Top critical review
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Difficult to explain...unimpressed
on September 6, 2009
I ignored the few negative reviews for this recipe book, and bought it anyway...especially since it had so many glowing reviews. And the authors seemed exceptionally accomplished. But it isn't the recipe book for me.
Unfortunately, it's hard to describe exactly what's wrong with the book or exactly why I don't like it. No one thing is a killer, but, as a whole, I found the book disappointing. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. No pictures at all. None. Zip. And I just don't like recipe books that don't include photos.
2. The organization is kind of trying. The onion dip recipe is listed in the "snack attack" section. Sesame sauce is under "lunch," and Teriyaki Vinaigrette is under "dinner." It would have been easier for me if those had been listed as "sauces" or listed as part of a recipe for a full-blown dish.
3. You could find better versions of most of these recipes in adult cook books. I already have a recipe for Caesar salad, for example. And this book doesn't offer a new take on the salad at all, except to title it with a snazzy kid name: Hail Caesar, Jr.
4. The snazzy kid names are annoying to me, especially since they don't end up being very descriptive. "Squish Squash," for example, is just a simple mashed butternut squash. It's a fine name once you know what the dish is, but you have to read through the ingredients to figure out what the dish is going to be like. With more complicated recipes that is a bit of a task because, as I mentioned before...no photos.
5. They spend a lot of time on drink and dessert recipes.
6. They spend very little time on side dishes or vegetables, and most of the vegetable sides they offer are either potato heavy or extremely basic, such as roasted asparagus, which is...(wait for it)...roasted asparagus, in olive oil with salt and pepper. I don't need a recipe book for things like that. I can come up with salt and pepper on my own.
7. They don't offer much in the way of serving suggestions. They'll give you the recipe for pineapple pork, but they won't give you any ideas of what to serve it with, which makes the lack of veggie recipes more painful.
The recipes themselves seem OK. I like roasted asparagus, and mashed butternut squash...and Caesar salad. So it's fine. But overall I found this book to aimed at someone other than me. If you're already into food at all, this probably isn't the book for you. I didn't find anything very original or insightful in this book, and I found many things kind of confusing (why is canned pumpkin is a necessity for a well-stocked pantry? I only use pumpkin a few times a year, and I usually just use real pumpkin--or I buy a can for the specific recipe. I don't know).