Most helpful critical review
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Duplicative and not true Paula
on September 20, 2005
Let me say up front that I love Paula Deen and I have read and re-read her first two cookbooks many times. Many of the recipes I've tried from those books are outstanding. This book, however, takes a detour. As a starter, you will note that this is the first book Paula has written with somebody else. Although Paula's name is prominent on the cover to attract customers, there is actually a co-author. Second, the title is even more telling: Paula and Friends. When you get to the heart of the matter, this is not a Paula Deen cookbook; it's a collection of recipes from other people with Paula's name on the cover to sell books. Paula herself hints at this in the Introduction. She says her next book was coming due (multi-book contract I presume) so she was looking around for ideas and called a friend, who turned out to be the co-author. I get the impression Paula had to come up with a new book and didn't really have any new ideas after having already written three books.
As for the recipes themselves, some are just reprints of previous Paula recipes in a new format. What Paula does in this book is organize recipes by the type of function you're having. She provides complete menus for different types of gatherings. So many of her recipes aren't really new. And like I said, most of the recipes in the book come from other people. Just from reading them, they look like decent recipes, but I'm not sure why this counts as a Paula Deen book. Unfortunately, this book seems more like merchandising than her earlier books. Maybe that is part and parcel of becoming a famous chef and cookbook author.