Most helpful critical review
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Nice Try, But It Fails
on September 17, 2007
A cookbook full of recipes to save the busy person time in the kitchen? Quick, easy, and simple recipes that can be done in a flash? Nice idea, but the execution is not that successful. The selection of recipes do not always meet the stated goal. While I do like the recipes, I do not really recommend this book.
While some recipes can be done in a few minutes when you come home from work allowing you to get dinner on the table in short order, my main complaint is that many recipes take a long time, perhaps even the next day before the recipe is finished. It would have been useful, since the author intends this book for busy working person, to rate each recipe for number of minutes of active work and a total recipe duration time, so you know how much time you need to devote and at what point dinner will be ready.
Another problem is the use of canned or frozen goods. While I strongly support the idea, they tend to be expensive (have you priced bottled, roasted bell peppers or fresh lobster meat recently?). Also, you are unlikely to have them in your pantry or freezer, unless you have carefully studied the author's recommended pantry and spent a small fortune at the grocery store beforehand. This will often entail a special trip to the store to pick up the missing ingredients; this includes the author's suggestion to pick up ingredients from the store's salad bar, to save a couple of minutes of prep time in the kitchen. Some sort of cross-reference would also have been helpful: a list of the convenience foods used by the author, and a reference to which recipes use that ingredient.
A great number of recipes require the use of a food processor, so do not even think about buying this book unless you have one. Also, some recipes require a specialized piece of equipment: fondue pot setup, grill fish basket, food mill, pressure cooker, etc., so make sure you read the recipe to make sure you have the required kitchen tools.
Many of the recipes are not much of a short cut. How is it a time-saver to fire up the BBQ grill so we can cook seafood in a couple of minutes? It is true that fish cooks quickly, but is this really a short-cut? It is hard to understand how the recipes in the appetizers, soups, salads, fish, and poultry and meat chapters really represent much of short cut over traditional recipes. I would like to know how many hours the author thinks the recipe for `Roast Turkey with Garlic' will take from beginning to end: the author calls for a smaller 12# bird, but you have to add the defrosting time (in days) to the roasting time, unless manage to find a fresh turkey (not easy to find).
On the good side, most of the recipes are pretty good, and are easy for the typical home to do. His approach is most successful in these chapters: bread, vegetable, and dessert. He makes great use of frozen bread dough, frozen vegetables, frozen fruit, and store-bought cakes. His use of pre-made wonton wrappers from the grocery store is also very clever. A lot of the recipes in these chapters are genuine time savers, and are really good.