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Customer Review

on July 23, 2001
This is not your ordinary cookbook. It is a visual feast for all your senses. The photographs are stunning, the recipes are simple to understand, and the tips are actually very helpful. Ina Garten expertly walks you through preparation to presentation, and injects personal anecdotes throughout. I was left with the impression that she truly wants her readers to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of a great meal.
The book begins with an introduction to fresh ingredients and again, the emphasis is on quality and simplicity. Ina guides us through a farmer's market of fresh fruits and vegetables, explaining what to look for and how to select the very best ingredients for our meals. In the midst of this primer, she delivers a simple recipe for fresh lemonade (a quick application of what we have just learned!), followed by a glossary of kitchen terms, and all accompanied by beautiful photographs. The first section is devoted to appetizers, and includes detailed instructions on what to serve at cocktail parties (and exactly how to serve it) and how to make and present an elegant, yet simple fruit and cheese platter. My favorite recipe from this section was the vegetable sushi. She then covers Soups (including home made croutons), Salads (the French Potato is tremendous!), Dinner Entrees (including a kitchen clambake and the famous Indonesian Ginger Chicken recipe), Vegetables (with instructions on creating a stunning vegetable platter), Desserts (the country dessert platter is perfect for small groups get-togethers!) and a section simply entitled "Breakfast" with a wonderful recipe for White Hot Chocolate and a short primer on how to make "the perfect cup of coffee". The book ends with details for assembling party food and has a complete resource section loaded with information on how to find specialty items.
I own many cookbooks, but I have found this to be the most inspiring and entertaining that I have read. The recipes are simple, and quite delicious, making this a terrific resource for both the experienced and novice cook.
5 Stars. Magnificent!
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