- Hardcover: 275 pages
- Publisher: HarperPerennial; 1st edition (1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006055326X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060553265
- Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 7.8 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,785,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What To Cook When You Think There's Nothing in the House To Eat: More Than 175 Easy Recipes And Meal Ideas Hardcover – 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
Schwartz's forthright yet somewhat misleading title doesn't do justice to the New York Daily News columnist's contribution to home cooking at its simple best. "Meant for those who have only elementary cooking skills, as well as ingredients, but still think something cooked from scratch at home--no matter how basic--is more rewarding to eat than something picked up from the frozen food case or a takeout shop," the book is organized around easily acquired ingredients, with the shelf lives of most thoroughly, if light-headedly, discussed. ("If matzoh doesn't exactly last forever," quips Schwartz, "at least it lasts from one Passover to the next, which is about how often I buy it.") Included are concoctions like spaghetti with black olives and orange peel, and basic white risotto, as well as pure comfort fare (classic crisp peanut butter cookies) and ethnic feel-good foods from matzoh brei to quesadillas. Even sophisticated cooks will uncover good ideas and information here and be able, as the author suggests, to satisfy a "midnight appetite, an unexpected guest, or any other last-minute or 'emergency'sic situation." Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Like Marlena Spieler's From Pantry to Table ( LJ 9/15/91), this book by a New York food writer and columnist shows how the pantry can be a boon to the resourceful cook. Spieler, however, starts by stocking the pantry with ingredients from the essential to the exotic; Schwartz's simplified approach is more of a "make-do" one--how to put together a satisfying meal with minimum time and energy. Ingredients that are likely to be on hand are organized alphabetically, from Anchovies to Pasta to Yogurt, and storage information and simple, "comfort food"-type recipes are provided for each; subject indexes provide additional sources of inspiration. An appealing book that should be popular; recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The collection of soups spread throughout the book is especially helpful--if you can't make soup out of something, you're doomed. The humble can of tuna also gets its fair share of attention. The recipe for "rice and roots" is endlessly adaptable--in fact, it's this type of "template" recipe that makes the book a worthwhile addition to your cookbook collection.
There are some strange additions that don't seem to add much in the way of ingenuity--for example, ketchup shows up, but its only uses are for two different types of dressing, and some omissions I found surprising (no recipe for quick pickles, no savory uses of oatmeal, no lentil or other bean "loaves," no recipes for using up pickle brine, no creative pizza topping ideas, no tortilla casseroles). Bacon receives only two recipes, both pasta-based. One other minor quibble--it would be very useful to have a header listed on each page that shows which ingredient is being showcased--it would make browsing through the book that much easier.
But on the whole, this is a great book to have on hand when you know you have to cook dinner, it's snowing, and the store is a long way off.
This book is just plain fun to read. If you flip through it, not only will you find recipes for quick entrees but for soups, dips and appetizers you can serve to guests, and great desserts as well. I love the suggestions for flavor variations Arthur includes at the end of many of the recipes. Take his ideas and run with them, make them your own!
I have made the "chocolate pound cake" brownie variation many times and it's always a smash hit. You may as well call them brownies though, not pound cake, because everybody who eats them will. My one disappointment was the barley-lentil-pea salad, which I found quite stodgy. But every recipe in this book is worth a try, and a lot of them are amazingly inexpensive and good.