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Not Your Mother's Microwave Cookbook: Fresh, Delicious, and Wholesome Main Dishes, Snacks, Sides, Desserts, and More Paperback – May 17 2010
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About the Author
Beth Hensperger, a New Jersey native who has lived in California since her teens, has been educating, writing, and demo-lecturing about the art of baking for over 30 years. In the last few years, she has shifted focus to countertop appliance-driven cookbooks that embrace adapting traditional and professional recipes for the home cook: the bread machine, the rice cooker, the microwave, and a four-volume compilation specifically for use with the electric slow cooker, stressing personal creativity in preparation and selection of ingredients. Hensperger is the author of over 22 cookbooks, including the best-selling Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook series, which includes NYMSC Recipes for Entertaining, NYMSC Family Favorites, and NYMSC Recipes for Two, along with the blockbuster first volume, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. Her other books include highly-acclaimed titles such as The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, NYM Microwave Cookbook, and NYM Weeknight Cooking. She is also the author of The Bread Bible (Chronicle Books), winner of a James Beard Award in 2000. She has twice been nominated for the Julia Child/IACP Cookbook Award. Hensperger wrote a San Jose Mercury News food column for twelve years, Baking with the Seasons. She is a contributor to dozens of national and online cooking & lifestyle magazines, such as Food & Wine, Rachael Ray Magazine, Veggie Life, Cooking Light, Working Woman, Victoria, Prevention, and Family Circle, and is a sought after newspaper and radio interviewee speaking on slow cooking, bread baking, and entertaining. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Visit her website at www.bethhensperger.com and blog at www.notyourmotherscookbook.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
However, once I tried some of the recipes, I was surprised: they were good. A lot of the recipes are really tasty, and easy, and have become favorites at home that I make often. The recipes for veggie side dishes are great - I love the "Glazed Carrots" (so easy to make, more delicious than you'd expect just reading the ingredients) and I liked the "Peas, Celery, and Onions" as well. "Cottage-Style Macaroni and Cheese" was another popular recipe.
Those recipes taste good, and further, taste like they were designed for the microwave. The microwave really brings out the best in the ingredients, and isn't just a shortcut.
On the other hand, some of the recipes taste like poor replicas of decent recipes that would have been OK if you'd done it "right" on the stovetop. ("Creamy Crab & Mushroom Sauce" was one of these).
Overall, the book was solid, quite a few good recipes.
Because of its production value though, I might say, don't give it as a gift. Get it for yourself, and try the recipes before you use them on guests.
Also included: plenty of (surprisingly) useful tips and techniques for microwave cooking and microwave maintenance; detailed advice on purchasing a microwave, and what features to look for; and even some background info on the history of the microwave... not a bad deal for a cookbook averaging an asking price of $10 or less.
As others have pointed out, the book has a very utilitarian design to it, which is both a strength and weakness; a strength in that it's compact in size (always a plus for cookbooks), easy-to-read and well-organized; a weakness in that the book has a rather bland visual style, and the compact size comes at the expense of photos or illustrations of any kind, a feature that I tend to enjoy in cookbooks. Also, a fairly powerful microwave is needed to properly follow many of the recipes included in the book (at least 1100 watts), so do be forewarned.
Still, for what you get at the price point, "Not Your Mother's Microwave Cookbook..." is well worth picking up for those so inclined.
So, does this cookbook have recipes for really yummy food?
#1 Avocado: Buy a dark avocado that is ripe (just not soft), not a green one. Otherwise, you'll end up with a watery tasting avocado that you can use, but won't be very flavorful.
#2 Scalloped Potatoes: Good, definitely tasted microwaved and not baked. But, I thought it was a good quick side. Just make sure you cook it long enough. It wasn't especially flavorful, though.
#3 Jam Omelette: 1/2 cup of jam was too much. The omelette cooked well, but my kids wouldn't eat it. Sometimes they're picky eaters. I liked it, but again it wasn't really flavorful.
I think this cookbook has great ideas and if you're a cook who doesn't like a ton of spice in your food, you would probably really like these recipes. If you have any of Hensperger's other cookbooks and like the food in those, you'll definitely like this one. I have her slow-cooker recipe cookbook and I found that the recipes I made from it were great ideas, but were pretty bland to me. I tend to use a lot of spices in my food.
As for the other features of this cookbook...
There are no pictures. the formatting is pretty good and there's lots of great information about microwaves in here! I was really impressed by that--even her inclusion of how to adjust the recipes for different size microwaves on pg. 23. The directions are pretty clear, but there are multi step directions for each recipe. It isn't simply one of those cookbooks where you mix some ingredients and then go stick the dish in the microwave and leave it alone. You need to take it out, stir or add ingredients, and cook some more. It wasn't too hard, but you really have to read the recipe through beforehand and as you're making the recipe to make sure you stay on top of it.
I like this cookbook and will keep it on my shelf. I want to try a few more recipes, but I will plan on adding more spice to them and altering them a bit. If you're looking for a microwave cookbook, this is definitely a good choice--it's much better than other ones I've looked at over the years for cooking with a microwave.
The recipes contained in this book are relatively simple, and have short ingredient lists. Some kind of equivalent recipe for nearly all the dishes can be found in some "make-it-quick" or "easy" cooking book that doesn't require use of a microwave. Given that, I didn't feel like I saved that much time or effort making these simple dishes in the microwave.
The idea of cooking in the microwave seemed fun at first, but after eating the food, I'll go back to using my stove. This book has not converted me. It might not be my mother's microwave cookbook, but it won't be mine either.
Most people use their microwaves for basic functions like heating up food, popcorn or defrosting, and this cookbook really unleashes all the possibilities that I never even knew were possible with a microwave. Hensperger covers everything from using the microwave to help peel fruits and vegetables, to melting chocolate for desserts, to drying herbs. Side dishes - vegetables especially - were really the highlight of the cookbooks for me - easy to cook and perfect to take to a potluck type party. This is an excellent cookbook to add to any collection and is especially perfect for anyone who wants to save some time on cooking.