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Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals Paperback – April 5, 2011
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"His books make me want to sit down and eat."―Andrew Scalvani, New York Times
"...his take on "the good life" of gardening and eating close to the earth is so common-sense, so relaxed, that kitchen nerves don't intrude."―Orlando Weekly
"His enthusiasm and love of life are infectious."―Seattle Times
About the Author
Jamie Oliver grew up in his parents' country pub, the Cricketers in Clavering, where he started cooking at the age of eight, before studying at London's Westminster Catering College. He then went on to work with some of the top chefs in England namely Antonio Carluccio at the Neal Street Restaurant and Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers at the River Café. The author of such popular titles as The Naked Chef, Jamie's Kitchen, and Jamie's Italy, among others, he has written for the Saturday Times, served as Food Editor at GQ and Marie Claire magazines, and hosted the popular television show The Naked Chef. He is thirty-three and lives in London with his wife Jools and their daughters, Poppy and Daisy.
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* TONS of photos. Every single recipe has photos, both of the finished dish and of the preparation. Yay!
* He doesn't just give you the recipe (add 2 onions, chopped). He walks you though the process (Chop two onions and set aside). So you can usually cook as you read the recipe.
* He tells you what to serve with the recipes, and the recipes for suggested sides are in the book. Yay!
* Many of the recipes can be easily adapted for allergen-free cooking. My husband is senstive to gluten, corn, dairy, honey, legumes, and some nuts. That's a long list, and I was still able to adapt several recipes.
* He offers recipes for all meals: breakfast food, lunch food, suppers, desserts. You could use this as your only cookbook.
* The dessert section is amazing. We generally don't eat dessert in our house...at all. I think sugar makes you want more sugar, and it's a nasty cycle. But these desserts, while clearly luscious, include a lot of healthier stuff in the preparation, like fruit and oats. And the photos depict appropriate serving sizes. They look very elegant. I'm glad I'll have something wholesome to serve when company visits.
The not so good:
* There isn't any nutrition data for the recipes
* Some of the recipes, while simple, can take some real time to prepare (fine by me, but I'm not trying to whip together dinner in a frenzy when I get home from work)
* Many of the recipes serve 2 people. Which is fine, but it took me some time to adapt. I've purchased ingredients for a recipe only to realize later that I didn't get enough.
In the end, the recipes are quite good. These are not recipes that will show up in Gourmet magazine. And they won't all make the list of the world's healthiest foods either. There are several comfort food recipes...spaghetti, stew, cheesy pastas, roasts. But overall, I'm pleased. Even experienced cooks will be able to find some things of interest here. And this is an awesome collection for someone trying to transition to real food from a diet full of McDonald's and pizza rolls.
Update: I've cooked several more recipes from this book since I wrote this review, and I am growing more and more pleased. At first I blew off some of the recipes; I thought I didn't need another recipe for roasted chicken. But I made it, and it's great. I have cooked many recipes from the book now, and so far nothing has flopped. This is the only cookbook I own that I can say that about.
Update #2: I'm still cooking from the book all the time. I'm a complete convert. I've purchased copies for other family members now...even for my total foodie of a father-in-law. We are all fans, and the majority of my everyday recipes now come from Jamie Oliver. Everyone knows I'm a Jamie Oliver fanatic now, so when people like something I cook they don't ask, "Where did you get the recipe?" They ask, "Is this from Jamie Oliver?" I've become a proselytizer for the book. And still, after all this time, nothing has flopped.
It really has changed my cooking for the better. Because of this book, I've learned how to make homemade salad dressings in seconds, whip up a quick and fresh curry, and throw together a cheap and rich pasta sauce.
Jamie Oliver's writing style reflects how you really cook. No asking for 2 tablespoon of oil--he just tells you to pour a "glug" of olive oil in the pan. Cooking is rarely that precise about measurements anyway, unless it involves baking.
Cheap is key here: I can cook an complete, Sunday-type dinner for less than $5 per person (and usually less). It sure beats fast food for cost, taste, and nutrition. Good stuff.
The biggest challenge when it comes to changing your diet is learning how to cook and finding recipes that you like. I went on Amazon looking for healthy cookbooks and since it was Jamie who motivated me into really taking these steps, I figured I would see if he had any cookbooks. When I saw that there was a Food Revolution cookbook....well, I couldn't push the one click buy button fast enough. To say I was impressed is a massive understatement.
First and foremost the cookbook is really beautiful as the photography is very well done. The pictures have a very unique quality to them and all of the food looks very appetizing. I am a photographer so I found this aspect of the cookbook very pleasing. Basically this cookbook is absolutely perfect for beginners which makes perfect sense considering what the Food Revolution is all about. Well, Jamie really does an outstanding job in this regard. I cant imagine anyone having a hard time with this cookbook, even the people that are literally cooking their first meal. Its just laid out perfectly and the directions are top notch. Another aspect of this cookbook that I love is that there is a little bit of everything in here. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Desert...its all in here. That makes it just that much more perfect for beginners as this is really the only book that a beginner would need.
I have now been cooking out of this book for 12+ months and have made 90% of the recipes in this book. With that being said, I haven't come across a recipe yet that I didn't really enjoy and all of the recipes were extremely easy to make. Again, that makes perfect sense considering what the Food Revolution is all about. Basically this cookbook is a perfect companion to the TV show. Everything that Jamie is trying to do has this cookbook written all over it. Its just a perfect starting point for eating healthy, home cooked meals.
I couldn't possibly give Jamie, his TV show, or this cookbook any higher recommendation. Its a class act cookbook written by a class act man.
Vive le Revolution!