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The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts Hardcover – October 1, 2011
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The book consists of 51 menus -- 10 for each of the four seasons of the year plus 11 "Celebration and Holiday" menus. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, apparently you get to take a week off. Most of the seasonal menus serve 8 people, while the celebration menus serve 12. Each menu contains an estimate of the amount of time each component recipe should along with pictures, drawings and descriptions. In fact, the illustrations are a little better than ATK's previous books.
At a minimum each menu consists of an appetizer, an entrée, a side and a dessert. But, some menus are more exotic. The "Tapas Party", for example, contains seven courses. The recipes appear to be pulled straight from "Cook's Illustrated" and "The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook", but I haven't compared them one-for-one. In other words, they don't appear to be simplified in any way.
And therein lies the problem. Although a rationale is presented for why each recipe works, there is no rationale for why each menu works. How do you coordinate the cooking, presentation and consumption of simultaneous dishes? Short of preparing some of the dishes the day before, the book offers no guidance. There's no indication of the best order for things to be prepared.Read more ›
There are a few make-ahead stews, etc. as are most of the desserts. A very few main dish recipes can be made the day ahead (even the Lasagna must be made the morning of the party). Some recipes can be made 4 hours ahead and served at room temperature or reheated in the microwave. Many, many other recipes can be made 1 hour before serving. The menus would be great if I had a chef doing the work while I entertained my guests.
I have most of the Cook's Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country cookbooks. Many of the recipes are the same, or a slight variation, of previously published recipes.
If you buy this book, put it on the coffee table and let your guests look at the pictures. If you want to entertain as we do, (like spending most of the time with our guests) try Pam Anderson's "The Perfect Recipe for Having People Over" or any one of Diane Phillips "make-ahead" books.
I sent this one back.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ATK has done an outstanding job of putting together a book with menus. It gives you ideas of what and how to combine for small parties. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Texascook
Only had a chance to glance at it..but will soon give a review on it.Published 6 months ago by Anna B.
Had several couples over for dinner and served one of the menues from this book. Everything was delicious! Even the salsa verde, which I'm not usually a fan of, was very tasty. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kaymo
I have a friend who had this cookbook and made some recipes from it when we came for dinner. I LOVE the whole format of this cookbook. Read morePublished on January 19, 2014 by four cubs farm
Besides the recipes - some of which are really cool - it's a fun and informative book to read. Three cheers.Published on December 9, 2013 by Nicky Arden
Easy to understand, lovely illustrations. Alway love Cooks Illustrated. I will be purchasing cooks illustrated books in the future.recommend for everyone.Published on September 8, 2013 by G. Meskill