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Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals*: *For Four People Paperback – May 7, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1 edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761174931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761174936
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Caroline Wright is the author of Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals. A graduate of the prestigious Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne and recipient of a coveted scholarship from Les Dames d’Escoffier, she is a former food editor at Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. She works as a freelance recipe developer and tester, food stylist, and food writer and editor for Cooking Light, Real Simple, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Health, Women’s Day, and Oxmoor House, among others. Caroline lives with her husband and young son in Dallas, TX.


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Customer Reviews

Recipes are not preceded by a list of ingredients.
Michael Lichter
I really feel like this book would have had a fighting chance if the title implied something a bit different.
Carol Toscano
While I love all the full page color photos of the meals, the recipe format is one that I do not like.
OlyNomad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Chan TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is mislabeled. It should be titled "Twenty Plus Dollar, Twenty Plus Minute Dishes - For Four People". I consider myself a fairly efficient cook, and there was no flaming way in Hades I could finish some of these recipes in 20 minutes...unless Wright was referring the 20 minutes to cook time only. Some of the recipes are simply not safe to eat when cooked in 20 minutes. The Pork Tenderloin recipe comes to mind - she has it slated for 18 minutes of actual cook time...8 minutes of searing, 5 minutes of roasting, and another 5 minutes of searing. For the 1.5 lbs of pork, it was almost cooked, and definitely not enough to feed four hungry adults.

The recipe layout is okay, although not my favorite layout. All the ingredients are highlighted within the actual recipe. This was both good and bad for me when cooking - nice because it was easy to spot the ingredient when cooking, but really bad when trying to prepare ahead and shop for the ingredients. Call me old fashioned, but I like all my ingredients laid out first before starting a recipe - just to check if I have everything.

Most of the recipes require items to be premade - like the Strawberry Shortcake. Put strawberries and whipped cream on crumbled shortcake. Some "recipes" aren't even recipes at all - such as a the "French Bread, Chocolate, and Red Wine" dessert. Is this a joke? "Place half a baguette and 1/2 a bar of best-quality chocolate on a serving tray. To eat, tear off piece of bread and top each square of chocolate. Serve with glasses of red wine." That's a hack recipe, if you ask me.

All in all, I didn't like this recipe book. The layout was poor, the recipes were underwhelming, and frankly, some of these "recipes" are an insult to people who actually enjoy cooking.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Coenen TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A previous reviewer mentioned that this book may have been mis-titled. I tend to agree.

First, even the author mentions that not all meals will be under $20. The intro has a "Note on Costs" and states: "While I'd prefer it if every recipe cost you $20 or less, I'll hope you'll think of any extra dollars spent as an investment in future meals!" Not at all what I was promised.

Second: Twenty-minute meals? Maybe. If you only include cooking time. Additionally, I don't view a "salad" or a "fudge topping" as a meal. Twenty-minute food items... 20-minute dishes... 20-minute things to eat... You get the idea.

Additionally, as somebody who likes to cook, I'm insulted that many of the recipes call for prepackaged or pre-made items. A "best brand" marinara sauce? Store-made pizza dough? Pre-made pesto? Please, tell ME how to make those items. Assume I need to learn and grow as a home cook.

Of the over 100 recipes in the book, I earmarked three that I may actually make.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ann Elliot VINE VOICE on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most evenings, I drag myself home from work and head for the kitchen to cook dinner for our three-generation family of five. When I saw this cookbook offered as a Vine selection, I was delighted. Surely this was something that would make my life easier.

How wrong could I be? First, the book's title is misleading. The title should say "recipes"--not "meals." No matter what you add to a bowl of miso soup, that would never consitute a meal for my family.

Second, these are sophisticated recipes, not family fare. I did enjoy chuckling at the thought of the faces around the dinner table if I should serve grilled sardines, wearing their heads and tails, with polenta, onions and raisins.

Third, where in our town would I find fresh sardines, with or without heads and tails? Or haloumi, kimbu or bresaola? Just obtaining many of the ingredients would necessitate a trip over the mountains to a larger city.

The cookbook was written for a small, select audience: twentysomethings living in a large metropolis. Or, it would work for empty-nesters with time to experiment and enjoy. I was one of those, briefly, and hope to return to that demographic at some point, so I'll keep the cookbook. I'll try the pasta primavera and some of the excellent suggestions for fish baked in foil packets in the meantime. NOTE: I tried the foil pouch-baked fish with oranges and olives. There was no enthusiasm and the family ate quietly. I knew they were humoring me. Also tried the "dumbed-down" version of pasta primavera (with spinach, frozen peas and sour cream). That went over much better.

The full page photos of each dish look delicious. The narrative is adept, with suggestions "penciled" in the margins, and, something I especially appreciated, approximate actual times are given rather than just the "cook until thickened" kind of thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By OutlawPoet TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There's a weird dichotomy between the cover/title and the recipes presented in this book. From the cover, I expected some utilitarian, basic (and cheap!) meals for four people. But that's not really what you get.

In fact, the book is full of surprisingly elegant small meals. Now, these are very small - even the author admits that she normally supplements them with a salad. This is a bit more like a portion of a meal, to be honest. But these little meals are unfailingly elegant and easy to make.

Each meal is accompanied by a gorgeous full color picture. Instead of an ingredients list, the ingredients are included only in the text of the recipe. While that makes it a little more difficult to make a quick shopping list, it's great for those of us who, shamefully, don't read the recipe before cooking. The ingredients are highlighted so that you can, if you insist, run down the recipe and make a quick list if you're in a hurry.

Now, as I selected a few meals to try, I was faced with a challenge. The Resident-Five-Year-Old. Since the meals seemed more fit for a small, chic dinner party than something that pairs well with chocolate milk, I was very curious how they would go over.

In fact, many of the meals can be made kid-friendly with a few substitutions (i.e. remove anything green before serving!). Luckily, since it's just the two of us, the meals were ample enough to acquiesce to her request for seconds.

All in all, this is a fun book of elegant, tiny meals. Be prepared to supplement with Salad, Bread, and maybe some veggies, but the meals are beautiful and easy to make.
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