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Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures: Recipes and Stories Hardcover – October 1, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Amazon.com Review

How, you might ask, can there be any rationale for combining Mexican, Moroccan, French, Thai, and Oklahoma down-home recipes in one cookbook? The answer is family. The Rick Bayless family in this case, he of the PBS cookings, of Chicago's Frontera Grill fame, and author of the enlightening Authentic Mexican, Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, and Mexico One Plate at a Time.

Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures is the combined kitchen and culinary wisdom of a father/chef and daughter/teenager who has grown up in restaurants (much as her dad grew up in a barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma) and has traveled with her parents throughout the world, meeting chefs, exploring markets, tasting exotic treats. Some of those treats were rejected in ways only children can reject foods. Others came home and were folded into the foods a family calls its own and serves again and again. So, the first thing to keep in mind about Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures is that it is family-tested as well as home kitchen tested.

There are two voices in this book: Rick's (a modulated voice of authority) and Lanie's (the teenage voice of reality). And there are five basic sections that reflect the travels and broad culinary interests of the Bayless Family: Mexico, France, Morocco, Thailand, and Oklahoma. You'll find Huevos Rancheros in Mexico and Dutch Babies in France; Chicken Pie in Oklahoma, and Beef or Lamb Kebabs in Morocco. The Red Curry with Duck (Pork or Chicken) brought home from Thailand looks like a winner. These are do-together recipes, as in work together in the kitchen. Bayless sets apart the do-ahead tasks, then presents the recipe instruction in simple blocks. This dance has been well-choreographed. And what's a dance without a little music. You'll find suggestions for playlists while cooking, as well as suggestions for special treats to find while you are shopping in ethnic markets, things you might otherwise overlook. And then there are the stories. You can taste this cooking experience, and you can read about the life experience, through both the father's and the daughter's lens, of traveling and cooking together. It's the together part that makes this cookbook so special and so encouraging. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Of the myriad lessons to be found here, the most resounding is this: to be the teenage daughter of an internationally known chef is a very good thing. Proud papa Bayless takes his family to Mexico, the land that launched his culinary success via cookbooks (Mexico: One Plate at a Time, etc.) and a PBS series; to his Oklahoma barbecuing roots; and farther afield, to France, Morocco and Thailand. Both writers prepare each recipe, though rarely together, and commentary from the two highlights the pleasures of cooking from the opposite perspectives of seasoned master and joyful rookie. W.C. Fields disliked performing with children for fear of being upstaged, and Mr. Bayless might be wise to take heed. His travelogues are at best ho-hum next to Lanie's, which brim with brutal honesty. "Morocco is a spectacle of wind-swept deserts," he proclaims, while for Lanie, "It was kind of like everywhere else we visited. Except that you had to wash your hands in front of everyone." Recipes for Kebabs and Paella arise from this trip. In Thailand it's Red Curry with Duck and Street Vendor Pad Thai. Dad and daughter tackle Red Mole with Chicken in Oaxaca, assuring readers that multiple ingredients don't always make for a complex challenge. "I really don't know what the big deal is," says Lanie. Photos.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; First Edition edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584793317
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584793311
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on November 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mix family dynamics, personality, food, and travel, and dish up an entertaining, humorous and, yes, useful father/daughter cookbook venture. Rick, chef/owner of the Mexican restaurant, Frontero, and his daughter, Lanie, 13 (younger when they began the project), eat and cook their way from Mexico to Thailand, by way of Oklahoma, France and Morocco, with side trips to Spain, Japan and Hong Kong. The occasions are family vacations or celebrations and the cooking is done in relaxed settings with friends. Each chapter begins with essays by each of them describing the travel and food experience, from shopping and cooking to bad roads and old memories. Rick's tend to be more rhapsodic and reminiscent; Lanie's are sassy, direct, and funny. Each chapter also includes "five cool CDs" to play while cooking, like Johnny Cash for barbeque and Kahled for Moroccan food.

Each attractively designed, well-organized recipe starts with a brief intro from both authors. Rick's include cultural background and cooking tips; Lanie's are conversational and opinionated. For example, Rick describes choosing exactly the right peppers and accompaniments to a tapas of Spanish Ham Salad. And Lanie says: "This tastes exactly like an Italian sub without the bread."

It's a teaching book with "do this first" boxes included in each recipe and thorough step-by-step directions. Lanie (who likes steak tartare but isn't crazy about raw tomatoes) often describes the experience of cooking, the taste sensations, and her personal ratings.
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Format: Hardcover
`Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures' by Rick Bayless and his daughter is the third kids oriented cookbook I have reviewed and I am very pleased that I gave the earlier two books by Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray only four stars, as this volume by Bayless and daughter has really shown us how such a book should be done.

To be sure, Bayless and daughter have done the book where the child is a mid-teenaged daughter who has been around the cooking all her life of a world-class teaching chef. Therefore, the book does not address all the important safety issues involved when you put kids into the most dangerous room in the house. But, this is definitely a book with which a cooking minded teenager could connect. That is, if the kid is a good reader, this is the book you want to give them.

The book is made doubly interesting in that the Bayless family are great travelers and have a long and interesting history of family in the food service industry. This sets up one of the two main themes of the book by setting each chapter in a different location around the world, some of which are very familiar to the Bayless clan and some of which are being seen for the first time.

The five venues are a combination of the obvious and the unexpected. The first is (big surprise) a trip to the southern highlands of Mexico and the Oaxaca valley which is one of Bayless' favorite parts of his favorite country. This chapter is spiced up by a side trip to Peru and an essay in ceviche recipes. The second location, small town Oklahoma may be a big surprise to most of us until Bayless tells us the story of his parents who ran a very successful barbecue restaurant in Capitol Hill, Oklahoma.
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Format: Hardcover
How many kids get to grow up, travel and publish a cookbook? We the purchasers get to enjoy this achievement.

Famous Mexican chef Rick Bayless teams up with his teenage daughter Lanie to provide a 230 page beauty filled with their trips to Peru, Oklahoma, Mexico, Morocco, Thailand and France. In each destination they each relate their highlights and lowlights of the trip. Lanie's are so cool, e.g. "Eating in Peru basically means eating potatoes ... my dad bought two of EACH One, 'Research,' he kinda barked at me--I mean all I did was ask politely WHAT he was doing. He didn't even seem to care that it took an hour."

This is getting some great cooking basics, plus intro to this family's favorite recipes, and exposure to other culture's culinary creations. Both Rick and Lanie comment on each, so you get both perspectives: gourmet chef and teenage daughter. There are sidebars which provide great tips and even suggests for CD listening as well as what to buy when in a Mexican grocery, how to grow three popular herbs indoors. Great, unique, well thought out fun stuff to read and cook with. There is also a limited mail-order source listing for ingredients, music and cooking supplies.

Some great recipes which most family will dig into include: Lime Zest Ice Cream with Mexican Caramel; Vegetarian [or not] Soft Tacos with Guacamole; The World's Greatest Chili; Grilled Pizza with Goat Cheese, Green Salsa and Bacon; Chinese Potsticker Dumplings; Moroccan Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

All this done beautifully with prose and great photos and layout. Fine addition to one's own collection and/or for giving.
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