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on November 2, 2007
First off, I should say I had no idea who Allen was before I purchased this cookbook a few months ago. I bought it based on two recipes of Ted Allen's I saw in Food & Wine Magazine, both of which were quite good, and both of which appear in this cookbook.

Allen's approach to cooking is a bit fussier than I normally like, and I don't know if you could call it "simple". For example, when salting both sides of meat, Allen suggests putting parchment paper down on a large cookie sheet, placing the meat on the paper, mixing up salt and pepper in a small bowl, and then sprinkling that mixture over both sides of the meat. That's just unnecessarily complicated. After trying several recipes I streamlined the directions beforehand, and it worked great on the Pasta en Brodo recipe.

Many recipes are more complicated than what I usually cook for a weeknight dinner. My personal guideline on a "simple" recipe is that anything which takes more than 30 minutes to prep and finish (not including cooking time) is not simple. Since many recipes in the book take a bit of skill, I don't know why there were so many beginner basics included, such as explaining how to cook certain meats. The tips were easy to understand and helpful, but they seemed out of place compared to the recipes themselves.

Also, a few of Allen's recipes just haven't turned out well for me. The two vinaigrettes I attempted were completely inedible. A couple of the recipes were more a list of ideas than recipes, especially in the salad section.

My final nitpicky complaint is that I wish there had been conversions for dried herbs. The recipes all use fresh herbs, which is nice when you can get them, but as you know that's not always possible.

Despite all that, the book gets some major props from me for several reasons. First is the plastic cover and the thicker, coated pages. Most of my cookbooks have covers that don't stand up to use in the kitchen, but this one will, and I love that. Second is the vegetable section, which has a lot more thought and care put into it than many other cookbooks where veggies are treated like an afterthought. The variations on recipes is a great touch as well, and I do like the focus on foods that are just a bit different than what you find in other cookbooks. Also, as superficial as this is, I love the color scheme.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for variety in their current cookbook collection.
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on January 14, 2018
Meh -- too many hard to find ingredients if you live in a small town, rural area, or like I do in a mid-size town in the deep South where the grocery stores cater to a more "down home" palate. Our groceries don't sell duck confit (which makes a regular appearance in this book), heck, they don't even sell duck and I don't hunt.
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on May 15, 2008
When my son was a college junior, he started to get interested in cooking, so when my brother asked for a gift idea for him, I suggested "Joy of Cooking." But instead he got him this, and he was so right. This was a better idea for a first cookbook, because rather than just recipes and information on how to cook them, tells the new cook how to LOOK AT cooking and being a good host. For example, he says something like, "I wrote basil in this recipe, but if you have parsley in the refrigerator, for heaven's sake, try that instead rather than running to the store for basil -- it will be fine, and maybe you will love your new creation better anyway."

Best of all is the way he starts the book with 10 basic recipes from different categories, like a "quick start" to cooking and entertaining. That was a great idea. Right out of the box, the new cook feels confident and able to entertain.

And by the way -- the recipes are really good! I've been cooking for many years, but I learned a few things from this book, too. A lot is very basic, but if you buy this for a gift for a novice and look through it first, I bet you'll find something you didn't already know.

For the next occasion, I bought my son "Joy of Cooking," and he loved it. I don't think he would have appreciated or understood it as well if he hadn't gotten this book first, which made him WANT to learn the information in "Joy" -- like learning to drive somewhere cool before learning how to change a tire or parallel park. "Joy" is of course a much better all-purpose kitchen reference, but I see now that it may well be better to start out with something that lets the new kid get started right away cooking delicious, exciting things so that s/he will be motivated to continue.
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on August 4, 2008
After several seasons of Ted Allen guest-judging on Top Chef I decided to give his cookbook a try. Initially a library loan, I fell so in love with the recipes that I bought my own copy. The recipes are fairly simple and taste divine; of the four that I've tried so far, I've enjoyed them all. I also like that wine pairings are included with the recipes as the appropriate wine can truly complete a meal.

While the publisher was smart to put a protective cover on the book (so you can bring it into the kitchen without fear), it's strange that the binding they use doesn't allow the book to lay flat (so keeping it open in the kitchen can be difficult). The pages are glossy and of good quality; pictures are at a minimum. All the necessary information for making the dishes (appropriate measures, et al) is present, and Allen includes great tips for when you're shopping for the components. The sections are divided by food type (meat, poulty, vegetables, etc.) which allow you to mix and match to your preference.

Though sufficient, I wish the index in the back were more detailed. For example, it would be helpful to know what dishes use rosemary when I'm left with a bushel of it after making a recipe that requires just a few leaves. Other than that, I'm very happy with this book. I'm not interested in flashy recipes, I want something that TASTES GOOD, and The Food You Want to Eat delivers.
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on August 19, 2015
This is a great cookbook for a lot of different types of cooks: new cooks needing some recipes and simple guidance, mid level cooks wanting to up their games, and experienced cooks in need of fresh ideas and inspiration. This book contains my favorite, excellent never-fail pizza dough recipe (among other things). Worth adding to your library.
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VINE VOICEon February 9, 2008
This is a hands down a collection of great recipes. I have made several recipes, and you can make and enjoy them for dinner after working all day (ie: it doesn't take all day to produce an excellent home cooked meal) and there are plenty of recipes for entertaining that your friends will enjoy (chicken with mushrooms - divine!) I reach for this book time and time again. I'm an experienced cook but the recipes are so clear that a beginner can whip out a great meal.
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on March 22, 2015
Love Ted Allen, love his cookbook. This cookbook has great pictures and amazing recipes. There are good explanations and details that make cooking easy and the end product worth the effort. Haven't made a recipe yet that we haven't liked and we've gone through most of the book. This got us into cooking and it is a book we have repurchased to gift to others.
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on November 30, 2016
As described, no surprises.
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on April 21, 2014
Wonderful tasty recipes...some a bit more complicated than others, but all very 'doable' ... presented by a very skilled down to earth cook. I love this book.
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on February 18, 2015
I'm glad I bought it!
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