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Jamie's Dinners: The Essential Family Cookbook Hardcover – November 3, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Naked Chef grows up: Oliver, the ebullient British lad who enchanted the Friends generation of Food Network viewers, turns his focus from throwing impromptu dinner parties to cooking family meals and school lunches. As always, the emphasis is on tasty food that anyone can prepare—and the book's best sections are devoted to simple fare such as sandwiches and pasta, where Oliver brings new life to staples like grilled cheese, with his Double-Decker Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Potato Chips. The chef romps through shopping, kitchen tools, basic ingredients and core dishes, tying together his 120 recipes with the family-friendly theme of value for money. Readers already weary of Oliver's chipper British persona—the enthusiastic descriptions of everything from poached chicken to herb-infused salad as "genius" or "brilliant," the exhortations to eat more "veg," another "best" sausage and mash recipe—will not be won over by this fifth addition to the Oliver shelf. The extravagant package, which includes mouth-watering food shots, hand-drawn graphics and bright color text spreads, seems to include more photos of the chef and his family—photogenic wife Jools and children Poppy and Daisy—than of the dishes. But those who continue to be seduced by Oliver's infectious love of food and his cheerful narcissism will eagerly queue up at the cash register with a copy in hand.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"...recipes to make Sunday nights at home with the kids the culinary equivalent of date night without them." -- New York Times

"Jamie's Dinners . . . is about making tasty, nutritious meals that are affordable, easy and time-efficient." -- BookPage

"The Naked Chef has grown up, and the result is delicious." -- The Patriot Ledger
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 10.4.2004 edition (November 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401301940
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401301941
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jamie Oliver writes cookbooks I look forward to reading and this fifth volume from the Anglo wunderkind chef fully satisfies my expectations.

Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Paula Wolfert, James Beard, and Diana Kennedy write great cookbooks from which I always learn something. Thus, it is always rewarding to read works from these writers. But, Jamie Oliver's books belong to a very select few which are not only educational, they actively make you want to put down the book and go to the kitchen and start cooking. The select group of writers who can do that for me is lead by Jacques Pepin and has recently been joined by Tony Bourdain along with Peter Reinhart, Chris Schlesinger, and his nibs, Jamie Oliver. Even my culinary idols Mario Batali and Alton Brown can't evoke my passion for cooking as well as Messers Pepin and Oliver.

Appropriate to this grouping of writers, Oliver's latest effort, `Jamie's Dinners, The Essential Family Cookbook' is a perfect companion to Jacques Pepin's latest work, `Fast Cooking My Way'. Both books highlight the way the two chefs cook at home, with the focus being as much on simplicity and readily available ingredients as on speed. As I rarely cook with the intention of being done quickly, but I do appreciate a simple dish with high rewards on the palate, Oliver's book promises AND delivers on exactly the kind of book I like to go to on a regular basis, just like Jacques' work.

The theme of Jamie's last book was wrapped around his effort to train 15 deserving unemployed young people and staff a restaurant, `15' with his graduates. This book is based on a similar socially active theme of improving school lunch meals. Jamie states that he has been doing a documentary on school food programs and how they may be improved.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a big JO fan, and ordered this book from the amazon.co.uk site, so I've had it for a few weeks now. This is, by far, Jamie's best cookbook to date - the recipes are easy and nutritious without being too "out there" with weird ingredients (ie the beet cake in last book - yuck), there's a large section on how to make tasty foods that kids will eat, fantastic ideas for packed lunches... I'm very happy with this book. Three cheers to Jamie for giving us a cookbook that's actually USEFUL!!
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Format: Hardcover
this cookbook is the best for home cooks who are passionate about cooking and food, but also need to be thoughtful, realistic and economical in feeding their families. there are a lot of wonderful recipes in here, but the best chapter for me is called "Family Tree," which gives you a homemade ingredient that you can make a lot of, like Jamie's simple but excellent tomato sauce, and then work into several meals over the course of a week or so. The way Jamie writes, and even the way he uses approximate measures, like a "handful of basil", encourages the home cook to have more confidence, imagination and fun in the kitchen. A complete beginner may need a book with more exact instructions, but for someone a bit comfortable and practiced, this book can really recharge the way you make everyday meals. i'm grateful to have it in my kitchen!
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Format: Hardcover
I wasn't sure about getting this cookbook, but WOW is my stomach grateful that I did! Straight off, being that fish and chips are my favorite, I tried his "Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas"...minus the mushy peas...(they scared me a bit, being with mint?!?! and all)...it was deluxe, restaurant-ish, lick-your-fingers-and-enjoy-your-guests-praise-nonstop-throughout-the-whole-meal-GOOD! I tried lots of fish and chips recipes before by hoo-ha chefs, all over-complicated, disappointing messy and not-tasty muck, but this one by Jamie was SIMPLE (3 ingredients for the batter) and tasted like perfection! (p.s-try it with a tartar sauce with mayo, mustard, lemon-juice, pickles, onions and a freshly crushed garlic clove...Y-U-M)

After trying the fish, I had a drive to try out some of the others so I tried his "Roast chicken with lemon and rosemary roast potatoes". Now... I make a great variety of roasted chicken dishes, complicated and simple, all BIG hits, and I really thought there was nothing new in the roasted chicken world, until this!!! Wow! My husband and I gorged the whole dish ALONE while quickly abandoning the fork and knife for our hands, licking our fingers every trip to the mouth! The recipe includes stuffing the chicken with garlic cloves and a pierced boiled lemon oozing it's juice...OH MY...speechless is the word! I recommend to eat this dish alone or with the hubby/wife, because it's too good to share with guests! It's our new favorite chicken roast (p.s-stick with fresh herbs, you'll taste the amazing difference!)

After two amazing triumphs with Jamie, I went on to "The ultimate burger and chips". Had it with the hubby and a friend. This burger should have been on that show Oprah had, where her friend explored the top 50 burgers to eat before you die! B-L-I-S-S!
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Format: Hardcover
I like this cookbook a lot. It's full of recipes I'll actually be able get my family to eat. The recipes call for ingredients I already have in my cupboard or refrigerator. The recipes don't use fatty or over-processed foods (like cheese and sausages) as main ingredients -- and the recipes that DO call for such foods can 'swim' without them. He gives hints that I can choose to use or not. There are a lot of fish, beef, and vegetable recipes... with fun, colorful ideas. And his recipes are fun to read! These are all attractive options for my family because I have to avoid using corn derivatives, which are in every food item that's been packaged in a US plant... so it's nice to finally find a cookbook that sticks to wholesome, unprocessed ingredients that food allergy sufferers can work with.
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