I started reading several books last week, most of them novels, but the book that got me the most excited was–of all things–a cookbook. I decided to order this book from the library after watching a couple episodes of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” a show where the British chef comes to the American South and tries to reform the disgusting eating habits of the unhealthiest town in the world. Jamie Oliver reveals and rebukes the greasy, processed food that Americans eat, trying to turn over a new leaf in the school lunch program at a public elementary school.
After waiting more than two months for my hold request to be fulfilled (as the 24th person in line at the library), I finally picked up my copy of the cookbook, Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals. Cookbooks aren’t generally a “read-it-from-cover-to-cover” item, but I found that this was one cookbook I couldn’t put down. Jamie begins by telling the novice chef what tools every good kitchen should contain and what ingredients every pantry should be stocked with. (I made some notes on the latter for my next trip to Winco.) Then he launches into the recipes.
The first section listed off a handful of twenty minute meals for people who are short on time. With names like “Shrimp and Avacado with an Old-School Marie Rose Sauce,” I found that they did indeed look simple and delicious, though maybe not quite as affordable as our usual fare. The next section of the book was even more intriguing: “Quick Pasta.” The pasta dishes I usually make are a last-ditch resort born of empty cupboards and small imagination. Jamie offers exciting dishes like “Broccoli and Pesto Tagliatelle,” containing only a handful of ingredients but looking mouthwateringly delicious in the full color pictures.
The book proceeded with “Tasty Stir-Fries” and “Easy Curries.” I resolved then and there that I was going to make a curry that week, something I had never before attempted. A few days later I produced a passable “Chicken Tikka Masala,” with a lovely sauce and decent chicken (that would probably have been more tender if my stovetop had a more even heat).
The next section contained recipes for salads. This exemplified what I love about Jamie Oliver’s book–versatility. In the salad section, he tries to teach you general rules so that you can whip up your own salad creation. The full-color chart on page 119 has six rows of “kinds” of ingredients: soft, crunchy, herby, veggies, cheese, and toppings. Each of the rows contains four items; for instance, the “herby” row has mint, basil, italian parsley, and arugula. All you need to do is pick one ingredient from each row to come up with an awesome salad! There are literally hundreds of combinations to choose from.
The second recipe that I cooked from this book was the “Beef and Ale Stew,” and I must say that it turned out divine! The portions for most of the main dishes are for 4-6 servings, so we have half of the stew in the freezer waiting for another day. Yesterday, I was sorely tempted to take it out and heat it up for lunch, but I resisted–knowing, that someday soon, I would want to put a delicious dinner on the table without doing any work.
I highly recommend this cookbook to beginner and expert chefs alike. I like it so much that I ordered my own copy from Amazon.com. It should get here later this week.
Enjoyed your thoughts about this cookbook. I’m a cookbook lover too, but not just ‘any’ cookbook. This does sound like he’s got some good ideas as well as recipes. I think I’ll check it out too. Thanks, from one who loves to cook and find new ideas to make food divine!!
And will you loan it out or should I wait in line at the library too? I’m trying to expand my cooking horizons and find new ingredients to stock. This sounds like a fun one to get ideas from. First I need to get an organized system for keeping notes and recipes.
I suppose I might be able to bear parting with it after the newness has worn off. 🙂
We have Jamie’s Italy, The Return of the Naked Chef, and Cook with Jamie. The last one I just got for my birthday from Freddy and the kids. I also like to read his cookbooks like a regular book, although I do jump around here and there as well. I love how his passion for cooking good food is so evident and inspiring. Freddy is also a fan. Guess what he wants for our wedding anniversary present from me to him this year (which is this coming week). Yep. A Jamie Oliver cookbook. We are going to the bookstore tomorrow to buy it! 🙂
I just got Jamie’s Italy recently. The only thing I’ve made from it so far is the risotto, but it turned out fantastic! Which one are you buying for your anniversary?
We bought Jamie’s Dinners, which really has a lot more than just dinners. I’ve been too busy the last few days to look at it much, but what I’ve seen looks YUM! Which risotto did you make? I haven’t attempted any yet, but would like to.