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I Do the Speed Limit
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The cookbook is such a jumble of recipes that I'm having difficulty organizing my thoughts in order to write this review, (and that's not normal for me). So, I apologize for the long length of this review: I could not concisely sum up my thoughts. I think this review provides a lot of pertinent info, but feel free to stop reading after the next paragraph--it provides the reason why I rated it a high, (but still average) three stars.
One thing is perfectly clear to me, though, and it is not a good thing: When I want to make a one-pot meal, I want to make it in ONE pot (okay, maybe two if I want to brown an ingredient.) While there are many one-pot recipes here, there are way too many recipes that need separate pots and pans for all the steps involved to bring the dish to table. There are also an unfair amount of "one-pot" meals that require side dishes.
Having looked through many Williams-Sonoma cookbooks and owning quite a few that I picked up for a song at estate sales, I can say that this is not like the "normal", older, smaller Williams-Sonoma cookbooks. You know without even looking through it that it has a lot of recipes, which can be a good thing--or it can be a bad thing. What's messing with my brain is the fact that the recipes are arranged by month and day: There actually is a recipe for every day of the year. There are a few other W-S cookbooks, released in 2012, that are set up this way.)
The reason why a certain recipe is on a certain date is unclear. While there is some attempt made to pair seasonal vegetables and fruits to certain months, you are going to find those same ingredients in other months as well. And, (what I consider a major crime), you will find nonseasonal ingredients paired with seasonal ingredients.
W-S totally embraces the fact that the U.S. is multi-cultural, so you won't find anything Christmas-y on Dec. 25, nothing Halloween-themed, no good-luck dishes at the end of the year. In the last three weeks in December you won't find a single recipe suggested for serving at a holiday party, or one suggested for serving to the kids on hectic night when you're going to a party. There is a turkey tetrazzini on Nov. 25....I guess I'm also saying that W-S sure could have made it more personable: Each recipe has a little blurb at the beginning and it would have been helpful (in sorting out the jumble) to see: "For a picnic on the first warm day; before heading out to the football game; after a day at the beach; on the evening before a big travel day; during exam week".
So you have 365 recipes arranged by day--which translates into NOT ARRANGED by anything. Thank goodness the index is adequate, which means you can find a recipe by main ingredient. Thank goodness there is a special index (easy to turn to at the very back) that arranges recipes by "Type": Asian-Style; Baked Pasta; Curries; Fried Rice & Noodles; Gratins; Meatless Dishes (which is a long list and pretty much useless, I think); Meatloaf (three recipes); Pies, Quiche & Tarts; Risotto (21 recipes); Soups & Chowders (only nine); Stews & Chilis (another that's fairly useless); Stir-Fries (33 recipes), and Tagines. What's disconcerting is that there are 277 recipes listed in this section (yes, I took the time to count them because the list just looked too short--and it was). So, the remaining 88 recipes don't fit any "style"?!? There are a lot of slow-cooker recipes, and I find it odd that those are NOT called out in the "Type" section.
It almost seems beside the point to mention that because it is a W-S-sponsored cookbook, these recipes will all be well-tested and will taste just fine as is, though they will lack that certain pizzazz that experienced cooks come to expect. After all this is a W-S book. Like all other W-S cookbook recipes, you will find a lot of "wiggle room", and ample opportunity to be creative and add a little more herb, spice or citrus. You will see ambiguous ingredients like "milk" without the kind of milk; you'll see "large", "medium", "small", without weight; you'll find "heat the oil in the wok" and you might not know how "hot" that oil needs to be for any one of 33 stir-fry recipes. You may also spend too much time debating what pot size to use or what size slow-cooker, because that is vague also.
So, for me, the verdict is still out on the value of this cookbook. I can hope that with time, my brain will adjust to this book. But for right now, I've spent about five hours studying the recipes and I must admit that not one stands out in my mind as one to plan on making this week--so unusual for me. There are very good recipes here, but while the way the recipes are laid out is interesting, the way they are laid out is not conducive to remembering them. I am, though, considering the W-S soup cookbook that came out previously this year and is set up this same way.
As an afterthought, Nov. 3, 2012: I have been planning and cooking meals for many, many years, and sometimes when I think about all the meals I've cooked I'm amazed at the responsibility I took on unknowingly: Choosing, planning and cooking meals for others is a huge responsibility--and once you start, it doesn't end. It all comes naturally to me now, but there was a time when it wasn't so easy. I suppose that this book could be a blessing to those younger cooks who often find themselves in a quandary as to what to make for dinner. This book can take part of the "responsibility" away from you when you are planning your week's menus and your mind is blank. Open this cookbook to the current week and make up your grocery list!