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The Convent Cook: Divine Meals for Families Large and Small [Hardcover]

Maria Tisdall
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 6 2002
One of the best places to eat in New Jersey happens to be at a convent, of all places. Yes, the Benedictine sisters at Saint Walburga are eating in style, thanks to their very own convent cook, Maria Tisdall. Before Maria blessed them with her presence, these nuns lived on the plainest of plain foods—rice, potatoes, absolutely nothing fancy. But with Maria in the kitchen, they’ve started exploring the wonders of pesto, the gastronomic possibilities of couscous, and the joys of balsamic vinegar. Maria has opened the nuns to a whole new world of cooking, in the process developing a repertoire of recipes easily adaptable to home cooks entrusted with nourishing their families. In THE CONVENT COOK, you’ll hear about the rhythm of life in a convent, be introduced to a wonderful cast of characters, and, best of all, be treated to Maria’s sumptuous, angelic, and wholesome cooking.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Simple, savory food is alive and well in Maria Tisdall's Convent Cookbook, a collection of 90-plus easy recipes that are instant family pleasers. Tisdall is a professional cook who found an appreciative audience for her talents among the Benedictine sisters of New Jersey's Saint Walburga monastery. As convent chef, Tisdall introduced the sisters to the gastronomic delights of couscous, balsamic vinegar, and other "modern" ingredients, featured in dishes like Roast Pork Loin with Olives and Capers and Cold Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Summer Vegetables. The sisters' gain is ours, too; not meant to wow diners with evolved dish making, the book scores instead with polished home cooking everyone can love.

Organized by the calendar, and thus by seasons, Tisdall presents monthly menus plus sketches of convent life. "Around the convent," she writes of the year's beginning, "January marks a time of transition [from] the Feast of the Epiphany ... regarded as the end of the holiday period to the return to teaching" and other essential convent responsibilities. Tisdall's January menu, which includes Spinach and Bacon Salad, Roast Beef with Herbed Rub, Pearl Onions with Orange Glaze, and the Dreamiest Cheesecake Ever, is thus fortifying food "meant to stave off the gloominess of January's long, dark afternoons." By contrast, Tisdall's June menu offers Penne with Grilled Chicken in a Pink Tomato Sauce and Chiffon Cake with Mocha Frosting--more relaxed fare that often benefits from "the flowering of the convent vegetable garden." Other menus are equally direct and attractive. Color-photo-illustrated throughout, and with a section on pantry basics, the book celebrates a purposeful community and the delicious dishes that give it, and Tisdall's readers, constant dining pleasure. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author

Maria Tisdall loved cooking from an early age and was a three-time finalist in Seventeen magazine’s Now You’re Cooking National Competition at the Culinary Institute of America. She later graduated from the CIA and then spent six years in restaurants before starting work at Saint Walburga. The mother of three (whom Sister Flavia Mundie looks after while Maria performs her miracles in the kitchen), she lives in Linden, New Jersey.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A brother�s new best friend Jan. 22 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I got this book for Christmas from my sister and now I'm a believer. After moving into my own place after college a couple of years ago I have struggled to find new things to cook, the days of raman noodle must pass. The only problem being that most of my attempts at cooking have come out looking more like my childhood mud pies then the pictures on the box. Now that I have made one or two of these simple meals for friends and a very impressed girlfriend I wonder why other cook books aren't so simply written. In the end I have to say get this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A user friendly cook book. June 16 2002
Format:Hardcover
Quite a few cook books that I have purchased in the past, have been impossible for me to use, as my skills as a cook, are only basic, and their recipes difficult to follow. This book however is user friendly, with delicious results. I am sure these nuns must have considered her a "god send".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A user friendly cook book. June 16 2002
By SiobhanMC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Quite a few cook books that I have purchased in the past, have been impossible for me to use, as my skills as a cook, are only basic, and their recipes difficult to follow. This book however is user friendly, with delicious results. I am sure these nuns must have considered her a "god send".
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brother�s new best friend Jan. 22 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I got this book for Christmas from my sister and now I'm a believer. After moving into my own place after college a couple of years ago I have struggled to find new things to cook, the days of raman noodle must pass. The only problem being that most of my attempts at cooking have come out looking more like my childhood mud pies then the pictures on the box. Now that I have made one or two of these simple meals for friends and a very impressed girlfriend I wonder why other cook books aren't so simply written. In the end I have to say get this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic food Dec 14 2007
By Deba - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The recipes are delicious, easy to make for anyone who knows how to cook a little more than the basics. The roast and salmon entrees are wonderful enough to serve the most distinguished guest.
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS COOKBOOK ! June 6 2013
By Linda C. Leyh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I originally borrowed this book from my library by accident. I misread the cover and thought it was about convenient cooking, whatever that meant to me at the moment. It was the best mistake I ever made because I loved it. I loved the heartwarming and interesting back stories. I love the tips. I love that it is broken down by season, because like most of us I prepare dishes according to the availability of ingredients. While many of my cookbooks tend to sit on the shelf, I can actually see myself preparing at least 95% of the recipes in this book. I loved it so much I just had to purchase a copy of my own.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Convent Cook Book May 10 2013
By Elzbieta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. Maybe I should make a few recipes from it.
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