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Lost Recipes: Meals to Share with Friends and Family Hardcover – October 14, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Marion Cunningham, editor of the revised The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, is also the author of The Supper Book and The Breakfast Book, two gems of American home-style cooking. This simple but delicious fare is once again onstage in Lost Recipes, a collection of almost 150 easy formulas for largely forgotten American classics. These recipes, which include the likes of Chicken and Dumpling Soup, Fresh Tomato Gratin Stew, and Salmon or Tuna Loaf might, in other hands, seem dated; here, they're just what the doctor ordered. Why? Cunningham has devised exemplary versions, which eschew bastardizations like convenience ingredients that have compromised--or replaced--the originals over time. (Her creamed corn, for example, requires fresh corn and real cream.)

Among the soup-to-nuts chapters, "Yesterday’s Side Dishes--Today's Vegetarian Centerpiece," scores with main-dishes like First-Prize Onion Casserole and Welsh Rarebit. "Real Salads and Dandy Dressings" offers equally revivable fare like Brown Derby Cobb Salad and Green Goddess Dressing, while chapters on breads and sweets present the "nostalgic" likes of Monkey Bread, Lazy Daisy Cake, and Dainty Pralines. (Readers should know that other versions of some recipes have appeared in previous Cunningham works.) Illustrated, and with pithy excerpts on food and dining from writers ranging from Brillat-Savarin to Eric Schlosser, the book is another Cunningham treasure. --Arthur Boehm

From the Inside Flap

From: Marion Cunningham
To: The American home cook
Subject (URGENT): The family table
We need to lure our families, friends, and neighbors back to the table, to sit down and eat together. It is important that we be in charge again of our cooking, working with fresh, unadulterated ingredients. Enclosed you will find many simple-to-make, good-tasting, inexpensive dishes from the past that taste better than ever today. I urge you to try them.
- Good soups--satisfying one-dish meals that can be made ahead
- Dishes that can be made with what's on hand--First-Prize Onion Casserole, Shepherd's Pie, Salmon or Tuna Loaf
- Vegetables baked and ready for the table
- "Real salads, substantial enough for lunch or supper, with snappy dressings
- Breads and cookies, puddings and cakes that you loved as a child
PS: There is nothing like the satisfaction of sharing with others something you have cooked yourself

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375411984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375411984
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L Goodman-Malamuth VINE VOICE on November 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Did I need this book? Well, I thought I might have done without it--until it arrived and I took it for a spin around the kitchen.
After reading "Lost Recipes," I was agog with renewed respect for Marion Cunningham. She is a woman with a mission--to encourage friends and families to sit down and share a meal, a simple one easily as satisfying (or even more so) as one calculated to impress. Her accessible presentation of the recipes in this book may well persuade even the most food-prep-averse to try out her dishes assembled from ingredients that are almost always more economical to purchase than to resort to mundane restaurant or take-out fare.
Virtually all of the recipes can be prepared with pantry staples or supplies from most any grocery store. If these dishes can't be put together in one go (or if the cook prefers not to), Cunningham offers succinct instructions on how to proceed in simple stages. There are a number of completely do-ahead offerings, and there's much to please vegetarians as well as those who choose not to combine meat and dairy, with a few easy and obvious substitutions.
The art director of "Lost Recipes" merits five stars as well. Layout and illustrations are gorgeous, and the book has an unusual, and most welcome, feature: a front cover that allows the brand-new book to lie flat, as well as providing a roomy pocket to accommodate jotted notes, clippings from newspapers and magazines, and other info that is likely to be lost rather than to be found and followed.
Cunningham enhances her text with relevant quotes on dining ranging from Brillat-Savarin to contemporary writers, many of which are unfamiliar even to rabid cookbook collectors. And as the holidays draw near, it's worth noting that this book is quite reasonably priced.
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By A Customer on December 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a mother of two small children, I fancied myself too busy to cook "every night." Then one day I realized that, in a world of macaroni & cheese, frozen vegetables, and takeout cuisine of all varieties, I was NEVER cooking at home, unless it was a big, formal "dinner." Marion Cunningham has inspired me to rethink "supper" for my family--I have rediscovered the ease of baked chicken and vegetables, and I make fried rice instead of another night of Chinese takeout. Many of these recipes involve easy preparation that can be done earlier in the day, so at dinnertime it is just a matter of popping something in the oven or cooking it on the stove. The ingredient lists are simple (all things you can actually find at your local supermarket!), but the flavors are wonderful. There is no attempt to cut fat or carbohydrates, but then again, you also aren't adding excess sodium and preservatives to your diet.
If you are new to cooking, I also recommend "Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham," which has many easy recipes that will impress your friends who are also new cooks! Either book would be a great graduation or wedding gift.
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By A Customer on May 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Faulting this cookbook for not being as comprehensive as the Fannie Farmer Cookbook is like faulting a vegetarian cookbook for not including a section on pork chops. What Mrs. Cunningham sets out to do here, and what she accomplishes so well, is set forth a group of quickie recipes that don't taste like shortcuts. She is presenting an alternative to calling for pizza or stopping at Boston Market for supper. And believe it or not, she's on the mark. The first recipe I tried (Ozark Pudding) was so quick to prepare I found myself re-reading the recipe while the pudding was in the oven. I wanted to make sure I hadn't skipped a step. I hadn't, and a half hour later, I had a terrific, warm, home-made dessert. Next I tried her Welsh Rarebit recipe. Again I was concerned that the recipe sounded a little too basic to turn out very well. But honestly, in the time it would take to mix up a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, I'd prepared a lovely hot meal that even my 13 year old approved of.
I think this book would make a lovely gift for a new bride, a college graduate or anyone that has the best intentions about trying to call for take-out food just a little less. I agree with the criticisms here about the binding on this one. While the inside pocket to store your own recipes is a cute idea, a spiral bound book would work better in the kitchen. But that doesn't stop me from giving this book 5 stars. I really think you'll love it!
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Format: Hardcover
When I received this book, I greatly enjoyed simply reading through it . . . the inserts about the value of simple family cooking were truly inspirational.
Then I settled down to actually try out the recipes, and was delighted with every one that I tried! Even better, I found that the book is a virtual compendium of my family's "favorite dishes" . . . recipes that I had gradually searched out or serendipitously discovered by trial and error from a huge collection of cookbooks over the past several years. What a lot of trouble it would have saved had I simply ordered this cookbook in the first place!
(Chicken and dumplings, Salad Nicoise, Corn pudding, New England Boiled Dinner, Monkey Bread, Strawberry Shortcake with a biscuit-type base . . . the list of simple, down-home style recipes goes on and on.)
The book also includes very useful, concise advice for such things as cutting up a whole chicken or freezing bones for making homemade broth. It gives good ideas for ingredient substitutions according to what you have on hand or what is in season, and even helps you figure out what to do with specific sauces, chutneys, and side dishes once you have made them . . . what to serve them with, for example.
For me, this book is a winner! However, I will have to agree with the reviewers who have complained about the odd physical format of the book. It is definitely not built to stand up well over long-term use. How unfortunate.
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