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Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking: Recipes and Techniques for Delicious Slow-Cooked Meals Hardcover – October 1, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Williams Sonoma Essentials
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxmoor House; 1 edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848732596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848732592
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Wu on January 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after receiving a new slow cooker as a gift - what a fabulous purchase! I am a serious foodie and these recipes are simply mouth-watering. So far, I have made 1) pulled pork, 2) teriyaki chicken thighs, 3) country-style pork ribs, 4) chicken with shallots and balsamic vinegar, 5) maple-braised pork chops, and 6) the texas-style beef chili. Every recipe has been straightforward, easy to follow, and most importantly, delicious! Many of these meals are even better the second day, so make plenty and enjoy the left overs.

Truthfully, if you are looking just to dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker and turn it on...this is not your book. Most of these recipes do involve a couple of steps, such as browning the meat and deglazing the pan. However, these additional steps really do not take that long - so don't be intimidated by them. All in all, I would say the active cooking time for most of the recipes I've tried is around 30 minutes, although some may be more involved. Considering the high quality meals these recipes produce, investing 30 minutes into dinner is easily worth the sacrifice.

In response to an earlier post, there are a few typos in the book. While this may reflect on the professionalism of the Williams-Sonoma book editors, it does not tarnish the superb recipes within. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I was looking for gourmet-type meals to cook in the slow cooker. I have several other cookbooks that cover all the American Standards involving condensed cream soups, Lipton Soup Mix, and other processed convenience items.

In that respect, this book does have lots of recipes that use fresh ingredients to produce a higher-quality end result than the old-time "gloop with glop sauce" that so often comes out of a slow cooker. There are also gorgeous pictures of every recipe. I love that.

Now for the downsides. The editing in this book is terrible. There are tons of typos throughout, and it is also obvious that one of the vegetable recipes was only slightly altered from another similar recipe a few pages before--I could tell because the first recipe was for cabbage, so it said cabbage throughout the recipe. The second was for spinach, and halfway through the recipe, it started talking about cabbage. The two recipes were the same--someone had just done a half-hearted job of changing the word cabbage to spinach. There are lots of other examples of bad editing, but that's my job, so that kind of thing bothers me.

The other thing that irritated me is that I wanted a slow cooker cookbook. This is a "SLOW COOKING" cookbook. In other words, while many of these recipes have instructions for slow cooker use, others do not. Some of the recipes are stove top or oven only. I was disappointed by that. Most of us have plenty of recipes that just take a long time, what we want is something we can put in the crock before heading out to work for the day.

I feel like the high price of this cookbook is solely because of the pretty pictures and the strength of a few good recipes.
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5 Comments 195 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I am a full time mom going back to work after nine years. I knew that I was going to have to learn to love my slow cooker if I ever decided to feed my family a home cooked meal again! I have been a fan of Williams Sonoma books for a long time but I wanted to check out all the offerings before I picked out my new slow cooking bible. Having scoured Amazon and local book shops I feel confident saying this book is the most comprehensive with the best sounding recipes. A lot of the slow cooking cook books pander to the "lowest common denominator" cook and the ingredients aren't that healthy. This one has recipes that seem much fresher and better tasting which is a good thing if you plan on using your slow cooker as much as I do! Plus, the photos and layout are gorgeous.
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Format: Hardcover
While this book has wonderful photos, it is badly written and many recipes seem to have the wrong quantities and poor descriptions of ingredients and cooking times. In fact, there is no mention in many recipes what temperature setting you should use to cook in a dutch oven on the stove top. I cook from recipes five times a week and have never had a problem before. I have cooked three recipes from this book and had three disasters. For example, a recipe will call for a yellow onion but not mention the size or a recipe will instruct you to strain out the ingredients from the pan juices at the end but the ingredients are clearly visible in photograph. I challenge anyone to make the apricots and pork loin recipe work based on the quantities listed and the instructions.

The big problem with this book is that it feels like it has been written by an organization and not a person. There is no personality behind the recipes and no care given to their accuracy.

I have returned this book, steer clear or be prepared for potential frustration at the end of three or four hours of cooking.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, as one other reviewer pointed out, is for slow cooking, not for crock pot cooking. Most people use their crock pot by putting the ingredients in the pot in the morning so that they can have a meal when they get home. When the crock pot is used in these recipes (many of the recipes use ONLY a dutch oven) the longest time the crock pot is used, even on low, is 6-7 hours. Many recipes in the book use the crock pot only 3-4 hours in the cooking process.

My second issue with this book is that the recipes are terrible. I'm a very good cook and tried two of the recipes out of the book. Perhaps I got the two worst recipes, but will not be trying anymore of them and waste good ingredients. I tried the paprika chicken and it was as bland as rice cakes. Then I tried the Chinese red cooked chicken. This turned out even worse than the paprika chicken. With 1 1/4 cups of soy sauce and not too many other ingredients, this dish came out so salty tasting it was like eating brine pork.

My saving grace was that I had checked this book out of the library to try out the recipes, so will not be buying this book to add to my cookbook collection.
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