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How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food [Paperback]

Nigella Lawson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Amazon

"Cooking is not about just joining the dots, following one recipe slavishly and then moving on to the next," says British food writer Nigella Lawson. "It's about developing an understanding of food, a sense of assurance in the kitchen, about the simple desire to make yourself something to eat." Lawson is not a chef, but "an eater." She writes as if she's conversing with you while beating eggs or mincing garlic in your kitchen. She explains how to make the basics, such as roast chicken, soup stock, various sauces, cake, and ice cream. She teaches you to cook more esoteric dishes, such as grouse, white truffles (mushrooms, not chocolate), and "ham in Coca-Cola." She gives advice for entertaining over the holidays, quick cooking ("the real way to make life easier for yourself: cooking in advance"), cooking for yourself ("you don't have to belong to the drearily narcissistic learn-to-love-yourself school of thought to grasp that it might be a good thing to consider yourself worth cooking for"), and weekend lunches for six to eight people. Don't expect any concessions to health recommendations in the recipes here--Lawson makes liberal and unapologetic use of egg yolks, cream, and butter. There are plenty of recipes, but the best parts of How to Eat are the well-crafted tidbits of wisdom, such as the following:

  • "Cook in advance and, if the worse comes to the worst, you can ditch it. No one but you will know that it tasted disgusting, or failed to set, or curdled or whatever."

  • On the proper English trifle: "When I say proper I mean proper: lots of sponge, lots of jam, lots of custard and lots of cream. This is not a timid construction ... you don't want to end up with a trifle so upmarket it's inappropriately, posturingly elegant. A degree of vulgarity is requisite."

  • "Too many people cook only when they're giving a dinner party. And it's very hard to go from zero to a hundred miles an hour. How can you learn to feel at ease around food, relaxed about cooking, if every time you go into the kitchen it's to cook at competition level?"

--Joan Price --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Her prose is as nourishing as her recipes — it should please mere readers, serious cooks and happy omnivores."
—Salman Rushdie

"I love Nigella Lawson's writing and I love her recipes."
—Delia Smith

"One of the best and most influential of British food writers — bound to become a staple cookbook for a whole generation."
—Ruth Rogers, The River Cafe Cook Book

"Cerebral and scintillating advice — peppered with wit."
Sunday Times

"A gloriously sensual wander through the possibilities of food. The recipes read more like seduction than instruction."
Independent

From the Publisher

First paperback publication – in a high-quality trade paperback edition – of Nigella Lawson’s hugely successful cookbook. Over 45,000 copies sold in hardback.

From the Inside Flap

"Cooking is not about just joining the dots . . . It’s about developing an understanding of food, a sense of assurance in the kitchen, about the simple desire to make yourself something to eat. And in cooking . . . you must please yourself to please others."

And so Nigella Lawson begins How to Eat. Already a huge success in Britain, How to Eat is a joyous celebration of home-cooked food, simply prepared and presented. For Nigella Lawson, great food is not about cooking, but about eating. She demonstrates how everyone can explore and savor the world of food every day–whether it’s fitting cooking into a busy schedule or improvising with whatever ingredients are on hand.

Her easy, conversational style makes you feel as if she’s right there in the kitchen with you as she shares 350 delicious yet simple recipes that range from Tarragon French Roast Chicken to Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake. This is food to be made and enjoyed in real life, not just in the picture-perfect pages of a magazine. And that’s why all of the menus are set up so everything is ready to serve at the same time. Nigella Lawson orchestrates every single food preparation detail for you–from coordinating the oven settings and preparation timing for every dish to suggesting the perfect wine to accompany the meal served at your next dinner party. All of the recipes are accessible and, with short lists of ingredients, easy to adjust to suit different tastes and occasions.

Best of all, Nigella Lawson understands that the kitchen isn’t always an oasis of tranquility. Her world is the real world: where children are waiting to be fed, where unexpected guests arrive on the doorstep at dinnertime, where you run out of that key ingredient just after the stores close. From practical tips on advance preparation to great leftover ideas, she shows how to get the most from the pantry and the refrigerator as you move beyond recipes to develop your own sense of what food is about.

Chapters are organized around lifestyle, and include meals for one and two people, low-fat cooking, weekend dining, and cooking for babies and small children.

Whether used in the kitchen or read like a good novel, this book will spark a joyful rediscovery of eating and really enjoying food–and its preparation–as a wonderful part of your everyday life. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"Her prose is as nourishing as her recipes — it should please mere readers, serious cooks and happy omnivores."
—Salman Rushdie

"I love Nigella Lawson's writing and I love her recipes."
—Delia Smith

"One of the best and most influential of British food writers — bound to become a staple cookbook for a whole generation."
—Ruth Rogers, The River Cafe Cook Book

"Cerebral and scintillating advice — peppered with wit."
Sunday Times

"A gloriously sensual wander through the possibilities of food. The recipes read more like seduction than instruction."
Independent

About the Author

Nigella Lawson has been a columnist for the London Evening Standard and The Times, and restaurant critic for the Spectator. She is now a freelance journalist and broadcaster, and is the foodwriter for Vogue. She was a judge for the 1998 Booker Prize, resident reviewer on Britain's Channel 4's Booked, and regular contributor to Nigel Slater's food programme.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Fried Prawn Cakes

250 g fresh raw prawns
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
2 spring onions, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 g plain flour
4 teaspoons sherry
olive oil

Shell and mince the prawns. Mix or blend them with the garlic, spring onions, salt, flour, sherry and enough water to make a batter. Let stand, covered with clingfilm, for 1 hour. Then fry, in drops of 1 teaspoon, in olive oil (though not extra virgin) poured to a depth of 5cm in a pan, for about a minute each side.

To serve, add some lime juice and chopped coriander to a bowlful of Hellman's. (Normally I can't see why everyone is so keen on the stuff, but it lends itself well to this kind of adulteration; anyway, fried fish cakes of this sort seem to be able to handle the peculiar emulsification of factory-made mayo.) Or just squeeze the prawn patties with fresh lime as you eat them.
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