First, some of the recipes are pretty good. Especially the tortilla soup and the chicken fricasse (although there is way too much parsley in the dumplings.) The glazed carrots with almonds are very good, as is the chicken paprikash. The banged chicken is ok, nothing really wonderful about it, but decent. I found similar recipes in other cookbooks that are better, such as The Best Recipe (Kimball), or American Home Cooking. What really irritates me about this book is the fact that Ellen is a big "name dropper". She has to talk about how her husband played tennis with former President Bush while she sat chatting with the Mrs.. Then she tells us how she visits Tom Brokaw at his ranch in Montana. There are several references similar to these. Personally, I don't really care about who she knows or who's house she visits! I buy cookbooks for good recipes, nice photographs, and good cooking techniques, not to hear all about the social pedigree of the author. Bottom line: better recipes for the same dishes can be found in other cookbooks without all the self absorbed name dropping.