How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food Paperback – Mar 14 2000
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"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.
"Her prose is as nourishing as her recipes — it should please mere readers, serious cooks and happy omnivores."
"I love Nigella Lawson's writing and I love her recipes."
"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."
"A gloriously sensual wander through the possibilities of food. The recipes read more like seduction than instruction."
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Top Customer Reviews
I consult this book for inspiration, comfort, advice, and sometimes just to fantasize about a proper British Sunday meal or some other menu. The book is interesting and fun to read, and does inspire confidence. My latest success related to this book came after consulting it for my four-year-old's birthday party. The crowning jewel was a brilliant-green Jurassic cake laden with miniature plastic toy dinosaurs and a palm tree -- it was a huge hit. (Cheese biscuit "W"s too.) I appreciate how Nigella stresses that her recipes and suggestions are meant to serve as guidelines, not rules written in stone. In fact, some of the recipes I would change and have, tweaking and improving upon them for my tastes. It's more about the approach to food and eating. Nigella is smart, smart, smart, and truly a breath of fresh air.
The recipies are fun and well thought of, her Macaronie and Cheese is fabulous, and soo easy! I enjoy laying around the house, sipping tea and reading between the recipies, because that girl has a talent for words. I love this book, she did a great job, as usual.
Please use common sense and don't make the same mistake I did.
In fact I would suggest that this is a book that is as much about psychology and philosophy as it is about food and its preparation and enjoyment. And anyone who has seen her show on cable knows that she isn't afraid of food. She doesn't have that love hate relationship or a false mode that I think many television goddess types have. She is one cook-author whom I am assured doesn't purge after each taping and consuming of the food she has made.
And her recipes work! They are as doable as they are good and nice to look at. I also like the fact that she has a variety of recipes and ideas and not just a certain genre. Quick ones. Make ahead ones. Ones for parties and gatherings of a few to many. One thing I hope people get from this and all her books is her sense of enjoyment. Be it the shopping, or preparing. I wish everyone could also see her television show which we watch on the Style channel because she does shows that deal with the contents of her freezer-refrigerator-pantry and while she certainly covers these subjects in this and her other books there is something visually and audibly tactile about her showing what's good to have on hand.
I look forward to each new book she brings me since I learn so much. She also gives the term-title domestic goddess the respect it deserves...........
Most recent customer reviews
Arrived promptly but I had to wipe it down as it was quite grimy. Other than the dirty worn cover a good product.Published on April 8 2013 by Avid reader
Ms. Lawson's seductive nature transfers beautifully to the page in this unusual, yet utilitarian cookbook. Classic, homey dishes are given a new 21st. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2004 by Kenneth McDaniel
This author makes cooking comfortable. Her book explains things in a very simplistic and pleasant manner. Her approach gives the reader a sense of calm. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2002
Nigela Lawson is a phenomena. She is a gorgous forty year old woman who is, perhaps intelligent is a bit strong, but she radiates self confidence and personality. Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2002 by Tom Munro
This is a great book. I love watching her TV show and am always looking for new ideas and parties to throw with new foods. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2002 by Amanda Moss