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Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways Are the Best-Over 700 Recipes Show You Why [Hardcover]

Darina Allen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 16 2010
In this timely new book, Darina reconnects you with the cooking skills that missed a generation or two. The book is divided into chapters such as Dairy, Poultry and Eggs, Bread, and Preserving, and forgotten processes such as smoking mackerel, curing bacon, and making yogurt and butter are explained in the simplest terms. The delicious recipes show you how to use your homemade bounty to its best, and include ideas for using forgotten cuts of meat, baking bread and cakes, and even eating food from the wild. The Vegetables and Herbs chapter is stuffed with growing tips to satisfy even those with the smallest garden plot or window box, and there are plenty of suggestions for using gluts of vegetables. You'll even discover how to keep a few chickens in your backyard. With over 700 recipes, this is the definitive modern guide to traditional cooking skills.

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Processed and convenience foods and shortcut cooking methods have become so entrenched in our culinary culture, it’s easy to forget just how much we have forgotten about real cooking. But cooking instructor Darina Allen knows all too well. More and more of her students arrive having never cooked so much as an egg, or needing lessons in remedial onion chopping. She remembers one student who thought she’d ruined a bowl of heavy cream because she’d whipped it too much. She thought the clumps and clots in the bowl meant it was bad. “I said, ‘Stop! Don’t throw it out!’ ” says Allen, author of Forgotten Skills of Cooking. “I said, ‘You’ve made butter!’ She was completely fascinated.” (Michele Kayal Associated Press, 7/3/2014)

About the Author

Darina Allen runs the world-renowned cookery school at Ballymaloe in County Cork, Ireland, which she founded with her husband in 1983. She runs the highly regarded three-month diploma course as well as various short courses, including the Forgotten Skills series, which is the inspiration behind this book. Darina is the award-winning author of Irish Traditional Cooking, Ballymaloe Cookery Course, A Year at Ballymaloe, Healthy Gluten-free Eating (with Rosemary Kearney), and Easy Entertaining. She is Ireland's most famous TV-cook, having presented nine series of her cooking program, Simply Delicious, on television around the world. Darina founded the first Farmers' Markets in Ireland and is a tireless campaigner for local produce. She is a natural teacher and was awarded IACP's 2005 Cooking Teacher of the Year Award.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best cookbook I have ever seen, used or bought Sept. 2 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This stunning 'cookbook' is so much more than an ordinary cookbook. It focuses on natural, basic, non-adulterated food and there was never a better time for it. It deals with how to find and harvest wild foods - berries for jam making and for relishes, chutneys and pies etc. how to make your own dairy products from raw milk (if you are lucky enough to have a source or get into a cow-share), how to prepare wild meat (best for you), how to grow and use herbs and harvest wild herbs and weeds including highly nutritious sea weeds. Foraging is a large part of the book.

There are instructions on how to raise chickens and to harvest their eggs, and everything is simple to make with just a few ingredients, but the very best ingredients and everything tastes spectacular. Following her directions, I made my own yoghurt, butter, cheeses and ice creams - and you have never had ice cream until you taste it made from the cream of raw milk. I could not believe the difference. If you cannot get raw milk you can use pasteurized cream and dairy or make your own dairy from her recipes, but it is never the same. It is illegal to sell raw milk in Ontario unless you buy into a cowshare.

Her book and her recipes and methods are basic and sensible. It is fully illustrated in outstanding colour photography. I've made her jams and jellies and her breads - some in my clay baker, and I have lots of edibles in my own yard that I didn't know I could use: Blackberries, (brambles), crabapples, wild garlic, elderberries and flowers, fiddleheads from ferns, wild herbs, rose hips and petals (yes they are both edible) etc, and I've had a wonderful time collecting and using these. The list is endless.

I prefer traditional slow food to begin with, but this book should be on every cook's shelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read and Excellent Recipes/Information Nov. 21 2010
By bachef TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
All from scratch recipes from salami to fools to soda bread to pheasant to cordials this book contains them all. Allen outlines information on ingredients/growing produce/foraging/raising livestock which supplements the yummy and doable recipes. The book reminds of growing up on the farm when we milked our own cows to produce milk, cream and butter; our own pigs for hams, bacon, cracklings; vegetables; foraged for mushrooms and so on without relying on processing. No doubt it will remind you of forgotten recipes and way of life. It also inspires me to whip up luscious cakes and special drinks for afternoon teas. Many recipes contain one or more creative variations. Although we are unable to obtain/grow some of the things Allen grows in Ireland on the Canadian prairies this book is still a valuable find. Good old fashioned recipes are sure to tug at your heartstrings and sentimental tendencies. A really lovely book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent June 1 2010
What a brillianly written beautifully photographed piece of memorabilia!! This book gives great step by step methods for delicious dishes with superb directions. I bought it for some of the sausage recipes but have since found it to be an excellent source of inspiration.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars useful nostalgia trip Jan. 4 2011
Fascinating book, some interesting recipes, but having been to Ireland, I think some of it is just a bit mythical. I remember the foods of my Scottish childhood fondly but if I had to actually eat them today I'm not sure how great they would actually be
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure Trove of Recipes and Inspiration April 5 2010
By Alcee Arobin - Published on Amazon.com
This book is an amazing tome of culinary secrets that I've been in love with ever since it arrived. First of all, the quality of the book itself is top notch. It's a rough textured hardback sans paper flap cover. Darina Allen is drawing comparisons to Julia Child, and that marketing pitch seems to have translated into the layout of the pages. They are glossy and in the exact style of every cookbook of Julia's that I own. It reminds me in particular of The Way to Cook, Julia's master class, which was uncustomarily accompanied with ample photos.

Admittedly, there are things in Forgotten Skills that I'll never venture to try, such as the tripe on page 184, or the brawn on page 320. I'm not exactly tempted by the recipe for beef dripping on toast on page 177. But there are plenty of examples of recipes that are staples in many of our kitchens, reimagined from a fresh, farmy (to invent an adjective) perspective, such as beef stew (pp. 163), quiche Lorraine (pp. 250), and a delicious bacon and cheddar cheese strata that you absolutely must try (pp. 579). It seems like we've skipped spring altogether this year and headed straight into summer. In this current heat, I can't wait to try the recipe for Ballymaloe vanilla ice cream (no ice cream maker required!) on page 207. The simplicity reminds me of how my grandmother used to wait for a second snow, and then set out a large metal bowl to collect enough flakes to add in condensed milk, and, voila!, delicious ice cream.

Don't be discouraged by the opening chapter, which addresses various edible flowers, herbs, and weeds that you can scavenge and prepare in various dishes. Those recipes set the tone for the rest of the book, but in no way define it. In fact, if I had to try to sum up the essence of this book, I'd go back to the comparison to Julia Child's The Way to Cook. Julia's book was meant as a step-by-step class for the uninitiated to the steps of traditional French cooking. Ms. Allen's book is rather a guide to the traditional country cooking of Ireland, often with hints of the global culinary influence of France, Italy, and even the United States (she has a delectable recipe for American-style short ribs on page 165). And then there are the traditional recipes like calves' liver with caramelized onions on page 183 that put me in mind of my grandmother's kitchen.

A great deal of these recipes and skills are indeed forgotten legacies of the Old World, but the majority are at least relatively current and adapted for modern kitchens. Scattered throughout are notes on farming, slaughtering livestock (a note from Ms. Allen: don't bend the chicken's neck back too far, lest you pull off the head!), instructions for making everything from homemade butter to sausage, and natural cleaning agents for around the house. Ms. Allen's book will no doubt be an indispensable source of inspiration and reference for my culinary adventures. Also, the Amazon price is a steal. Highly recommended!
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Information May 2 2010
By Corgi Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've had a ball reading this book. I love the history. I love the simple cooking skills taught in it. I love the recipes. I love reading about the Irish culture. There are exotic ingredients from the shores of the sea that I would never think of as cooking ingredients. But there they are, as exotic as anything in a Japanese restaurant. There are techniques for using over the hill ingredients. There are recipes for all sorts of leftover things you might throw away. I've made all the quick breads now - they are simple and excellent. I've made a few of the desserts, simple and excellent. Seafood recipes teach you cooking techniques and how to treat fresh ingredients. You can make your butter from scratch! If you are interested in the world and traditions of cooking, not just the recipes, this is a valuable addition to your culinary library.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about cooking but were afraid to ask! April 26 2010
By Furfloors - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great book... great (as in it practically weighs a ton) and great ... (as in it has loads of interesting and entertaining information). My expert son-in-law chef discovered lots about preparing wild game (and he's a former forest ranger). I loved learning basic Irish cooking since my family hails from Connemara. Finally, because of "Forgotten Skills of Cooking," I can devour a perfect Spotted Dog (with no animal cruelty involved).
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed - must have! April 2 2010
By Grandma - Published on Amazon.com
Darina Allen is perhaps not as well known on this side of the pond as Gordon Ramsey (pushing for the use of more fresh, local ingredients in restaurants), Jaime Oliver (great success in moving British schools towards a more healthful school lunch menu, now here in the US working towards the same goal) or Prince Charles (highly involved in the organic/slow food movement in the UK) but she should be.

Darina, called by some "The Irish Julia Child", has been running a cooking school in Ireland for some twenty five years. This book is the product of those lessons, imparting kitchen wisdom and food lore that our generation imbibed with our mother's milk along with the oft-repeated "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!" - wisdom that has disappeared under the onslaught of prepackaged, pre-prepared "food."

Darina and I are of an age. About the time that she started her cooking school I stood in my kitchen one day baking a cake. A young mother from the neighborhood dropped by as I mixed and asked what I was doing. "Baking a cake," I replied. My neighbor looked all around the kitchen, then asked again "What are you doing?" - and again I replied "Baking a cake." This time the young woman examined every nook and cranny, even looking into the trash bin, and then in great frustration practically shouted at me "Tell me what you are doing!" When I again replied that I was baking a cake this young woman said to me "You can't be baking a cake. There is no box!"

Darina's inspiration for her Forgotten Skills classes, which have resulted in this book, was a bit different. She recounts the time she caught a student preparing to dump overbeaten cream into the pig slops instead of simply turning it into butter. In Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why Darina teaches us how to make numerous dairy products (yogurt, simple cheese & more), corn a beef, smoke fish, raise chickens and much, much more.

While not everything translates to North America - they have some wild edibles we do not and vice versa - this is a gorgeous book, well laid out, and just delightful to read. Whether you live on a mountain in the wilds of northern Vermont or a Manhattan apartment, you'll find treasure between these covers. Highly recommended, this is a book that will have a prominent place on my bookshelf for years to come.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING! Jan. 25 2011
By wildcrafted - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am still in shock that such a comprehensive, fantastic book exists. If I were to only have one cookbook on my shelf- this would be it.

Nourishing Traditions has been my favorite 'back to basics' cookbook up until now- and I still love it but this by far takes the cake. Like NT it contains several recipes involving herbs and foraged foods and fruits, and gives attention to foods like bone marrow that have long been left out of the modern cookbook. Not only does it contain a huge amount of recipes but it also has a nice aesthetic appeal with its hardcover, purple silk bookmark, glossy pages and beautiful photographs.

This book also gives homesteading tips without going into ridiculous detail- like how to care for chickens, how to smoke food, how to forage, how to clean a fish, diagrams of the cuts of meats of different animals, how to make beer.

And on top of it all- there are short entertaining stories about the author's childhood- mistakes made while cooking and the sometimes delicious surprises that resulted from those mistakes.

Any book that has recipes for dandelion wine and nettle soup has my vote but this goes above and beyond anything I could have dreamed up.
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