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It's About Time: Great Recipes for Everyday Life Hardcover – April 19, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The reference to time in this work's title has multiple meanings for Schlow, executive chef of Boston's Radius. The author divides his book into eight "times," or moods: Chapter Two, for example, is titled "Time to Get the Family Together," while Chapter Seven, "Time to Look Like a Pro," teaches readers how to pull off dishes that look as if they require far more time to prepare than they actually do (e.g., Tomato Confit). The foods benefit from Schlow's substantial experience in both French and Italian cooking, although the range of cuisines he covers is wide, as the chapter on barbecue attests. Schlow is invested in handing over the reins in the kitchen to readers, not basking in his own glory (he was a James Beard Award winner in his first year of eligibility), so a fair number of the recipes knowingly cater to cooks who are not CIA-trained. Schlow also uses "time" quite specifically; he advocates slow cooking for certain dishes. Slow Roasted Salmon with Cabbage, Bacon and Dill, for example, is cooked in a 250-degree oven. Not all of Schlow's recipes pertain to his subtitle; his Hamachi Tartare with Warm Scallion Compote and Caviar hardly seems like an "everyday life" kind of concoction, but his jazzy, engaging humor may encourage curious readers to attempt his more difficult creations. (Apr. 19)
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Amazon Editors' Pick - Top 10 Cookbooks for 2005
"The recipes we tried in the test kitchen are every bit as good as they sound. . . . If you think you don't have time to cook, trying Schlow's techniques might prove revelatory, and provide you with some terrific dining as well." — Chicago Tribune
"Fun to read, instructive and easy to use. It's one of the best cookbooks of 2005. . . . Well indexed and attractively illustrated with photographs of the dishes. . . . A cookbook worth reading, and one worth using again and again." — The Valley News
"Michael Schlow is one of those rare professionals who can think like a home cook. . . . His hearty family food will bring me back to his book often." — New York Times Book Review
"A thoroughly engaging and useful cookbook that shows home cooks how easy great food can be. Schlow stresses the importance of planning ahead and using good ingredients. He offers tools and tricks, a boatload of foolproof recipes, funny stories and inspiring ideas." – Fine Cooking Magazine
"This big, beautiful book ranges from quick meals to elegant dinners, mixed with mini essays on the importance of family dinners and socializing at the table." – USA Today
"Chef Michael Schlow has written the perfect cookbook . . . Like Schlow's lauded cooking at Radius in Boston, this book is distinctively and deliciously his own." – Santé Magazine
"One of the warmest and most lovely cookbooks recently published." – Metro
“It’s About Time and I agree; this is Michael Schlow’s time. I have been an enthusiastic aficionado of Michael’s cooking for close to 20 years. From the Hamptons, to New York City, and to Boston, I will follow Michael wherever he goes. His understanding of the fundamentals of great cuisine have consistently delighted my palate.” —Billy Joel
“In IT’S ABOUT TIME, Michael Schlow has created a very personal cookbook with original ideas well formulated for the home cook. The result is a serious book that is also fun.” —Jacques Pépin
“Most of us would like to eat well, but feel we just don’t have enough time. We assume that because we’re so busy, then we have to grab something on the fly. This book sets out not only to teach you how to cook and eat well when you’re on the go, it also works in reverse for when your soul is crying out for a little bit of culinary therapy. . . . The chapters in this book are meant to be a guide or source of inspiration for whatever you’re in need of today. I know it’s impossible to dedicate the same amount of time, every single day, to the meal period. I’m guessing you need some variety, you need some flexibility, and of course you need me to understand that you are busy most (but not all) of the time.” – Michael Schlow (from the introduction)
“Time is so often the most important factor in determining what one cooks, nay, even whether one cooks at all. Time is equal for all: no one has enough of it, and while there is constant pressure to get by with less, we all need to remember to make more. . . . Time is why people will buy this book. It is the reason they will find themselves cooking not only from it, but with it, through it, and because of it.” – Mario Batali (from the foreword)
“Michael Schlow is my favorite chef and this book is just like he is – warm, funny, real, and brilliant in the kitchen.” – Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric
Top customer reviews
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I have picked quite a few recipes that I will try. The original one I tried was red wine braised brisket. I am going to cook it for my Mom on Mother's Day. If you like Italian food, you should add this to your cookbook collection!
For starters, the book does not follow through on its major promise as signaled by the title. The title and introduction suggest that this book will give us a totally new point of view on time and cooking, in somewhat the same way Alton Brown looked at all cooking methods as different ways of applying heat. Time is an only casually applied theme in that some of the chapters focus on dishes, which can be done either very quickly (within the familiar 30 minutes), or which take a very long time. In the absence of strongly positive qualities in other areas, failing to follow through on your major stated premise is usually a sure demotion from five to four stars.
As luck would have it, recently crowned best chef in the country (James Beard Awards, 2005) saves the day in his foreword when he points out the truly distinctive and unusual aspect of Schlow's cooking. Unlike restaurants around the world, including Mario's hot spots, Schlow uses a low heat oven, with 300 degrees Fahrenheit as his norm rather than the more usual home temperature of 350 degrees or the blistering inferno found in restaurant kitchens. I have often questioned Mario's love of blisteringly hot saute pans for many dishes especially for inexperienced cooks who can have the saute ingredients go from hot to charcoal in a heartbeat if you are not paying close attention to what you are doing. And, if you are inexperienced, you don't always know to what to pay attention! Thus, I am enthusiastic to see another well-credentialed advocate (along with Tom Colicchio) of moderate temperatures for various cooking techniques. Schlow does often use high saute temperatures and I agree that there are many cases where this is important, but with the promise of high success comes high risk. Happily, Schlow comes to the rescue near the end of the book when he says that you will simply not get dishes right the first time all the time. Something may always go wrong. But keep at it and learn from your mistakes.
Another area where Schlow violated one of my key criteria is in his very long cooking stock recipes. On the one hand, I have seen good books on home cooking techniques create very good stocks with about three (3) hours of cooking. I have also seen restaurant chefs call for ten to twelve hours of stock cooking. For home cooking, I definitely prefer the shorter times, but in this case, I will bow to chef Schlow's opinion, with reservations.
The thing that sells me on Schlow's recipes in general is the fact that they are exceptionally well written. I have found more good new cooking tips in this book than I have in the last several dozen I have reviewed. And this is without a single mistake that I can find. As I became more and more impressed at the care and level of detail applied to the cooking methods, without resorting to very many exotic ingredients, I discovered Schlow's inspiration to be the collaboration of Patricia Wells and Joel Robuchon on the book `Simply French', which I reviewed and found to be a true paradigm of a good restaurant cookbook. And, my reasons were the same as those cited by Schlow, in that Robuchon's attention to detail is better than any I have seen, with the possible exception of Thomas Keller.
The single best recommendation for this book for novice cooks is the same thing I like about Jamie Oliver's books. Both authors have a truly infectious enthusiasm for cooking and both are able to make that enthusiasm jump off the printed page and into your psyche. And, Schlow and his team have been able to do this without some of Oliver's misdirected typographical pyrotechnics on his printed pages. In fact, Schlow has had his photography done by Shimon & Tammar, the leading culinary photographic team in the business.
The very high quality of the recipe writing and the infectious enthusiasm are more than enough to overcome any objections to this book and its somewhat high price per recipe. This is really a super book for beginners. I would suggest this volume immediately after reading a good introductory text such as the Alton Brown opus cited above `I'm Just Here for the Food' or Anne Willan's `The Good Cook'.
If the recipes in this book were not of such a high quality or if I found some factual errors in this book, the organization of the chapters would annoy me, as they are organized by occasion rather than by major ingredient or course. In fact, this organization is the one aspect of the book which is consistent with the title and theme of time, in that the first chapter (`Time to Eat and Now') is about fast cooking and the last chapter is about spending the day in the kitchen (`Time to Celebrate'). But, if you need something to spark your creative cooking juices, this book will provide the inspiration.
The book also provides one last thing I expect in a professional chef's writing, which is some insight into professional cooking practice or the inspiration that brought the author to cooking. The book provides a little of both, with a glimpse at the kind of networking between leading chefs which makes the culinary world go around.
On a par with Colicchio and Stitt and Kinkead and O'Connell. Almost as good as Keller and Robuchon.
Most recent customer reviews
Chef Schlow's restaurant in Boston, Radius, is one of our favorite places to eat.Read more