Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nicely illustrated cookbook with plenty of easy recipe ideas, February 26, 2011
This review is from: Rachael Ray's Look + Cook (Paperback)
This was my first Rachel Ray cookbook; I received it as a Christmas gift. The basic idea behind this cookbook is that in addition to a beautiful, full-page, full-color photograph for each recipe, Ray also offers smaller, step-by-step photos illustrating various points in the progression of the recipe. This is perfect for beginning cooks or simply those who prefer visual prompts to written ones.

Ray has broken up this book into the following eight chapters: 1) Cozy Food, 2) Make Your Own Take-Out, 3) Fancy Fake-Outs, 4) 30-Minute Meals, 5) Yes! The Kids Will Eat It, 6) Sides & Starters, 7) Simple Sauces & Bottom-of-the-Jar Tips, and 8) Desserts. I really didn't find the distinctions amongst the first four chapters to mean much; these recipes all seemed very similar. Upon perusing the recipes, one quickly learns that Ray has a few favorite food styles/ingredients, such as Mexican food (not a favorite of mine, so this really stood out). Also, it is important to note that from Chapter 4 on (Page 225, so just over two-thirds of the way in), the photos stop, and the remainder is presented in text only, which seemed a little disingenuous to me. In addition, Ray herself has admitted that baking is not her forte, so the "Desserts" chapter offers mainly a small selection of recipes that can be put together from prepared foods (e.g., "Grasshopper Brownies" using prepared brownie mix; simple berries and cream). Finally, for the section with recipes for the kids, let's just say that I hope your kids have fairly adventurous tastes--rosemary chicken? peas & radishes? chicken & guacamole? On the other hand, I did find a recipe for my husband here! ;)

There definitely are some nice things about this cookbook: the ideas for sauces and ways to use leftover products are creative and fun, and overall, the recipes should be relatively easy and accessible to most cooks, especially those with some experience. Plus (and perhaps most important of all!), the three recipes that I have made from this cookbook so far (Coconut Fish Fry, Teriyaki Noodles, and Cashew Chicken) have all been quite good. So, as long as you are aware of some of the caveats I mentioned above, I would recommend this cookbook.
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