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The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes Paperback – October 11, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ted Allen, the food-and-wine expert from Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, has written a cookbook for those seeking a solid dish repertoire for everyday cooking and entertaining alike. The Food You Want to Eat offers 100 recipes for the likes of Old School Caesar Salad; Crispy Oven-Fried Crabcakes; Paella with Seafood, Chicken and Chorizo; and Mustardy Barbecued Spareribs. These favorites that live up to the book's title, but Allen also provides some repertoire-stretching dishes like Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette and Thai Green Chicken Curry with Vegetables. In his role as cooking tutor, and in asides like The Essentials of Steak, Allen also helps readers to understand how dishes work, and therefore how to cook more easily. A whole chapter that imparts cookout smarts, plus a short selection of easy-to-do meal-finales, which includes Chocolate-Glazed Almond Butter Cake, Warm Spiced Apple Tart, and New Age Floats, round out this useful, photo-illustrated collection. --Arthur Boehm

From Booklist

Best known for his role as the food guru on cable TV's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, -Allen takes the full spotlight in this book, which takes cooks and eaters back to the days before counting calories, carbohydrates, and cholesterol became a national obsession. Allen chats amiably about food and techniques, occasionally making wry asides, as he does about "the politics of poultry production": "I like to joke that I'll only eat chickens that are organically farmed by differently abled Unitarian lesbians of color." His recipes are for comfort foods and old favorites, many updated with a modern twist: spinach salad with bacon and figs. Solid sections on salads, pastas, meat, poultry, and seafood are included, as is a chapter, "Happy Hour," covering both food and cocktails. The dessert section is rather disappointing, but Allen makes up for it by suggesting a wine for each dish. Photos of Allen, often hands deep in the ingredients, are scattered throughout the book. He's obviously having fun, and wishes the same for his reader-cooks. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (October 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400080908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400080908
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.7 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm kinda new at cooking, and I don't have a lot of time to do it, so I really appreciate cookbooks with recipes that aren't too difficult. At the same time, especially when I'm having friends (or dates!) to dinner, I want to serve food that's interesting and real--the microwave is fine, but not for company! I've tried the prime rib, one of the pizzas, the salmon with tomato vinaigrette, and the creme brulee so far, and everything has come out AMAZING!
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Format: Paperback
Designed to be `Smart, cool, easy food' recipes.

I had the privilege of meeting this author during a special dinner at the Joseph Ambler Inn in Pennsylvania. Besides being a very down-to-earth man, he also has put together a book of 100 recipes that really are very simple. Though I wasn't a fan of the small typestyle used for this book, the contrast in colors between the ingredients and the directions, made it a little easier to see. Every section had some facts or history to tell you what was coming up and each recipe had a personal story or reason for that recipe. Throughout the book, I could not find any ingredient that wasn't readily available at every grocery store. I also liked that many areas had a little `more information'. Sections like `How to buy fresh fish' or `what is organic food' or even `the trouble with buying scallops'. These areas help the beginner, and sometime the more seasoned cook learn something new for their kitchen. The book did not break my cardinal-rule, and keep all recipes on one or opposite pages. The evening I met Mr. Allen, I also had the opportunity to try several recipes from his book including Fennel Salad with Shrimp & Baby Arugula Fresh Orange Vinaigrette, the Halibut Braised with White Wine & Mushrooms, and the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs. The fennel in the salad was light in flavor but added a refreshing taste to the salad that was filled with the arugula, red onions, olives and blood oranges and perfectly cooked shrimp. The finishing flavors offered a nice peppery after-taste. The halibut was very tender that separated with my fork but I didn't think the sauce had a lot of flavor. The Braised short ribs were incredibly tender with meat that just fell apart with flavors that burst on my taste buds and lingered in my mouth.
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Format: Paperback
From someone who is somewhat behind the cooking curve, this book makes it all look so simple and fun. Complete with colorful photos and full of useful tips on cooking in general.

Great buy for anyone who loves to cook, or wants to learn more about it!
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Format: Paperback
I discovered this book while waiting for my car to be washed. The local full service has a select few titles and I picked this up. My wife and I own 38 cookbooks and have/do subscribe to 3 cooking magazines. We have three close friends who also cook and with whom we go out to eat often. During hurricane Ike I decided to try a recipe from this book and all of us were amazed by the complexity of exquisite flavors derived from a basically straight forward recipe.

We have not gone out to eat for a month as I have made it my mission to try every recipe in this book. So far I have tried 48 of the more than 100 recipes with our same core group of friends and have not been disappointed by any of them. Every recipe is worth the effort. If you want, start with the lamb burgers followed by the spatchcocked chicken as we did. Or simply close your eyes and pick. This is by far the best cookbook I have ever owned.

If you want pictures, buy a magazine. If you want a textbook, buy the CIA's cookbook. If you really want great flavors married together in ways you have likely never done at home, buy this book. Sure, somethings are not explained well; there is no revealing of the total prep/cook time, and some of the recipes are involved, but my friends have each bought this book now and agree that we have not had a bad meal yet. And I'm writing this review before I send a copy of it to my brother.

This cookbook is manageable and well designed. My wife and I also own Cooking Illustrated's Best Recipes. Many of Ted Allen's techniques are consistent with what they have tested and found to be the best. This book is truly a masterpiece and you will not be dissappointed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a great cook, and you've cooked for 20 years and can whip up a gourmet meal with your eyes closed in the middle of a tornado with only one spatula and a rabbit ...this is not the book for you.
It is, however, a GREAT book for a beginner cook--like my son who will graduate from college this year and probably starve for not knowing how to cook the kinds of meals he gets at home.
Allen does not try to impress or intimidate: he tries to make it easy. He tries to make it taste good. This is not Betty Crocker-dull basics, this is the next step up.
Yep, this will be a graduation gift for sure.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, I should say I had no idea who Allen was before I purchased this cookbook a few months ago. I bought it based on two recipes of Ted Allen's I saw in Food & Wine Magazine, both of which were quite good, and both of which appear in this cookbook.

Allen's approach to cooking is a bit fussier than I normally like, and I don't know if you could call it "simple". For example, when salting both sides of meat, Allen suggests putting parchment paper down on a large cookie sheet, placing the meat on the paper, mixing up salt and pepper in a small bowl, and then sprinkling that mixture over both sides of the meat. That's just unnecessarily complicated. After trying several recipes I streamlined the directions beforehand, and it worked great on the Pasta en Brodo recipe.

Many recipes are more complicated than what I usually cook for a weeknight dinner. My personal guideline on a "simple" recipe is that anything which takes more than 30 minutes to prep and finish (not including cooking time) is not simple. Since many recipes in the book take a bit of skill, I don't know why there were so many beginner basics included, such as explaining how to cook certain meats. The tips were easy to understand and helpful, but they seemed out of place compared to the recipes themselves.

Also, a few of Allen's recipes just haven't turned out well for me. The two vinaigrettes I attempted were completely inedible. A couple of the recipes were more a list of ideas than recipes, especially in the salad section.

My final nitpicky complaint is that I wish there had been conversions for dried herbs. The recipes all use fresh herbs, which is nice when you can get them, but as you know that's not always possible.
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