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The Breakaway Cook: Recipes That Break Away from the Ordinary Hardcover – May 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1ST edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006085166X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060851668
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though Gower (Eric's Kitchen; The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen) defends his inventive, improvisational cooking against charges of "fusion," his lively combination of cuisines from Japan, Mexico, India and Italy (among others) is exactly that—a fusion. For the adventurous home cook who delights in intense and surprising flavors—and who doesn't want to labor for hours in the kitchen—this book will provide endless ideas for invention. Gower's pantry basics are exotic yet accessible: tart pomegranate molasses, ginger and galangal, miso, yuzu (citrus valued for its zest) and umeboshi (Japanese pickled apricots). Gower, currently a private chef, lived for 15 years in Japan; his explanations of Japanese ingredients are especially informative, and though he is clear on typical practices, he doesn't shy from presenting his own unconventional combinations such as Frittata Giapponese, baked eggs with umeboshi, green beans, ginger and maple syrup, Mole Tofu with Spiced Bread Crumbs or Minty Boozy Chicken marinated with rum and lime. Even home cooks familiar with Gower's kind of staples will be pleasantly shocked by some of these recipes—in a way that culinary adventurers are always seeking. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Eric Gower lived in Japan for fifteen years, working for the prime minister's office as an editor and writer on political economy before turning his interest to food. Currently a private chef and the author of two previous cookbooks, Eric's Kitchen and The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen, he lives and works in San Francisco.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The recipes are easy to follow, simple but with complex tastes.
BettyLou Koffel
This book is so entertaining and interesting - it made me want to try all sorts of new things!
Margaret Kranyak
I'd recommend this book to anyone looking to shake up their everyday kitchen routine.
Elizabeth E. Crane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Casey Ellis on May 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My cooking -- and cookbook purchasing -- usually fall within French and Italian traditions. When I want Asian food, I head to restaurants, and when I hear the word "fusion" I run rapidly in the opposite direction.

But as Gower writes in the introduction, "breakaway cooking is fusion that actually makes sense."

Simple to execute and bursting with flavor, Gower's recipes produce food that is light, healthy and, most of all, delicious. I own hundreds of cookbooks but it's been a long time since I've bought one that made me want to start with the first recipe and cook straight through to the end.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Kranyak on May 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've never been a very adventurous cook so weird food combinations and complicated recipes give me The Fear. This book is so entertaining and interesting - it made me want to try all sorts of new things! And everything was really easy and straightforward to prepare.

With only a few basic purchases i was able to try all sorts of cool new dishes and even my very boring traditional midwestern husband loved loved LOVED the food from this book. Its a whole new way to approach cooking, very simple, very fresh, and not too complicated for the average housewife who's just trying to get a nice meal on the table. Buy this book, it will rock your world!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ellen O. Benedetto on May 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The title says it all...Eric absolutely "Breaks Away" from the norm with this book and these recipes. "The Breakaway Cook" reads like a fun novel,too. His writing makes it entertaining to learn about cooking with tips on what you need, don't need to cook really good food. I've always been a cookbook reader, altho was raised by probably the best "chef", my Italian mom who, to my knowledge, has never used a "recipe" in her cooking. "You know honey, just a little of this and that like grandma used to do". And honestly, I never cooked growing up because it was mom's passion.(she would only allow us near the stove to "steal" a meatball or 2 from the pot!)But, I've always enjoyed reading about using different spices, herbs and other ingredients in cooking. Now, as an adult and mom not living here to cook for me, I've HAD to learn to cook and find I love it.I watch all the cooking shows on TV, but find lately that it's the "same old, same old". Eric not only uses some of the usual ingredients in unique ways, but also some very unusual(to me) which I'm dying to find and try. The photography is simply amazing. I've heard it said, "the picture looks so real, it's af if you can pick it up from the page and eat it". These are so incredibly clear and detailed, my mouth waters from their sight. Bravo, Mr. Gower. Keep 'em coming!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Yee on May 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Eric Gower's new book is a fantastic followup to his The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen: Inspired New Tastes. Like his first book, he delivers dish after dish of his "breakaway" style of cooking - experimental, unconventional and not fussy at all. In this book, Gower expands on what he means by breakaway cooking, by describing the foundations of his "breakaway" recipes: starting with the primary colors of his flavor palate - tangy (citrus/vinegar), savory (herbs and spices) and sweet (complex sugars), to his nine global ingredients from carrot juice to Asian ingredients like fine green tea and ginger to blasts of heat and flavor from the habanero chile; and the key "Breakaway Flavor Blasts" that he uses with great effect in the recipes to follow. Though many of his ingredients are influenced by his having lived for 15 years in Japan, his bottom-line philosophy is a playful one, encouraging the reader to even break away from his own Breakaway Cooking to create something wonderfully tasty.

His philosophy is not unlike "The Elements of Taste" by Gray Kunz and Peter Kaminsky, and equally effective, but where Gower truly succeeds is in the simplicity and non-fussy approach to cooking. Rather than fuss for hours over the specifics of complicated culinary technique, Gower's approach is to transform the food with a breakaway blast to come up with a simple (yet complex tasting) winner of a dish.

This is a fantastic book, that belongs in the kitchens of anyone interested in food and cooking. Furthermore, the photography in the book is incredibly gorgeous, very lush and appetizing. If I didn't know better, I'd try to lick the food right off of the page!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Eng on July 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Eric Gower's terrific new book The Breakaway Cook, like his previous, The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen, is stunningly simple in preparation, but extremely high in flavor and inspiration. He continues to show a flair for Japanese ingredients, but also goes far beyond these roots (Eric lived in Japan for a while, but now we've got him in the Bay Area - hooray!) to seek out the "global flavor blasts", playing with intensely flavorful ingredients like smoked paprika, habanero, lavender, maccha, maple syrup, and tangerine.

All through The Breakaway Cook, Eric demonstrates really simple ideas and preparations utilising these ingredients (e.g. umeboshi duck legs, maccha salt, they're fusion ideas without all the confusion) which are great for both weekend chefs and more serious cooks. Especially so for all of us time-challenged individuals who want interesting food without a whole lot of fuss. I find this inspiring volume now occupies a place on my all-time favorite cookbooks shelf next to Simple French Food, Japanese Cooking A Simple Art, and The Complete Meat Cookbook. I highly recommend this book.
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