Customer Review

323 of 345 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cook Beware!, May 2, 2005
This review is from: Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home (Hardcover)
The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (I own all of them) can always be counted on if what you seek is a guaranteed "hit." Ina Garten's new book contains some of those. But, it seems to me that the book was rushed to press, because this book contains numerous oversights and glitches. I am a very experienced and confident home cook, and the "Ile Flottante" (floating island) recipe, for example, had me on my knees in despair. The intro assures us that it will be "worth every minute it takes to make." I lost track of the minutes it took to make this thing. The directions for making the caramel were so vague that my first attempt resulted in what I later learned is known as "crystallized" sugar. So, I turned to my faithful "Joy of Cooking" for clearer directions on how to make caramel (it's enormously nuanced, and definitely doesn't belong in a book that calls itself "easy.") Then, the meringues were supposed cook in 20 minutes. I have a brand new oven and an independent over themometer, and these took a good 40 minutes. The recipe says to "set aside" the caramel, which you later pour over the merigues--well, my caramel sat for about an hour, and when I went to pour it it was hard as a rock. Etc. Etc. She writes that her Moroccan Couscous is easy to reheat--but fails to explain how to reheat it without drying it out. The salmon with lentils recipe fails to mention when you add the lentils. Do you see what I mean? There are numerous oversights of this nature, making this a perilous book for any but an experienced cook. Glossy photos and a $35.00 sticker price cannot overcome sloppy basics. You can do better, Ina!
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 1, 2008 11:36:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 1, 2008 11:37:33 AM PST
LisaE. says:
Valuable and need to know feedback. I'm unfamiliar with French cooking and would not have known what to do with those oversights in the book. I do have all of Ina's other books and love them. I have had no problems with the recipes in them.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2008 3:25:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2008 3:25:26 PM PDT
The reviewer said: "The salmon with lentils recipe fails to mention when you add the lentils."

Here is what I found:

"Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste."

So the recipe does say when to add the lentils.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 3:59:29 AM PST
I fail to see how a self proclaimed "experienced cook" could not caramelize sugar or do any of the other things this poster is complaining about. That stuff is cooking 101.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2009 9:30:10 PM PDT
K. Elwell says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2009 1:49:41 AM PDT
taikotari says:
Yes, I was about to protest about this part alone. The recipe didn't forget to instruct when to put the lentil. I made this recipe last night and it was brilliant.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2010 10:09:13 AM PST
Don't be snarky.

Posted on May 19, 2010 8:05:50 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2010 8:06:55 PM PDT]

Posted on Dec 10, 2010 3:35:12 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 1, 2011 1:13:03 PM PST
Kate Moore says:
I have to disagree with you on the Iles Flottante. I made them for a New Year's dinner for a dozen people and found them incredibly simple, particularly for how delicious they were. They honestly rivaled the Ile Flottante I had at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and took very, very little time to make. I'm not sure what went wrong for you, and I'm not trying to point fingers, but I don't think it's the recipe.

I also don't think caramel-making is all that nuanced, beyond keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn. I've taught plenty of beginner-cook friends how to make it, and I thought Ina's instructions were fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2011 12:11:20 AM PST
Happy Girl says:
Well, you might try rubbing them or maybe washing them out with a bit of cool water. Sit down, because I am gonna tell you something earth shattering. Most folks - even ones that have cooked all their long lives have not made caramelized sugar (which is sort of liquidy caramel for the majority of you out there who have not made it). But that is ONE reason why people by cook books. To get recipes and then try them out. No instructions can sometimes bring failure.
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