Customer Review

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and readable... but usable?, November 2, 2011
This review is from: The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks (Hardcover)
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What a beautiful cookbook! Full of wonderful photos, beautifully designed with black print on white pages (this is not a small matter in a cookbook). The book is large enough to lay open, flat, while cooking, another thing that is very important if a cookbook is to be used by real cooks.

Each recipe is a little love note from its creator, who "won" a weekly contest for best recipes, managed by the two cookbook authors. It's a great concept for getting really good recipes.

However, it is organized by season, not by types of food. That makes for cozy bedtime reading (I promise!) but is not a design decision that turns a cookbook into a "go to" cookbook in the home cook's kitchen. Also, its index is not as complete as an everyday cookbook meant to be "cooked from" should be. For instance, there is no "Cookies" listing in the alphabetical index of some 15 pages. Each cookie is listed only by its name, ie, "Sugar cookies, chewy" is the listing, under the S section. The authors knew to list "Strawberries," with the subsequent alphabetical list of recipes containing strawberries, and "Ciabatta," etc., but no cookies. I didn't look for other examples. In fact, I turned to another, more conventionally organized cookbook (Betty Crocker) to find some cookie recipe suggestions when I felt like baking last week.

I would also like to say these recipes do lean more towards "gourmet" and unusual. You'll find calls for flaky sea salt, "fregola," which the book says is a "Sardinian pasta resembling couscous" (then why not use couscous?), and other delicious, fun, interesting ingredients. This is not a book for 30-minute recipes to feed the kids between soccer practice and homework. These are recipes to enjoy and savor, so ...this cookbook won't ever be the one you grab for nightly dinnertime solutions.

Recommendation: Definitely, for food lovers everywhere, however, not a "go to" cookbook for nightly dinner solutions.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 2, 2011 6:47:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2011 6:47:59 AM PDT
ringo says:
No "cookies" in the index, no "soup," no "salad" etc. (but there is "salad dressing"). It appears the index is based entirely on recipe names and ingredient names, without categorization.

Indexing is an art unto itself, and cookbook indexing even more so. I'm guessing the authors decided to use an MS Word wizard here, or the Adobe equivalent.

Posted on Dec 31, 2011 7:46:31 AM PST
C. Billups says:
fregole are quite different from couscous which is much smaller. I think she was just trying to explain what they were as most people would not know unless they had been in Sardinia.
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