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on August 21, 2017
love the book and it was in great shape
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on June 8, 2015
One of Mrs. Garten's great books with recipes we love. Easy to follow, easy to make and delicious
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on January 16, 2016
Great book
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on December 26, 2013
I love Ina and her easy yet entertainment quality meals. She has taught me many tips and tricks over the years.
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on February 4, 2003
First off, let me say that I use this book often and, for the most part, I absolutely LOVE it. The first recipe I tried, Sagaponack Corn Pudding, was truly different from other corn pudding recipes I'd tried, living up to Garten's promise that it would not be bland - and it wasn't - nor was it too spicy. It had some added flavor thanks to cheddar cheese and fresh basil but those with less experimental tastes could leave out the basil (as I did when we had small children at dinner one evening) and it would still be delicious.
Another plus to this cookbook: Many of the recipes are not only family-friendly but easy to throw together. There are also plenty of dishes for vegetarians as well as meat eaters, making meal planning easy. Nearly every recipe I tried was wonderful, with the minor exception of the Chicken Noodle Soup (I prefer my recipe).
Now the caveat: If you like extremely exotic or unusual foods, this may not be the ideal cookbook for you. While there ARE recipes which are new and different (like the Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash or a truly different and yummy Espresso Ice cream, better than any I've had thus far), MOST of the recipes are updated versions of familiar favorites..Rice Pilaf, Hashed Browns, Fried Chicken, etc. Professional or gourmet cooks may want something more challenging.
But I've had a hard time finding cookbooks which contain tasty recipes I can serve, night after night, and still keep my family happy and well-fed while minimizing my kitchen time. For those purposes, this one fits the bill. And if you happen to have any guests drop in at meal time, you can bet they'll be happy too!
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on February 27, 2009
Having cooked recipes from all Ina Garten's cookbooks and loving the results almost always, I thought that I should write a review on this one as well. The following is something that I appreciate with most Ina's books, including this one:
1) As is Ina's trademark - the recipes are accompanied by gorgeous pictures so that you awaken your tastebuds before cooking and know what it will look like;
2) The instructions are easy to follow, no special equipment necessary and the techniques are pretty basic for even a beginner cook;
3) The ingredients are likely already in your pantry or are easy to find in any well stocked supermarket;
4) Most recipes include helpful notes on what can be prepped before your guests/family arrive at the table so that you can relax and enjoy their company instead of running around at the last minute;
5) Results of your culinary efforts are extremely tasty and will earn you compliments (not that that should be the primary reason for cooking, but it does help feeling that you are being appreciated);
6) Most recipes are so good that you will keep using the book over and over instead of trying a few things and the cookbook gathering dust on the bookshelf (I am speaking from my own experience - I own a lot of books that disappointed a couple of times and never were used after - this is not the case of this book).
My personal favorites: Lasagna with turkey sausage; Real meatballs & spaghetti (my husband rated this as "the best meatballs you ever made"), Linguini with shrimp scampi (easy and surprisingly fast recipe that looks and tastes ellegant enough to serve guests for a dinner party), Raspberry cheesecake (a showstopper - very attractive cake, not too sweet and light tasting with a nice citrusy raspberries), Coconut macaroons, Tiramisu (I have travelled extensively through Italy and this one definitely is up there with the best I tasted there).
All in all - while there may be some recipes I will probably never use(homemade marshmallows - sorry, I am European and after living in Canada for over 20 years still don't understand the fascination with marshmallows - must be part of a culture shock), there is enough of those that I will use again and again with outstanding results.
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on March 26, 2003
I loved this book's theme/subtitle: to make all your guests feel like family. The beautiful format and layout, as well as the photos, makes this a cookbook to be treasured. Many of the recipes are simple, basic ones that many of us already have, which is why I gave this four stars instead of five.
As usual, every recipe I have tried has been a success (Turkey Lasagna, Banana Sour Cream Pancakes, Shrimp Scampi, Rice Pudding, Mustard Vinagrette). I especially love the simple ingredients and the non-fussy style of the cooking. The recipes please my family and myself and keep my time in the kitchen at a minimum, which makes me very happy.
Although I did not garner as many new recipes from this cookbook as I did her other two, I would not hesitate to give this as a wedding shower gift to a novice cook.
Looking forward to Ina's next cookbook.
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on July 1, 2003
I love her books. Her recipes are easy to make, and they taste wonderfully. Her style is casual, and laid back, unlike Martha Stewart's style. She takes ingredients you have on hand, or that are easy to find and makes them a bit more special. One of my favorites was her Roasted Parmesan Asparagus, its a great way to utilize one of the summer's special vegetables.
This book is beautifully illustrated with pictures of the food, and the recipes are very clear and easy to read. She offers a variety of foods in terms of appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, and desserts. The book deals with food to make your life easier, not food that you are going to spend hours in the kitchen with.
If you are a gourmet, cook, or even if you are someone that wants their food to taste gourmet, I would suggest this book is worth a look.
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on January 18, 2003
Of the three Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, this one is my favorite. Ina Garten's recipes are particularly great for parties, as the vast majority of them are relatively easy and not terribly time consuming. I made a number of these dishes for a New Year's Day party; the turkey lasagne, Buffalo chicken wings and rum raisin rice pudding all got rave reviews from my guests. I also made the shrimp scampi as a quick after work dinner for my husband and myself; it was absolutely to die for. Hands down the best scampi I have ever tasted, at home or in a restaurant. As in her earlier books, most of Garten's desserts and baked goods are heavy on the cream and butter, but most are fabulous. If you're looking for Cooking Light, this book ain't it. But if you're willing to splurge when company is coming, this is really a terrific cookbook.
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on April 3, 2004
The first of Ina Garten's books I owned was focused on dishes meant primarily for entertaining, because, after all, that's what life in the Hamptons (where she has her popular carryout food store) is all about. But then I bought this one, and I swear it's even better: Just delicious and beautiful items centered on making others, including family members, feel welcome in your home.
'Homey' would describe many of these dishes, esp as lots of them center around stuff like turnips and squash, items that don't usually get a lot of play. I mean, it's not likely you'd expect some finicky teenager to go, 'Oh, yum, we're having turnips again." But that kid just might love them the way Garten prepares them. After all, you never know...
This book is worth it at twice the price. Highest praise.
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