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The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater Hardcover – October 19, 2006


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The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater + Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes + Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham Books (October 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592402348
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592402342
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Few writers could get away with what London Observer columnist Slater does here: jotting down what he eats and recording recipes for the homemade items over the course of a year. Slater, though, has the writing chops to make it work—as proven in his memoir Toast. His style is lazily thoughtful, but also honest and unfussy: January 9 sees a "gray, endless drizzle" that makes it "the sort of day on which to light the fire, turn on the radio and bake a cake." The recipe for Double Ginger Cake that follows, however, highlights this book's sometimes problematic Britishness when it calls for both golden syrup and stem ginger in syrup, available, a footnote claims, "in some supermarkets and specialty shops." Slater's food isn't British in the stodgy sense. Indeed, he smoothly incorporates the flavors of other cultures into his cooking to make Indian-influenced Spiced Roast Potatoes with Yogurt and Mint, for example. Yet local references and recommendations, such as a tip that the best hummus may be purchased "at the Green Valley, just off the Edgware Road," will frustrate readers in the U.S. As George Bernard Shaw once said, the British and the Americans are two peoples divided by a common language. Sadly, much of this wonderful book is lost in translation, or lack thereof. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Cooking in harmony with the seasons' produce has inspired the talented London food writer to share his culinary diary across a 12-month cycle. Each date records the foods he produces for himself and for his friends. For those special dishes whose ingredients and preparation aren't obvious, Slater provides recipes. These range in complexity from a simple herbed chicken stew to an eggplant, tomato, and lemongrass curry. Fresh fruits and vegetables star throughout, and he relies on locally raised organic goods wherever possible. Experienced cooks will have little trouble interpreting some of the vague directions or translating native British produce to American kitchens. Photographs also help guide cooks. Slater disparages the idea that consumers demand out-of-season goods, calling it a myth generated by supermarkets. Yet even he can't resist the lure of fresh fruit in the depths of winter. His diary's January 4 entry notes that he crowns his breakfast oatmeal with blueberries. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Love Nigel Slater and am excited to cook myself through this!
urbanfoodguy
If you like reading cookbooks as much as you like cooking, you will probably love this one.
H.M. Fonseca
Easy recipes, beautiful photos and all we've tried have been delicious.
juney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By S. De Swaan on October 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book. Not many people could write down a years worth of eating and transform it into a highly entertaining and addictive book. Nigel Slater's writing wants you to start cooking -- and the best thing about it is that many of the recipes are very approachable and highly successful. Within a week of finishing the book I had made his Pumpkin Soup twice for very appreciative eaters. The best thing about this book, and his other books is that Nigel takes a few ingredients or some left overs and transforms them into something that you wish you'd been invited over to share with him. Nigel Slater is a great voice in today's food writing.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Erich Brueschke on November 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A large cookbook of 390+ pages, organized in a month-by-month way, containing over 300 new recipes and speckled with wonderful food photography emphasising the use of seasonally available ingredients.

However, because of the way each month highlights the availability of particular produce within the month itself, this cookbook shows that the current attitude of "supply and demand" is perhaps not the best way to cook. Nigel says it best:

"Our culinary seasons have been blurred by commerce, and in particular by the supermarkets' much vaunted idea that consumers want all things to be available all year round...I worry that today it is all too easy to lose sight of food's natural timing and, worse, to miss it when it is at its sublime best...Right food, right place, right time - it is my belief - and the point of this book - that this is the best recipe of all."

That is not to say that 'The Kitchen Diaries' is merely a seasonal cookbook, far from it. The month by month approach makes full use of available in seasonal ingredients, while Nigel's at-home-baking knowledge guides you easily through the recipes.

Pork loin cooked with grapes, wine and seasoned with salt, pepper and juniper berries, bruised potatoes, and Nigel's simply wonderful apple cake makes for a simple, yet wonderful dinner. Easy to make and seasonal to boot.

These are meals whose success relies on the ingredients of the moment rather than the experience of the cook.

Nigel's style of cookbook writing is something you either love or hate. I like the style and find it enjoyable to just read even if I am not cooking.

The Kitchen Diaries is an excellent addition to any Nigel Slater fan and a book worth getting if you love good food you can make at home.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By lil' girl blu on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nigel Slater has done an amazing job with The Kitchen Diaries. Writing down everything eaten for dinner for an entire year must have been a daunting task, but it makes a wonderful read - as his stories are both funny and inspiring - and it was reassuring to see that even well known cooks are not above takeout and beer every once in a while!

So far I have made probably 15 recipes ...all have been wonderful, and the hot chocolate puddings alone are worth the price of book...oh, and so is the ham with chorizo, and the Thai curry, and his fabulous bolongese, and..well you get the idea, right?

A definite 'must-have'.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Whitham on December 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you know of Nigel Slaters other books you will no doubt just buy this regardless of any review as you will know what an entertaining writer he is.

If you are new to Nigel Slater then here is what I would say about this book;

If you are looking for a straight out 'recipe book' this isn't the book for you (I'd start with the excellent 'Appetite' - also by Nigel Slater). However, if you are a foodie that is inspired by reading about others inspiration and seasonal eating, then you will find this book hugely entertaining.

More a book on enjoying simple culinery pleasures than technique or presentation.

Forget such lifestyle books as 'Under the Tuscan sun' or 'A year in Provence', what you'll get out of this is a sense of place, mood, season and good living which is obtainable by all of us (in the western world) through the simple but elegant satisfaction good food can bring.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on December 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Nigel Slater is definitely one of the best food writers around today, his enjoyment of food - its textures, colours, tastes and aromas is inspiring and even now just thinking about the book I find my mouth watering.

He is a British writer and if you have not heard about him or his work then I strongly suggest you have a go - if you like Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver you will probably enjoy Slater.

In this hardback illustrated book he discusses his eating and cooking over a year. Each chapter is a month of writing and cooking - talking about food what is available and what he does with it. The start of the chapter has the month and a list of recipes he has made through the month. So you can flick through on a month by month basis, tasting the season's fruits etc, (there is also a helpful index by the way) Or you can just read it as a series of recipes in a diary like way.

The recipes are based on fresh and simple principles rather than trying to make complicated concoctions. And some of the simplest foods make the nicest things - I love his broad bean recipes (the American readers will probably know them as fava beans)and rhubarb deserts are great.

My only real issue with this book is that it is printed on a laid crean paper - which is fine for text but they also have printed the pictures in colour on it which loses a lot of the gloss and richness of the illustrations. I really enjoy good food photography - even if I never can present it to the same standard it is lovely to look at. While it is all nicely presented and printed I find it difficult to get the whole "Readers-Digest-Condensed-book" picture out of my head because that is what it looks like to me.
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