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The Minimalist Entertains Hardcover – March 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1ST edition (March 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767911938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767911931
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The prolific New York Times columnist Bittman is now on his eighth edited or co-authored book in as many years. Like many entertaining-based cookbooks, Bittman's is organized by dinner menus: 10 for each season. Charmingly titled ("A Meal for Questionable Weather," "A Cool Dinner for a Hot Night," etc.), the meals rely heavily on simple Asian and Mediterranean techniques like stir-frying and braising. Impressive but eminently do-able entrees like Curried Mussels, Roast Tomato Frittata, and Pasta with Dark Red Duck Sauce are probably his hallmark, but Bittman also shows a flair for assembling succulent, long-cooking dishes like Kale, Sausage and Mushroom Stew and Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce. For desserts, he shies away from labor-intensive baking projects; more typical are forgiving foods to be prepared ahead of time like Pineapple-Ginger Sorbet and Coconut Rice Pudding. Bittman prefaces each menu with tips, timetables and wine recommendations. The recipes themselves are airily laid out-one page per recipe, rarely more than eight or 10 ingredients-so that although home cooks may be preparing four or five dishes at once, it scarcely seems like a challenge. As for the author, it seems as if he could keep on making life easier for time-pressed gourmands ad infinitum-as long as you keep it simple, you need never run out of inspiration.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Minimum ingredients, great techniques, and maximum flavor; that’s what Mark is all about.”
--Jean-Georges Vongerichten


“This book perfectly describes simple and easy entertaining for each season. Mark Bittman’s pared-to-the-essentials style of cooking is the way that professional chefs wish they could cook at home.”
--Daniel Boulud, chef and restaurateur, and author of Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City


“Let’s face it: entertaining is a slightly scary business for just about everybody. But in this book, Mark Bittman’s trademark brand of delicious but easy recipes is joined by a ‘let's just have fun’ attitude that makes you actually want to have folks over for dinner. So bring on the guests–you’ll not only be a success, you’ll enjoy yourself, too.”
--John Willoughby and Chris Schlesinger, coauthors of The Thrill of the Grill and License to Grill

More About the Author

Mark Bittman is one of the country's best-known, most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of the New York Times on food policy and cooking and is a columnist for the New York Times magazine. He is regularly featured on the Today Show in How To Cook Everything Today cooking segments. For 13 years he wrote "The Minimalist" column and now a "Minimalist" cooking show is featured on the Cooking Channel. The How to Cook Everything series is highly respected: the first edition of the flagship book How to Cook Everything won both the IACP and James Beard Awards, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian won the 2008 IACP award. He is also the author of Food Matters, Food Matters Cookbook, Fish, and Leafy Greens.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
Bittman gives you concepts, principles, and ideas about cooking.
David C. Stokes
When it seemed the book was at my house more that at the shop, which had been kind enough to repeatedly lend it to me, it was time to buy my own copy.
Marietta Christie
The recipes are terrific and really quite easy, even for the complicated dishes.
danica21

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn A. Goodman on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Realistically, I wish I could give it three and a half stars. It's better than your average cookbook, but not as good as a *typical* Mark Bittman cookbook.
The strength of MOST of Mark Bittman's cookbooks is that they teach you *how* to cook by giving you tons of variation ideas on every recipe and lots of encouragement. They are good books to *read* and not just cook from. This book doesn't give you any variations at all, and little text. Instead, it gives you forty menus, and each menu consists of a short blurb, a few "keys to success", wine recommendations, a rough timetable, and the recipes.
The menus look pretty good, and are categorized by season. The recipes are pretty typical of his style - a few key ingredients, prepared simply, into a somewhat unusual finished dish. He writes in his intro that he keeps menus at a maximum of 2 complex dishes (and the others more simple or store bought, like good bread). I still find this too much when I entertain, especially for a crowd of 8.
I have to admit I'm not sold on the "menu" concept in general. I tend to enjoy doing this sort of planning myself - based on my own tastes, knowledge of my guests' tastes (vegans/non-spicy/no-fish/whatever) and my ability to juggle several courses in the kitchen while holding a coherent conversation with the guest that won't go mingle. I inevitably burn *something* at each dinner party. ;-)
I typically LOVE Mark Bittman books - I have the "Cooks Dinner" one, the "Cooks at Home" one, and "How to Cook Everything" which is in my opinion the most useful cook-book EVER. But this one isn't as good as the rest. I'm giving it 4 stars because the food still looks good, but I've cooked more from Ina Garten's "The Barefoot Contessa: Parties" more than I've cooked from this.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn A. Goodman on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Realistically, I wish I could give it three and a half stars. It's better than your average cookbook, but not as good as a *typical* Mark Bittman cookbook.
The strength of MOST of Mark Bittman's cookbooks is that they teach you *how* to cook by giving you tons of variation ideas on every recipe and lots of encouragement. They are good books to *read* and not just cook from. This book doesn't give you any variations at all, and little text. Instead, it gives you forty menus, and each menu consists of a short blurb, a few "keys to success", wine recommendations, a rough timetable, and the recipes.
The menus look pretty good, and are categorized by season. The recipes are pretty typical of his style - a few key ingredients, prepared simply, into a somewhat unusual finished dish. He writes in his intro that he keeps menus at a maximum of 2 complex dishes (and the others more simple or store bought, like good bread). I still find this too much when I entertain, especially for a crowd of 8.
I have to admit I'm not sold on the "menu" concept in general. I tend to enjoy doing this sort of planning myself - based on my own tastes, knowledge of my guests' tastes (vegans/non-spicy/no-fish/whatever) and my ability to juggle several courses in the kitchen while holding a coherent conversation with the guest that won't go mingle. I inevitably burn *something* at each dinner party. ;-)
I typically LOVE Mark Bittman books - I have the "Cooks Dinner" one, the "Cooks at Home" one, and "How to Cook Everything" which is in my opinion the most useful cook-book EVER. But this one isn't as good as the rest. I'm giving it 4 stars because the food still looks good, but I've cooked more from Ina Garten's "The Barefoot Contessa: Parties" more than I've cooked from this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By danica21 on April 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have 3 of his books and this one does the best job of pulling together his widely varied tastes into menu ideas that are unconventional, seasonal, easy to prepare, and delicious. This is different from HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING or even DINNER because it actually pulls things together, which his other books don't do. You have recipes for one dish but if you want to throw a menu together, especially as a beginner, it is a lot harder to find what is unique and goes well with the main course. This does it for you. The recipes are terrific and really quite easy, even for the complicated dishes. Try the Cranberry Clafoutis for a simple, rustic, yet totally gourmet dessert.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David C. Stokes on August 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A collection of delicious recipes that does more than just give you ingredients and instructions. Bittman gives you concepts, principles, and ideas about cooking. Follow his instructions and your guests will love your food. Learn the concepts and principles and your cooking will amaze you and your guests.
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