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149 of 153 people found the following review helpful
If you are a true Paula Deen fan as I am, you will buy this book regardless. I don't think this one is near as good as her other cookbooks. There are alot of recipes provided by friends and peers, and a few repeats from previous cookbooks. And seems like several are more exotic than her normal downhome type of things. I always liked Paula's older recipes cause chances are you already had most of the ingredients already in the pantry. I know it would be hard for her to keep coming up with original recipes given her schedule, but I'd give my eye teeth for another book of solely Paula and her family's recipes of good old southern cooking.

If you watch Paula on tv and are looking for a good sampling of her work, pick up The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook

or Just Desserts and you'll turn to it time and time again. For true die-hard fans who already own the other three, you'll enjoy the intros and witty comments made by Paula throughout the book.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2005
Paula's recipes are delicious but not for the diet conscious. Just because she uses some store bought ingredients does not detract from her creativity and makes the preparation a snap. She is the ultimate Southern cook with lots of butter and love in her recipes. I think this cookbook is one of her best. I really like the fact that I can save time by using already prepared ingredients and not lose any of the flavor when I cook. All her "store bought" ingredients can be found easily.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
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.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2005
What a WONDERFUL new book to add to our collections- THANK YOU Paula!

First off, there are a couple of reviews thus far that are simply unfair. Paula Deen does NOT use Chick-Fil-A chicken in her recipes- she recommended picking some up for a TAILGATE party.........most people do that. Nothing unusual.

And NO, she's not suggesting we eat this food everyday. Hope that clarifies for those who can't read.

This book gives wonderful recipes for get togethers and those special times you want to put on a good feast for dear friends and family. These are warm, down home dishes that are sure to please.

Reading this book is like being at one of her parties in person- JOB WELL DONE PAULA!

PS- I just met Paula and Michael at a book signing for this book. She's incredibly friendly and beautiful to her fans. Meet her if you get the chance. She's worth standing in line for!!!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
First off, I love this book and I could go into the details of favorite recipes but I basically bought this book because:

1. I love Paula's show on tv, have made some of those recipes and like her casual, chatty style. Good food, nice presentation.

2. The book has menus and great recipes and the humorous writing of Paula herself. I really like cookbooks that contain slices of the cook's life, books which are as fun to read as to use. This one is. I love the Oatmeal cookies and her fried chicken is pure Southern cooking at its best. Nothing too fancy, just good, basic home cooking.

NOW, HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS BOOK:

This is one time when Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" function really helps you figure out if this book is for you. It is about as close to going into a bookstore and looking through an actual book as you are going to get - at least, while still online.

Take a look at the sample menus. Then take a look at the index, most (if not all) of which is featured in the "Search Inside the Book" function. That will give you a detailed list of recipes and menu ideas contained in this book. You'll also be able to look at the introduction and get a feel for Paula's writing and style. Reading this book is fun and when you are in the mood for cooking, these are some fine recipes!

Personal tastes differ, of course, and what one person finds delicious, others may not. But I think you'll find this book will up your chances of pleasing friends and family with delicious food. Not only does the author have a popular tv show but she has run a food business for years, one that has been successful and at least one of her sons worked in restaurants and BOTH of them grew up cooking with her. This means you'll be cooking food that has a proven track record for appeal and popularity.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2005
I'm surprised to read the few poor reviews here - I have all of Paula Deen's books, but I've gotten more 'everyday' recipes from this one than all of the others combined! I felt like I was sticking post-it notes to every other page!

Yes, they're rich (it *is* Paula). Yes, she uses some convience foods (but just like the rest of us 'real-people' would - she's gone nowhere near Sandra Lee, thank goodness!). I love that she sets up menus and suggests appropriate occassions for these menus.

Her best yet, in my opinion.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2005
I really like all of Paula Deen's cookbooks, but I especially love this one. I've made several of the recipes (as I have out of all her cookbooks) and they're all *GREAT*!! Her recipes call for normal, everyday ingredients that most people either already have in their cabinet or know exactly where to find them at the grocery store. I also just love to sit down with this book and just *read* it...it's very entertaining...just like her show on the Food Network. I highly recommend this book!!!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 1, 2005
This is my first Paula Deen book, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I have watched a number of her shows on Food Network, and the shows I have seen all have recipes that seem a tad fussy and over done. But the book had a number of recipes that were simple to make and had the clean, simple taste my husband and children enjoy.

I love to cook, and I love cookbooks. I am always trying new things, or trying old things in new ways. Sometimes my family enjoys it, sometimes they just give me a look and eat a few bites to be nice. This cookbook takes me back to the down home southern cooking my husband knows and loves.

The beer in the rear chicken was easy to prepare, and I really liked the flavor the beer infused into the chicken. There is a warm chicken salad casserole that my kids just gobbled up.

The food isn't 'low fat' by any means. But on the weekend, when my husband, our four little boys and I are just hanging out, I really want something rich and satisfying-and this book delivers.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2005
I have lots of cooking book and this one is really one of my favorites. The recipes are easy to follow and delicious. All the recipes that I have tried so far turn out wonderful. In the same category I also bought Simple and Simply Delicious by Sylvie Rocher.

Those 2 books are Amazing!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2005
Quote from Andi in LA -"When I actually go through the trouble of inviting people over for a nice dinner, I want to take my time with more sophisticated recipes that look like I put time into them--in other words, no dishes that taste divine but look like "trailer tra* mush" when plated." -end quote.

What an awful thing to say and you call yourself a fan. Try serving your stuck up friends some fried chicken with slow cooked pinto beans & rice or some shrimp with grits. Believe me your dinner will be a hit.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Sure, a lot of the dishes are high in fat but you don't need to eat this way everyday. I trust Paula. About a year or so ago I served her Sloppy Joe's (open faced) to a group of "upscale" friends and they're still talking about it. I have yet to prepare anything from this new book because I can't decide just yet. Nothing says "I love you and I'm so happy you're a part of my life" like a good ol' southern meal! Good job Paula Deen!
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