Ginny's Reviews > The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
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Feb 12, 08

bookshelves: cookbooks
Read in January, 2008

I'm one of those people who reads cookbooks cover to cover when I get them. Strange? This book was a re-gifted Christmas present from a friend who didn't want it. Their loss was my gain. I'd seen the book in the bookstore before and was turned off by the lack of photos and the atypical recipe format of not putting all the ingredients in one list at the start of the recipe.
However, as I started to make the first dishes I found that for actually cooking/baking this format is easier and better thought out than the more traditional method I am used to. I do note that when shopping for ingredients and making sure you have everything you need for the dish it does require a little more effort - not a significant enough reason not to prefer this way of setting out a recipe.
The book doesn't explain that it is divided into 2 sections the first being stock dishes and the second being nuances on the basics. It confused me at first but I got over it. I love that Alice explains in each section the method that should be used for preparing something - and also why it is important. This last part is so often omitted from recipes. For example you've likely heard that it is important to have butter at room temperature before folding it into sugar to make baked goods. I've known this forever, but when I've been in a time crunch I've fudged on this - I figured is it really that big a deal. Well it is and Alice explains why (the butter is a binding agent if it isn't soft enough to accept the sugar and then the eggs the bakery item won't be as light and fluffy and it should be).
In short I love this book. I love the layout, the philosophy (buying locally, seasonally), and each dish I've made so far was quite good (only made 3 so far but there will definitely be more).
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