my own Midwestern style of cooking. That is fine.

But the more I thought about what the book was missing, I kept coming back to my desire for... lists. While some items are discussed, what would have been helpful is to have actual lists of what items are in Alice Waters pantry. What kind of olive oil is there? What types of salt exactly does she feel are important? What particular spices and herbs could one find on the shelf?

Having said that, as with Alice Waters other books, it makes for enjoyable reading.

This book was provided by Blogging For Books for review but the opinions are my own.
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Format: Hardcover
I personally absolutely adore Alice Waters, her philosophy, food and writing. HOWEVER, as a huge canner, and obsessive pantry manager, this was THE most disappointing book this year. I found it dummied in recipes, approach and overall material was lack lustre. Please don't give up on Ms. Waters, but otherwise, my personal feeling is that this book is not worth the purchase.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Big Alice Waters fan...she is always inspirational. Pantry "staples" for a pretty sophisticated palate. Items I know I can't get in my large, eastern city. Foodie friendly ideas however and fun to read. For those who enjoy Alice or who really like to go the extra, creative mile in the kitchen.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up a copy of Alice Water's, MY PANTRY, on a whim.

And in fact, after it arrived, this unassuming little cookbook joined a stack of other new cookbooks for a month before I picked it up this weekend and actually cracked the spine and began to read it.

I was looking for a recipe that would allow me to use 3 beleagured eggplant that I'd rescued from the last-stop sale rack at my grocery store.

I've never been a big fan of eggplant, but I love a bargain.

When I opened the pages of MY PANTRY, I didn't really expect to find an eggplant recipe that would inspire me. But I was happily wrong as I turned the page and discovered Roasted Eggplant Caponata.

Below, I've included my interpretation of Alice Water's recipe, because quite honestly I didn't have all the ingredients....and I live by the cooking philosophy that we should work with what we have.

As the eggplant roasted in the oven, I sat down and began reading Alice Waters' newest cookbook and was instantly enchanted.
This little book is a peek inside a pioneering chef's personal kitchen and what makes it a place that inspires her and welcomes her home from long journeys.

I can't wait to try her recipes for making Tahini, Za'atar, yogurt, a variety of fresh cheeses, tomato, and duck leg confit.

There are not a ton of recipes in this slim volume. Just the essential basics that I am convinced will make me a better cook.

So here's my riff on the Eggplant Caponata .... it was stunningly delicious!

Ingredients and directions:

3 medium eggplants
2/3 cup olive oil
sea salt
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes toss them with the olive oil and salt.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with the content of this book. Though sub-titled "Homemade Ingredients That Make Simple Meals Your Own" the book is more a cookbook of recipes that though fairly simple, are not staples of a pantry. I was expecting maybe Ms. Waters' take on choosing good oils especially olive oils or preserved fruits to keep on hand for example. Instead there are far too many recipes for perishables that might not fit the category of "pantry". The writing is beautiful though but alas the content not that useful.
Vincent: Princeton Jct., NJ
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Format: Hardcover
First off, this book is pretty small – only 144 pages – and you can actually view around 25 pages of the main book using the “look inside” feature here. So you can already get a good idea of what to expect. However, I already have a few thick cookbooks that cover most of the basics, and I think this book fills a very particular niche. The top critical review of the book is from a “huge canner, and obsessive pantry manager,” but I think that if you’re not the kind of person who already makes your own yoghurt, cheese, preserved tomatoes, vinegar, almond milk, etc., then you will find it useful. For certain, it’s not an exhaustive treatise on these skills, but I feel that it provides enough information on how to do all of these things. And simplicity is actually a good thing in some cases - I think this book will introduce each reader to at least one new idea, and probably several, by making them accessible. Most of the things described in the book (aside from the chapter on fish and meat) are vegetarian.

I didn’t expect to love this book, but I did. And I think it’s great that she used her voice to spread the word. Because, when it comes down to it, the book is about self-sufficiency and independence from corporations that produce mediocre food that’s not produced in harmony with the planet or society. And some of the things that she describes (such as yoghurt or vinegar or even basic cheeses) can be made so simply that it does raise the question of why we have allowed ourselves to become so dependent on giant food corps.
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