Top positive review
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Ina at Her Best
on November 1, 2012
I own all of Ina Garten's cookbooks. I am amazed by how simple she makes cooking seem and every year around Thanksgiving, I start sorting through her recipes and planning my Thanksgiving menu. She delivers top notch results without much fuss, and I think she is probably my favorite long time Food Network personality.
Foolproof is a cookbook that seems to revolve around mistake proof entertaining. When Ina says "foolproof" she doesn't mean a recipe has only five ingredients or that it has only three steps. Ina means she has an ingredient list with easily obtainable ingredients and steps that appeal to your common sense so that you don't worry about whether the recipe will turn out. She tells you what to look for so that you know when each recipe is perfectly done.
She lists ten foolproof tips for cooking. Other chapters include: cocktails; starters; lunch; dinner; vegetables; and desserts. She also gives you 12 foolproof tips for table settings with photographs which help you out if, like me, making a table setting look polished but simple is something you need a little help with. She finishes the book with a foolproof index of menus for special occasions which cross references with special dishes from all of her cookbooks.
She does repeat foolproof recipes from her previous books such as her standard chicken stock, but the book is mostly comprised of new material. I have seen some complaints that some of her ingredients are just too much of a splurge. I like to look at her recipes from a couple of perspectives. She lives in the Hamptons, and ingredients such as lobster are a local, easy-to-obtain natural part of her repertoire. Also, these recipes seem to mostly have an emphasis on entertaining and many of us don't mind splurging a little for a special occasion. She typically will tell you where to source the occasional not so common ingredient such as truffle butter. I'm not certain why anyone would expect budget recipes out of someone who has never been known for them at any point in her career.
This cookbook is the same sturdy hardback that the rest of her classic cookbooks are fashioned in. Her cookbook has wonderful photography and stays open with no help, a real perk if you like to actively cook or don't own a cookbook stand.
I enjoy all of Ina's recipes but have always felt she has a rare gift to make vegetables shine. Her sweet potato puree is very simple to prepare but is full of nice nuances in flavor. I have been using her roasted carrot recipe for over a year now and am delighted to see that she has mixed it up with a recipe for braised carrots and parsnips.She presents a mashed chickpea recipe that is yummy. I will be serving up her chocolate chunk blondie recipe regularly (a neat twist on the chocolate chip cookie). The raspberry shortbread bars are buttery, flavor-filled, and exceptional. Expect food that you turn to when you want to make a delicious impression at a holiday dinner, special occasion, or because you love impressing friends and coworkers with yumminess.
I think her cookbooks consistently get better and become more user friendly with each book. I am excited to test drive this book throughout the holiday season.