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The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià Hardcover – October 3, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
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"The Family Meal shows that the chef who put [elBulli] on the map knows very well how to appeal to the everyday home chef and to the tastes of the discerning palate. "―Energy Times
"Wonderful. . . good straightforward cooking. "- Mark Bittman―
"This is the type of traditional food Ferran loves. "―Jeffrey Steingarten, VOGUE
"The recipes make you taste an everyday food in an entirely new way."―Julia Moskin, The New York Times
"The idea of El Bulli at home sounds far-fetched, but you can cook the restaurant's staff meals easily- without the foam. The step-by step visual recipes are precise but playful."―Bon AppÃ©tit
"Simple, deceptively elegant recipes . . .it's manna from the maestro for home cooks, both novice and notable."―BookPage
"Proves accessible even to novice cooks...Adria's fame and revolutionary style make this a defining cookbook."―BooklistStarred Review
"I've never been so excited about such a simple [Noodle Soup with Mussels]: cooking and eating it crystalized what is unique and wonderful about Mr. Adria's book. . . I learned an enormous amount about cooking from a master of the trade. "―Katy McLaughlin, The Wall Street Journal
"I can't stop cooking from this book . . . The only downside is that I had to come to terms with splotching grease on its lovely pages."―The Atlantic
"Even if you're more comfortable navigating cobblestone streets in platforms than wielding a microplane in the kitchen, this book will show even the most harried and clueless of cooks how to prepare a simple dinner at home. And, as an unexpected bonus, it will also be a meal that will forever impress guests. "―VOGUE.com
"Adria . . . teaches kitchen basics (egg poaching, anyone?) and delivers simple, delicious recipes meant for the daily table. "―People
"A gem of a cookbook packed with fantastic recipes and tips from the master. The closest most readers will come to eating with him. "―Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
When I bought it, Amazon did not have any way to preview it. So, I'll try and tell you what's in it.
First, there are the basic recipes. Each one of these has step by step close-up pictures.
Picada, Tomato sauce, Sofrito, Bolognese sauce, Romesco sauce, Pesto sauce, Barbecue sauce, Teriyaki sauce, Chimichurri sauce, Croutons, and Aiolo. Most have two different quantities you can make depending on your needs.
Stocks: One nice tip he gives is that they reboil the stuff they made a stock with, calling it second stock....and then use that as the water the next time they make stock.
Fish stock, chicken stock, beef stock, and ham stock.
Now the meals. There are 31. Each one contains ingredients for 2, 6, 20, and 75 people. Each one contains step by step pictures and a timeline.Read more ›
However, there are many errors in ingredient amounts. Some you can guess at and correct, some you can't. For example, the caramelized pears (meal 25), has you use 1 cup of water for 2 people, 2 1/4 cups for 20 but 2 1/2 for 6. After making the recipe, my guess is that for six you want to use 1 1/2 cups water. The chocolate cookies (meal 2) is a little harder to decode. For 20 cookies it calls for 2 tsp, but for 100 it calls for 3/4 cup. The spices only double when the cookie count increases five fold. Beautiful book, but recipes require very careful examination before proceeding.
That is almost completely offset by unit errors in the recipes, and NO errata webpage from the publisher. Certain recipes, particularly desserts which are temperamental by nature, are ruined by these errors. All this book needs is an errata source, and it would be perfect.
but never tells you what to do about the other 1/2 cup. Too many pictures for simple things. It looks like they tried hard but the devil is in the details.
If you're an Adria fan, this is probably not the book for you. If you have very few cookbooks, you might love it for the timelines and because it has lots of pictures to imply technique. But while you get 111 recipes here, you can get over 1000 recipes (and very often, better recipes) from Cooks Illustrated's "The New Best Recipe" for only a couple of dollars more. You don't need two pages worth of pictures to tell you how to cut open a melon, scrape it out, cut it into wedges and serve it alongside some sliced prosciutto. (If you're thinking, "The pictures must be about the technique," please trust me that they aren't.) A cynic would suggest that the pictures are largely a way to stretch 111 recipes into nearly 400 pages - and a heftier price tag.
The recipes are not special (although some of the desserts are good.) Really, do you need yet another recipe for a plain hamburger? Inauthentic Bolognese sauce? Pesto? Caesar salad? Guacamole? Thai beef curry (using curry paste)? Of course you don't. Also, while it's kind of cool that the recipes are stepped for two servings, six servings, etc. (up to 75 servings), are those large numbers important to you? For most of us, rarely, if at all.
These stepped up recipes are where the goofiness comes in. Aioli must be made six cups at a time. Romesco sauce is used in one recipe which calls for less than two cups for six servings. The Romesco Sauce recipe on the other hand, makes a minimum of 1.5 gallons. No kidding. The chicken stock recipe? Only one size - only 8.5 cups.
The whole book basically emphasizes planning and careful thought and shows how by providing the ingredients lists, timings and scaling. Nothing very complex or too difficult that it can't be done at home. And not a sous vide in sight. :)
As a cookbook, the emphasis is on planning and on how to do things simply and effectively. The recipes are great for the average home-cook and beginner. Those learning to cook will find this book very helpful. The scaling to 75 guests provides an interesting insight and nothing more. And if you're planning a simple dinner party for 2 or 6 or even 10, the timing and cooking plans are a great example on how to do things right.
I now have a fridge full of sauces that I can whip into a simple meal quickly. As a working individual, it is very convenient and it definitely tastes better than opening a can.
As a peek into El Bulli, it's not too onerous or gushy. It just tells it like it is without fuss; a nice insight which is nice to have. A very compressed "Before service starts at El Bulli".
Personally, I found it inspiring with its recipes (slightly leaning towards Catalan) that you can use for good, rustic and tasty home-cooking: a family meal.
Oh yes, if I need to cook for 10 or more people, I'd either go pot-luck or cater. :)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First of all, I read this book cover to cover in one sitting because I was captivated by the simplicity of the system of cooking the book proposes.
And there's a system. Read more
Thoroughly organized and brilliantly executed volume! I haven't made many of the recipes yet, but I plan to become very well acquainted.Published 1 month ago by Peter Pendergrass
Great book, great recipes, everything is explained well with photos, step by step. I am sure everyone will be able to cook a decent meal with this book! :)Published 5 months ago by Dimo Valev
I love how Ferran Adria illustrates his book, step by step, for people like me who are so intimidated by the high art of cooking. Read morePublished 6 months ago by DiVineG