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The Imus Ranch: Cooking for Kids and Cowboys Hardcover – April 14, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Imus founded the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology, a program that aims to identify, control and ultimately prevent environmental factors that cause adult and, especially, pediatric cancer. She rounds out this collection of basic vegetarian fare with a lengthy essay about life on the Santa Fe, N.Mex. ranch where she and her husband, radio personality Don Imus, practice "healthy living and healthy cooking" and teach self-reliance and horsemanship to kids who have "known too much sickness and too much death." Imus's diet is "organic, whole-food, ovo vegetarian, meaning that we don't eat dairy or animal products, but we do eat eggs," and she explains it with a rundown of the ranch's organic "vegan pantry." The informal recipes focus on basics like Orange Poppy Seed Muffins and Cowboy Potato Chowder, and fast sandwiches like I-Man Chimichangas. Dinner selections feature nostalgic favorites such as Spanish Rice updated with brown rice and olive oil, and Imus cleans up desserts (including Carrot Cake and Jeannie's All Out Brownies) by substituting unbleached flour and unrefined sugar. In addition to healthy lifestyle prescriptives and thank-you notes from some of the camp's young alumni, Imus includes sidebars on topics ranging from non-toxic head lice remedies to green cleaning agents to the dangers of PVC in children's toys. She ends this informative book with a complete nine-day menu, spanning the average duration of Imus Ranch guests.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Aside from her work as an author and cofounder of the Imus Ranch, Deirdre Imus is founder of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology. Located at Hackensack University Medical Center, in New Jersey, hers is one of the first hospital-based programs in the country whose specific mission is to identify, control, and ultimately prevent environmental factors that cause adult, and especially pediatric, cancers.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; 1st edition (April 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875969194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875969190
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,355,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deirdre Imus is the founder and president of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology(R), part of Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) in New Jersey. She is also a cofounder and codirector of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer, and the author of the bestselling book The Imus Ranch: Cooking for Kids and Cowboys.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 139 people found the following review helpful By "dmartinoci" on April 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Reading reviews of this book it seems that the vast majority are colored by the reviewer's view of Don Imus. Those who are fans of Don love the book. Those who don't like Don hate it (and many throw in a few personal insults for good measure). This review will be Imus-neutral.
The book essentially is in two sections. The first section is made up of two essays: a shorter one about life in the kitchen and a longer one about the ranch in general. Neither is spectacular. The kitchen one is the better of the two; mildly amusing in parts as it details how the kitchen is the center of the household and family, whether at the ranch or the reader's home.
I had some trouble with the second essay. While it does provide an interesting look at the workings of a real cattle ranch and how that relates to the kids it is somewhat preachy. Also, the piece is self-aggrandizing in places. In my opinion there's just too much of the "look at all the great, selfless things we do." I also found some of the text (especially the sidebars) a bit condescending as the tone shifts to "talking down" to the reader. One final nit: every mention of a product or service has a brand-name in front of it. I don't know if this is the result of cross-promotion agreements or what, but it puts a very commercial shade over the entire book.
The biggest problem with the essay part of the book is that it suffers from over-editing (more so the second essay than the first). As is stated in the Acknowledgements both were originally written by David Von Drehle (a fine writer in his own regard) and then rewritten. I suspect the book would have been better if Mr. Von Drehle's work had been left untouched.
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57 of 67 people found the following review helpful By "substi324" on May 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book before I read the reviews here on Amazon. Had I read the reviews first I would have saved myself over $110 (cost of the book: $30, cook of ingredients: $80)..
I heard about this book and saw images of the food on the View. I rushed out to buy the book. I read through the book and found several recipes I wanted to make. I bought the ingredients and then I went to work in the kitchen.
First, the times were all wrong as laid out in the book. The Imus Ranch is at high altitude. Were the recipes in the book meant only to work at high altitude?
Second, none of the dishes tasted as good as I thought they should.
I think I wasted both my money and my time.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By jimmy smith on May 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Reactions to COOKING FOR KIDS AND COWBOYS tend to fall into two camps: those who love the Imuses support the book, those who detest them don't.
I'll try to make this a straightforward review.
Anyone who knows nutrition would have problems with the ingredients proposed here. While the author espouses a holistic approach to food, she actually uses substances--onion powder, for God's sake--one wouldn't want to find in a fast food restaurant. A vegetarian myself, I try to make the food at least palatable when I have others for dinner. Unfortunately these dishes are very, very bland and could have the opposite effect on children and encourage bad choices and obesity. One more note: why does the author think PROCESSED FOOD of any kind should be an ingredient??? Dear Lord, that's more toxic than meat itself.
I must also point out cooking times. While it is commendable not to overcook veggies, the same cannot be said for--believe it or not--brown rice and other starches. Yet that is what is suggested here.
Finally, I agree with the author that chemicals and other environmental toxins may cause cancer, but she apparently is ignorant of the fact that we, to date, don't have any reliable studies to back up her claims.
In sum, this is a bad book not because of who wrote it but because of its poor content.
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58 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
During the Larry King interview last night with Don and Dierdre Imus, the host stumbled across a morsel of truth regarding this book.
King asked Dierdre: "You developed all of these recipes yourself, didn't you?"
Dierdre mumbled and stumbled, saying: "Well, uh, well with the staff that works for me. Uh, I mean, the cooks work for me. Yes."
Later in the interview, Don said: "She doesn't cook."
Bottom line: Dierdre took the efforts of the staff that works for her. She doesn't cook. The least she could have done is to give the credit up front in the book to the professionals who did, in fact, develop these recipes. That would have been perfectly fine.
Instead, she denigrates her staff and takes credit for all of this herself. Very bad.
The secrecy and anger around all of the things related to this Ranch give one pause as to the real motivations of the Imus clan.
We would best be served to be wary and find one of the many hundreds of other more open and less mysterious charities to support.
Don keeps noting that the full proceeds from the book go to the Ranch. What he doesn't note is that the Ranch is a private enclave available for his exclusive use for about 300 days out of the year.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Although the photographs in this book are very nice, the book itself was printed on an inexpensive grade of paper too porous to attractively showcase the photo images.
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