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The Complete I Hate To Cook Cookbook: Peg Bracken

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  275 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Do you approach a food processor as if it were a high-tech guillotine? Would you rather hunt for a meal than cook it? But secretly, would you like to somehow, someway, and very quickly make a meal that would win you a standing ovation? Cry no more. Here's great news for the more than three million people who read and loved Peg Bracken's classic I Hate To Cook Book and its ...more
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P (first published April 28th 1986)
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I actually read the original 1960 edition of the I hate to cook book and thought it was absolutely hysterical. Completely bursting the bubble on the perception that all women love cooking, Peg's snarky comments and recipe instructions (like "light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink" while waiting for a roast to complete) will have you laughing all the way through. The only reason this book didn't get five stars is that shortcut recipes from the year 1960 have not aged well. I don't belie ...more
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
This is the first cookbook I ever read cover to cover. It is absolutely hilarious, full of advice like "if you happen to have an end of cheese in the fridge, toss that in." Full of anti-Martha tips and tidbits, this is the book that says it's ok if you don't really want to spend all afternoon in the kitchen. (Or if instead of cooking, you'd rather sit on the kitchen floor reading this book and laughing aloud.)
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dying to read this but it's hard to find--I think it may be out of print. The author just died recently, and the NY Times obituary made me fall in love with her. One of the recipes called for "staring sullenly at the sink while smoking a cigarette." Apparently my grandmother loved her cookbooks--I do remember LOTS of gooey casseroles made with canned cream of mushroom soup...But it's her writing I want to enjoy, not so much the food. Although I do enjoy a casserole from time to time...
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in Cookbooks, Cooking Nostalgia, 1960
I got this at the thrift store for .99 cents ions ago and I used it more when I ate more meat but I just can't part with this little treasure, it even smells old!!! Recipes include Hootenholler Whisky Cake, Pretty Tomato dressing, Let 'er Buck, Skid Road Stroganoff, and Elevator Lady Spice Cookies. I believe Peg Bracken the author passed away last year.
This book is filled with language like "When the kids raise cain about eating those carrots.......
I love the chapter headings in this book too.
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-pause, funny
So hilarious!! I laughed merely flipping through this book when I found it on a giveaway shelf. I took it and am so glad. I'm now reading it in earnest. I've only finished the Introduction to the Introduction and am now on page 2 of the actual Introduction, so far, and Ive been giggling the whole way! I'm not familiar with this writer, but I'm loving her style so far! I even like to cook (sometimes; and when I have time), but I can still completely relate to the sentiments she describes. This is ...more
Joyce McCombs
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peg Bracken has been my writing muse for more than 30 years. Her prose is just as good as her recipes, and when I found an old paperback copy of the IHTCB, I grabbed it for a quarter and was immediately hooked. No big time prep here, no fancy ingredients, just straightforward, simple and tasty dishes anyone can make with one whisk tied behind her back. Read it for a laugh, make a dish for dinner, and get ready to smile. Don't miss the Hooten Holler Whisky Cake.. it's the best!
Jun 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
This is a re-release of an old cookbook that my mom had from the 1970s. The author is very witty, so it's fun to read. A favorite recipe from this book was the chocolate cake that you mix entirely in the baking pan - no bowls needed.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
There are two ways you can read this book: 1) from a Feminine Mystique/Women's Room/Mad Men slice of 50's/early 60's kitchen-prison liberation, or 2) an actual cookbook.

1) This was written in 1960, before Betty Friedan's "problem with no name." And its full of subterfuge for the woman who doesn't want to waste her entire afternoon on a meal that's going to be devoured in 15 minutes. The recipes are presented along with some tips and tricks of social engineering - there's a lot of reading-between
Sep 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be clear, I do not hate to cook. In fact, I really enjoy cooking and consider it one of the fun/creative/rewarding things in my life. Nevertheless, I read this combination recipe/humor book with great pleasure. It is funny to realize how much food fashion changes with the decades (this cookbook is filled with mid-century recipes involving onion soup mix and cans of cream of mushroom soup), but chuckling at 1960s eating habits is not nearly as funny as Bracken's fabulous prose. The copy I have ...more
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, easy recipes. Not just for those who hate to cook - because I love to! The author/cook writes funny commentary inbetween each recipe too. Things like - fast, easy, and easy to double in the event of a larger war. This for a recipe called, "Aunt Henry's (Aunt? Henry?) Eggless Raisinful War Cake." Made it and loved it! With chapters like "Can't We Take Them Out to Dinner? No - Not Always," and, "Stealing from Knowledgeable People - I Seen Her When She Done It But I Never Let On," you can't n ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hamodia (Jewish newspaper) printed a
simple chocolate cake recipe from here (no mixing bowl required!) so I requested it at the
library and was quite tickled to learn it was illustrated by the same gentleman, Hilary Knight, who did
Eloise! There weren't many things I would make in here. The ingredients were severely
dated and much of it was even fussier than I ever get. Still I loved the writing and the
image she portrayed of a woman far too interested in other things to want to cook. I have
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book to read, although as something of a "foodie" her reliance on "cream of X soup" means that many of the recipes are not what I'd choose to make these days! Still- they do look reasonably tasty and pretty easy, and if one does not have a snobbish refusal of cream of X soup, I can see it being a very useful resource. I would have adored it 15 years ago, when I was actively mothering, for example.

And it is lots of fun to read!
I actually read the 1960 I Hate to Cook Book with the awesome Hilary Knight illustrations! The recipes may not have aged well but her commentary is still hysterically funny. For example: "Facts must be faced. Vegetables simply don't taste as good as most other things do." I love that she was defiant and unapologetic about not liking or wanting to cook at a time when many women were still feeling judged by their ability to cook, clean, and “keep house”.
Apr 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
The earlier edition of this book got me through the first couple years of marriage without poisoning my husband or guests. These are non gourmet meals for sure, but will feed a couple or a crowd with pleasing food that doesn't kill them.
I enjoyed using this book very much.

Then, he took over the cooking.
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fabulous easy recipes ... my favorite is for dinner rolls ... yeah it tells ya to go to the store buy a package of rolls and re-heat them ... that's my kind of cooking. plus i think it's hillarious that anytime a recipe calls for alcohol the author includes a swig for your as part of the recipe ... HAHA!!!
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
I read this when it was released originally in 1960, and enjoyed it very much. Bracken's sense of humor is excellent and the recipes work out nicely, too. Great little book for the beginning cook, too.
Johnny G
Peg is funny, but I wouldn't want to eat anything she concocts!
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cook-books
Witty paragraphs and explanations but most recipes sounded disgusting as well as impractical (I don't care if people come over after a movie, I'm not baking them anything that requires any work).
Sweep Steak 4-6 servings
(so-called because a couple of seasons ago this recipe swept the country.)
2-3 lbs round steak or pot roast
package of onion soup mix
Put the meat on a sheet of aluminum foil big enough to wrap it in. Sprinkle the onion-soup mix on top of it, fold the foil, air
Debra Daniels-zeller
This was my mother's favorite cookbook and after Mom passed away it sat unopened on my bookshelf. I've read it, tryng to unlock my mom's inner cook only to discover, she didn't have one. She hated cooking and I hated her cooking--bland boring, same old thing every night. "We don't fill up on bread. . ." Maybe it's best not to dredge those memories up. This book is definitely for women who don't like to cook and my mom fit that category. Most of the recipes include meat and at least one can or pa ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-read-list
This is a great book that I think every kitchen needs. Bracken is humorous and talented in the way she wrote and the recipes she devised. The recipes contain common ingredients that most will have in their kitchen and if not, they are easy to go to the local grocery and buy. The book contains recipes for all occassions and a good variety so that you will not get bored eating the same things over and over. I commute an hour to and from work each day and it seems that when I get home, I spend my t ...more
Sep 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbook
This is more of a Novel to read, than a cookbook. It does contain recipes, true. It does contain items of "I hate cooking" trivia, and it does contain amusing anecdotes. But ... I would hesitate to actually call it a cookbook.

Plus, even though I've read it, I am an acceptable cook, and I haven't tried any of the recipes.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this right after we were married in 1969. My copy fell apart, but I wrote my favorites on recipe cards and rescued some pages. Peg Bracken got me through kids' birthday parties, company dinners, and many many family meals.
It isn't often that a cookbook inspires laughing out loud, but this on and its companion did.
Molly Lingenfelter
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
I was 12 or 13 when I discovered this book, and I was hooked! Bracken has such a sharp sense of humor that it's one of the few cookbooks you can read cover-to-cover. The skid row stroganoff is pretty good, but most of the recipes themselves haven't aged well.
Anti Wibawa
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel-all
hv to read this .. i hate cooking as well... maybe this book was written for me :=)

having finished reading this book finally, not to my expectation, its just not type of book..however its a good book.
My mother had a copy of this book, though she loved to cook (hated housework, but loved to cook). I took it down just out of curiousity. Can't say I read any of the recipes, but the interlarded snippets were very funny.
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some good some not.
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culinary, funny
Love her. Love her books. 'Nuff said.
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple recipes for those who want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. A fun book.
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! I've never read a cookbook from cover to cover but I love the authors writing. It is a very funny read and there are lots of good recipes (tried by my mom and grandmother)
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cook book that's hilarious to read. Not exactly gourmet cuisine, though...
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“Facts must be faced. Vegetables simply don't taste as good as most other things do.” 12 likes
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