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Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why Hardcover – March 16, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Processed and convenience foods and shortcut cooking methods have become so entrenched in our culinary culture, it’s easy to forget just how much we have forgotten about real cooking. But cooking instructor Darina Allen knows all too well. More and more of her students arrive having never cooked so much as an egg, or needing lessons in remedial onion chopping. She remembers one student who thought she’d ruined a bowl of heavy cream because she’d whipped it too much. She thought the clumps and clots in the bowl meant it was bad. “I said, ‘Stop! Don’t throw it out!’ ” says Allen, author of Forgotten Skills of Cooking. “I said, ‘You’ve made butter!’ She was completely fascinated.” (Michele Kayal Associated Press, 7/3/2014)

From the Publisher

Winner of the Andre Simon Food Awards Best Food Book of 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Books (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906868069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906868062
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alcee Arobin VINE VOICE on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is an amazing tome of culinary secrets that I've been in love with ever since it arrived. First of all, the quality of the book itself is top notch. It's a rough textured hardback sans paper flap cover. Darina Allen is drawing comparisons to Julia Child, and that marketing pitch seems to have translated into the layout of the pages. They are glossy and in the exact style of every cookbook of Julia's that I own. It reminds me in particular of The Way to Cook, Julia's master class, which was uncustomarily accompanied with ample photos.

Admittedly, there are things in Forgotten Skills that I'll never venture to try, such as the tripe on page 184, or the brawn on page 320. I'm not exactly tempted by the recipe for beef dripping on toast on page 177. But there are plenty of examples of recipes that are staples in many of our kitchens, reimagined from a fresh, farmy (to invent an adjective) perspective, such as beef stew (pp. 163), quiche Lorraine (pp. 250), and a delicious bacon and cheddar cheese strata that you absolutely must try (pp. 579). It seems like we've skipped spring altogether this year and headed straight into summer. In this current heat, I can't wait to try the recipe for Ballymaloe vanilla ice cream (no ice cream maker required!) on page 207. The simplicity reminds me of how my grandmother used to wait for a second snow, and then set out a large metal bowl to collect enough flakes to add in condensed milk, and, voila!, delicious ice cream.

Don't be discouraged by the opening chapter, which addresses various edible flowers, herbs, and weeds that you can scavenge and prepare in various dishes. Those recipes set the tone for the rest of the book, but in no way define it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had a ball reading this book. I love the history. I love the simple cooking skills taught in it. I love the recipes. I love reading about the Irish culture. There are exotic ingredients from the shores of the sea that I would never think of as cooking ingredients. But there they are, as exotic as anything in a Japanese restaurant. There are techniques for using over the hill ingredients. There are recipes for all sorts of leftover things you might throw away. I've made all the quick breads now - they are simple and excellent. I've made a few of the desserts, simple and excellent. Seafood recipes teach you cooking techniques and how to treat fresh ingredients. You can make your butter from scratch! If you are interested in the world and traditions of cooking, not just the recipes, this is a valuable addition to your culinary library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am still in shock that such a comprehensive, fantastic book exists. If I were to only have one cookbook on my shelf- this would be it.

Nourishing Traditions has been my favorite 'back to basics' cookbook up until now- and I still love it but this by far takes the cake. Like NT it contains several recipes involving herbs and foraged foods and fruits, and gives attention to foods like bone marrow that have long been left out of the modern cookbook. Not only does it contain a huge amount of recipes but it also has a nice aesthetic appeal with its hardcover, purple silk bookmark, glossy pages and beautiful photographs.

This book also gives homesteading tips without going into ridiculous detail- like how to care for chickens, how to smoke food, how to forage, how to clean a fish, diagrams of the cuts of meats of different animals, how to make beer.

And on top of it all- there are short entertaining stories about the author's childhood- mistakes made while cooking and the sometimes delicious surprises that resulted from those mistakes.

Any book that has recipes for dandelion wine and nettle soup has my vote but this goes above and beyond anything I could have dreamed up.
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Format: Hardcover
Darina Allen is perhaps not as well known on this side of the pond as Gordon Ramsey (pushing for the use of more fresh, local ingredients in restaurants), Jaime Oliver (great success in moving British schools towards a more healthful school lunch menu, now here in the US working towards the same goal) or Prince Charles (highly involved in the organic/slow food movement in the UK) but she should be.

Darina, called by some "The Irish Julia Child", has been running a cooking school in Ireland for some twenty five years. This book is the product of those lessons, imparting kitchen wisdom and food lore that our generation imbibed with our mother's milk along with the oft-repeated "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!" - wisdom that has disappeared under the onslaught of prepackaged, pre-prepared "food."

Darina and I are of an age. About the time that she started her cooking school I stood in my kitchen one day baking a cake. A young mother from the neighborhood dropped by as I mixed and asked what I was doing. "Baking a cake," I replied. My neighbor looked all around the kitchen, then asked again "What are you doing?" - and again I replied "Baking a cake." This time the young woman examined every nook and cranny, even looking into the trash bin, and then in great frustration practically shouted at me "Tell me what you are doing!" When I again replied that I was baking a cake this young woman said to me "You can't be baking a cake. There is no box!"

Darina's inspiration for her Forgotten Skills classes, which have resulted in this book, was a bit different. She recounts the time she caught a student preparing to dump overbeaten cream into the pig slops instead of simply turning it into butter.
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