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The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution Hardcover – Illustrated, October 2, 2007


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The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution + The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden + Chez Panisse Vegetables
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; First Edition edition (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307336794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307336798
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Do we really need more recipes for beef stew, polenta, and ratatouille? If they're the work of famed restaurateur and "food activist" Alice Waters, undoubtedly. In The Art of Simple Food, Waters offers 200-plus recipes for these and other simple but savory dishes, like Spicy Cauliflower Soup, Fava Bean Purée, and Braised Chicken Legs, as well as dessert formulas for the likes of Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp and Tangerine Ice. In addition, readers learn (or become reacquainted with) the Waters mantra: eat locally and sustainably; eat seasonally; shop at farmers markets. These are the rules by which she approaches food and cooking, and hopes we will too. Organized largely by techniques, the book is a kind of primer, designed to free readers from recipe reliance.

Some readers may look askance at advice that they search out sources for locally produced food, for example, given the everyday exigencies of shopping and getting meals on the table. Yet it is precisely the need to "remake" our relationship to food that, Waters contends, determines the ultimate success of all our cooking and dining, not to mention our health and that of the planet. This relatively small book has a large message, and good everyday recipes to back it up. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The delicious dishes described in the latest cookbook from Chez Panisse founder Waters, such as a four-ingredient Soda Bread and Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Capers, are simple indeed, though the book's structure is complex, if intuitive. After a useful discussion of ingredients and equipment come chapters on techniques, such as making broth and soup. Each of these includes three or four recipes that rely on the technique described, which can lead to repetition (still preferable to a lack of guidance): a chapter on roasting contains two pages of instructions on roasting a chicken (including a hint to salt it a day in advance for juicy results), followed by a recipe for Roast Chicken that is simply an abbreviated version of those two pages. The final third of the book divides many more recipes traditionally into salads, pasta and so forth. Waters taps an almost endless supply of ideas for appealing and fresh yet low-stress dishes: Zucchini Ragout with Bacon and Tomato, Onion Custard Pie, Chocolate Crackle Cookies with almonds and a little brandy. Whether explaining why salting food properly is key or describing the steps to creating the ideal Grilled Cheese Sandwich, she continues to prove herself one of our best modern-day food writers. (Oct.)
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Customer Reviews

Alice Waters truly masters the art of simple cooking.
Miko H.
Its a great book and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in "good" cooking and food prep.
Cameri
The recipes in this book are simple and often call for simple ingredients.
Dream in Color

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

634 of 665 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Adler VINE VOICE on October 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's hard to write a review of a cookbook that you've only had for two days-- you have to actually try the recipes to know if they will work. (I have several beautiful cookbooks by famous chefs that omit important directions, or give wrong quantities of food.) However, I felt strongly enough about this book that I wanted to write an early review.

For those of you who don't know, Alice Waters's restaurant, Chez Panisse, is probably the most important American restaurant in the past forty years. Waters pioneered the use of high quality, local ingredients. The restaurant itself is delightful; they've served some of the best food I've ever eaten. In the Bay area, where I live, farmers and artisans at local markets often proudly claim that their food is served at her restaurant.

Waters begins the book by extolling her philosophy: buy local, high quality ingredients, and cook them simply. (Of course, simple for a professional chef is different than simple for a home chef. I consider 6 ingredients to be pretty complicated, especially if they are all fresh ingredients.) She then proceeds to give very explicit directions on how to cook things: roasts, vegetables, baked goods, reminiscent of the explicit directions given by Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One, or by Maida Heatter in Maida Heatter'S Book Of Great Desserts. Finally, she gives lists of recipes for many dishes.

What makes her recipes unique are the variations that she provides for each recipe.
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143 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Diane Rocha on November 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I looked forward to this book with eager anticipation. I was not disappointed. I have followed Alice Waters' life and career for more than 20 years and have always looked to her for inspiration. I have all of her other books, and while "Pat's Biscotti" from her first book, The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, has been a staple from my kitchen, this new collection far outshines the rest.

I have been cooking exclusively from this book for the past two weeks. Everything, absolutely everything I have made has been stellar! First, there was the minestrone, which included homemade chicken stock and beans cooked from scratch. I have made both for years, but was never really satisfied, and more recently have relied on boxed broths and canned beans. No longer. The chicken stock was not over-powered by too many vegetables as recommended in other recipes, the beans were tender and held together, and they were seasoned to perfection with Alice's direction to taste and salt along the way. This resulted in a minstrone that was as near to perfection as I have ever tasted. I added kale to mine, which added great color.

As I write this review, I am eating my lunch, which is the Polenta Torta, which I made two days ago. It is still as fabulous as it was then. First, Alice directs us to cook the polenta for one hour - yes, one hour. I thought to myself, oh, I don't need to do that; 30 minutes will suffice. I had the time, so I let the polenta cook quietly on the back burner for the entire hour. What a difference! Unbelievable taste and consistency! I layered this goodness with the Simple Tomato Sauce and added a layer of sauteed mushrooms and a separate layer of sauteed zucchini. This is comfort food at its best!
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136 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Cookingwoman on October 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nothing more to say: in every generation there exists one memorable cookbook behind which all others pale in comparison. In the early 60s, it was Mastering the Art of French Cooking; in the late 70s, it was Silver Palate. It's always been The Joy of Cooking, and Jean Anderson's Doubleday Cookbook. But for this generation, tired of overwrought recipes created by celeb TV chefs and meant for the restaurant kitchen, The Art of Simple Food is a brilliant instant classic packed with recipes that are as close to perfection as I've seen. This is a keeper that will endure for years and years.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By B. A. Chaney VINE VOICE on October 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After our trip to Italy this summer, we decided to take a more simplistic approach to cooking--better ingredients, fewer flourishes--inspired by italian cooking. I read a review of this book and a story on its author Alice Waters in the NYTimes just before it was released and I knew I wanted to get it immediately to help in our transition to easier cooking. This is not a traditional cookbook, it has no glossy pictures and builds on themes instead of just listing recipies alphabetically. It's good for mastering the basics, and has some good foundation recipies that it offers variations to (i've tried a few of the deserts and they are all very good). A lot of the recipies in this book are not geared towards people who are working on a limited time frame or budget. Simple food for Waters does not equal fast or cheap food. But the food is good, and you feel like its good for you. It is great for my husband and I though, since we live in an urban area and have access to lots of the things needed.

But if you're looking for fast easy recipies, or even recipies that you won't have to visit a nicer grocery store to make well, this isn't the book for you.
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