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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money, December 10, 2012
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This review is from: The Essential James Beard Cookbook: 450 Recipes That Shaped the Tradition of American Cooking (Hardcover)
I own some good cookbooks by James Beard. BUT THIS ONE was NOT written by James Beard. It was put together by his heirs ostensibly to make some money from his deserved good name. In the process of hacking this together they went a little PC on the old recipes (whole wheat pasta in lasagna??!! -- GAG) and threw in a few of the old originals. Save your money and get a reprint of his original books untouched by his less talented heirs.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 25, 2013 10:50:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2013 8:51:16 AM PST
R. Rodgers says:
As the writer of this book, I must correct some of your assumptions and errors.

The addition of whole wheat pasta to the lasagna was Beard's, as can be found in the original recipe in BEARD ON PASTA. (It is interesting to note that when this recipe was written, in the early 1980s, he was interested in the new developments in the American scene, such as whole grain pasta.) It was not a "PC" addition. If it makes you GAG, unfortunately, you can't ask Beard directly why he used it, but I think we can assume it was for reasons of taste and texture.

The over four hundred recipes were very carefully chosen by John Ferrone, who for over thirty years, was Beard's neighbor, friend, confidante, and editor. ALL of the recipes in the book are original Beard. Not one of them was fabricated, so your statement that we "threw in a few of the old originals" is categorically false. I did standardize the recipes edited and published across four decades into a single cohesive style, but they retain Beard's voice. Any comments or clarifications made are clearly marked as Editor's Notes. Ostensibly, you did not check the lasagna recipe against the original, or you would not have made this serious error.

Ferrone is one of Beard's heirs, along with Reed College in Oregon. I have never heard him make any claims to be a more talented cook than his friend. Nor do I. There is a very interesting interview with Ferrone online ("Voices from the Food Revolution") as part of an NYU oral history project that Beard's fans will want to look up. It may help put Ferrone's role in Beard's life, and his unique qualifications to gather the recipes, into perspective.

The book was lovingly put (and not hacked) together to give younger cooks not familiar with his contributions a taste of his ground-breaking cooking, and to supply his fans with favorite recipes in a single volume. That was our goal and, happily, professional reviewers from Library Journal and other publications agree that we have succeeded.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2013 11:05:11 AM PST
I literally purchased this book yesterday. It's my first James Beard cookbook, and while not familiar with his other work, I must say I was quite pleased with the recipes thus far.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2013 3:59:59 PM PDT
SandyCB says:
I believe you that the recipes are all originals, but as I own many James Beard cookbooks, the only reason to buy a new one would be to get a selection of recipes that highlight great recipes I may have overlooked. I thank the author of the review, because I, too, find the idea of whole wheat lasagna fairly revolting, and so will trust my own judgment in selecting recipes from his work.

Posted on Oct 14, 2013 4:21:22 PM PDT
Dee Donegan says:
Thanks, I would spent some $ disappointingly
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