An oldie but goodie. Others say it more eloquently thanI can.
For those familiar with Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, this book should be on your cookbook shelf and used often ! For those not familiar with him, get this book and you will get much of the feel of the TV show. Although we have not seen the TV show in quite some time, and believe it is no longer shown in the United States, it was one of the best cooking shows ever done. This book was the first in the series and out of the three we own, it's our favorite. There are sections on the spices and special tools he uses and the recipes are easy to follow and delicious. We especially like the Pan-fried chicken strips and Barbecue Shrimp, which we just had for dinner and inspired this review. If you doubt me, imagine a pound and a half of shrimp baked in a sauce containing bacon, margarine, dijon mustard, chili powder,garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, freshly ground black pepper, tabasco sauce, and crab boil. Served over plain white rice to soak up that sauce... Mmm Mmm...makes me want to go and make another batch right now ! O.K., you don't like shrimp, how about chicken? Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into pieces, sauteed in olive oil, green onions, garlic, marsala wine and lemon juice with freshly ground black pepper to top it off. You'll swear there's salt in it, but there isn't. There's lots more in there, so get the book !!!
With recipes prepared on the popular public TV (PBS) program, The Frugal Gourmet, this cookbook covers a wide variety of styles, tastes, and meals. I started watching the show when I was still in high school, and began trying out these recipes by the time I was in college. I have had great success with every recipe I've tried from this book (such a small book, yet filled with information that would require more than 10 books combined to compile the gems in this one).
The recipes have a little history or story with each one, and are well-laid out. They are easy to follow, and I would assume, look and taste as good as one would expect Jeff's own results would. You can't go wrong with any of these.
Rosemary chicken, Mexican-style pork, Northern Chinese pork, are but a few main dishes that I've done with ease in my own kitchen.
This is not only a great cookbook, but also a wonderful reference for anyone who has a desire to start cooking or learn more about cooking to complement their skills in the kitchen. It is a shame that the TV program no longer airs (but all good things must come to an end).
Enjoy the recipes, and enjoy elevating your skills to gourmet standards!
Why do I say this is a must-have classic? because this cookbook represents a landmark in the world of home cooking... that is, it brings so much passion and doable recipes of stuff that your basic home cook wouldn't have attempted, that it deserves a share of cookbook history. Any reviewer who says it's mediocre hasn't explored it. This book is the bridge between the Julia Child era... which brought average cooks into the kitchen to do dishes like Chicken Cordon Bleu for the first time... to the Emeril Lagasse/Bobby Flay/Paula Deen era where average home cooks now are unafraid to tackle ANY dish, ANY cuisine. Not only that, but there are dozens of keeper recipes in here, ones that you'll make time and time again. Among my friends, the pasta dishes are all favorites, especially Pasta Carbonara... if you like chicken livers the Chicken Liver Pasta is to die for... the Linguine with Clam Sauce is every bit as wonderful in 2007 as it was in 1977. I could go on and on, but this cookbook has something for everyone, explores countless techniques from Asian to Early American, does lowfat/lowcal 20 years before they were stylish, offers eclectic to comfort food. And unlike a lot of cookbooks, including ones from Rachel Ray or Emeril or Sara Moulton, this one has spot-on recipes from cover to cover... no dogs. This book should be on your cookbook shelf for life.