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The I Hate to Cook Book
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The I Hate to Cook Book

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  547 ratings  ·  118 reviews
"There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who don't cook out of and have NEVER cooked out of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK, and the other kind...The I HATE TO COOK people consist mainly of those who find other things more interesting and less fattening, and so they do it as seldom as possible. Today there is an Annual Culinary Olympics, with hundreds of cooks from m ...more
Hardcover, Updated & Revised 50th Anniversary Edition, 224 pages
Published July 26th 2010 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1960)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  547 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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This rating is based entirely upon the writing and not upon the recipes. I'm not sure I have any intention of ever trying any of these recipes*, but would sort of love for a book group to read it and take them all pot-luck.

Essentially, Peg Bracken was the Amy Sedaris of 1960. She was the woman who thought it was your god-given right to have a cocktail during cocktail hour and not be fussing in the kitchen. Bracken acknowledges that many women don't like to cook, and that especially for a mother
Shesten Melder
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Story: This cookbook was first published in 1960. You know, before cholesterol was counted and before we knew better than to serve each baked potato with a stick of butter. This fiftieth anniversary edition is just as delightful as the first edition, with a Foreward by Jo Bracken, Peg's daughter. The book itself witty and funny, and perfect for the a)college student who is just learning to cook; b) newlywed who focused all of his/her time on lecture and not enough time on lab; c) the busy pr ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm old enough that I actually have one of her receipes (stayabed stew) clipped from Women's Day or some such magazine from the early 80's!

This book is a time capsule--there's no mention of microwaves, I think butter is an ingredient in every dish and she thinks the perfect desert is an Irish coffee. (She doesn't repeat the old joke, what's the perfect food? Irish coffee because it has the 4 food groups, caffeine, sugar, fat and alcohol!) It's written during the time when kids' birthday parties
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I used to roll my eyes at the idea of actually reading a cookbook and not just using it as a reference for recipes, but *this* one is worth reading! The author is funny and down-to-earth. Sure, the book is dated in a lot of ways (I don't think I can find an ice cube tray where the sections can be removed, and now that there are hair elastics that don't pull, I don't think I could convince my daughter to use a pipe cleaner for her ponytails). That's part of the charm, though. It's a nice little s ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have probably looked briefly at like 2000 cookbooks in my life.

There are like 20 that I have completely read.

This is one of the first cookbooks in my life that I really started using.

It is a great cookbook because 90% of the recipes are so easy yet they are at the same time so good.

With so many cookbooks, at least for me, a lot of the recipes are really not that great.

In this cookbook so many of the recipes are really good.

If I know somebody I like that is getting married this is the wedding g
Haley Mathiot
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
The I Hate to Cook Book starts off like this:

Some women, it is said, love to cook.
This book is not for them.

Basically, this book is for me.

The I Hate To Cook Book has tons of great recipes sorted in to simplistic chapters, each focusing on another important aspect of the chore of cooking: how to use leftovers, soups, salads, fancy meals for guests, last minute meals, cooking tips etc.

I loved the recipes in this book, and I actually (almost) want to get into a kitchen and try some of them out (
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the first edition of this cookbook with my son when we discovered my mother's unopened first edition at my father's house. We laughed and talked about the recipes and talked about my mother's reputation for cooking that was so bad that my father taught me to cook before I got to Junior High.

I remember laughing at Peg Bracken's recipe for the perfect martini -- only very cold Vodka and an olive -- and thinking that many of the recipes sounded like they would be good. The 50th Anniversary
Elisabeth Cohen
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was hilarious when I was young. I haven't reread it lately but the chocolate sauce recipe holds up.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I don't usually count cookbooks as "Books I've Read" BUT the I Hate to Cook Book begs to be read cover-to-cover. The recipes are true late-50s/early-60s monstrosities, but the commentary that accompanies them is delightful. Highly enjoyable (and let's be real; a couple tings in there don't sound that bad).
Do you HATE to cook? Would you rather do almost anything else, like paint the garage or weed the lawn? Do you resent having to slave over a hot stove night after night after night? Whatever happened to women’s lib, anyway?

Okay, maybe in the 21st century, women don’t always have to cook. But in 1960 the burden of housework still fell on women’s shoulders for the most part and Peg Bracken was fed up with it. Why would she want to waste hours on some gourmet meal her family wasn’t going to appreci
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I used to love to cook and bake. Now I only do it to keep us from starving and going broke from eating out.

This book is full of recipes that were popular in the 60’s. The book has many recipes that are quick, easy and have just a few ingredients, which are my favorite kinds of recipes. Many of the recipes use a “cream of” soup, but it would be easy to use healthier choices like “low fat” and “low sodium”, if you’re eating healthy. To make this cookbook even better, there is humor spread througho
Phyllis Barlow
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book back in the seventies when I married and started cooking for someone other than myself. I bought this edition to give to a friend and decided to read it again to see if I still liked it. I did. But it's important to keep in mind that this was written in 1960, and a lot of things we have now were not available then. (I'm looking at you, microwave oven.) Even if you never cook a single thing out of this book, read all of it because her style is so humorous that you will be c ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest reads I have had in a while. This is quick and enjoyable. I guess I should give it 4 since I won't make 95% of the recipes, but I just had such a good time reading it. Plus, there is this cool section at the end with all these tips that are like gold nuggets of household wisdom. A witty time capsule that still holds up today. However, I think many of these recipes are the reason my husband shutters at the word "casserole".

Update: I've made the Elevator Lady Spice Cookies twic
Elise Noorda
Aug 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Since I love to cook, and wonder about people who don't, I had to pick up this book when I saw it at the library. I actually kind of liked it, although the recipes didn't do much for me. What I liked was the idea that although she doesn't naturally like to cook, she recognizes that it is an important part of family life, and therefore something she needs to do. Many days I feel like that, too. A very funny section about how to sound like you are a cook. "Fatigue my lettuce" - I think the author ...more
Aug 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the commentary, not the recipes. Peg Bracken is the 1960's version of Rachael Ray or Sandra Lee - get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as you can. Too much condensed soup, bouillion cubes, etc. for my taste. But it's good to know that there were some women in that era that wanted to bust out of the kitchen and get to the party!
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
LOVE IT! And all her other books. Hate to cook, hate to cook cookbook, hate to housecleaning, her travel book. If she has other books, I need to read them, too!
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This cookbook is worth reading for the commentary, and some of the recipes are actually good, though a lot (most) depend on various canned things, especially canned mushroom soup. We've adopted (from the first edition and used for years) the bean salad recipe named here Aunt Bebe's Bean Bowl. The instructions state: "Mix everything together and marinate for twenty-four hours. Stir a few times, if you happen to think of it, while it marinates."
Recommended, even if you like to cook. Maybe you won'
Michelle Elizabeth
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I heard of this book from an article the daughter of Peg Bracken wrote. The article described the women that lunch and do charity work. This book is written for those who need to entertain but do not like to cook. Being a huge fan of cookbooks I had to order it. The original book was written in 1960 and I got the 50th anniversary edition with a forward explaining the changes in certain ingredients. I couldn't tell the difference from the usual fare of canned ingredients. It is heralded as the co ...more
Merri Su
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Entertaining and somewhat informative. More interesting when viewed as a glimpse into mid-century housewifery (e.g., the chapter on Ladies' Luncheon, which made me think of the book and movie The Help). Most of the recipes seemed to make use of cream of mushroom soup or similar, or canned or fresh mushrooms (meaning not for me) or onions in some form (meaning not for my dad, of whom I was thinking when I selected the book), though there were some good ideas to be gleaned.
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
Pretty hilarious, and actually helpful at the same time. She's got some wonderful cheats that still work great. The illustrations are delightful, the narrative voice is honest and charming, and it's one of my favourites (and the sequel is just as good if not better).

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informational
Grade: 5th an Up
Summary: A twist on a classic cook book. Say goodbye to complicated recipes that no one ever uses. These recipes are simple for the simple minded

Review: I am someone who actually loves to cook. However, my mother hates to cook so this was a treat for her. But it was a treat for me too!
•Teach about cooking
•Teach about recipes
•Teach about s informational text
Hannah Givens
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, humor
I have now read all of the reading-parts of this book, and they were hilarious. I will further update this review when I've tried some of the recipes -- not all of them, some of them are dated either in ingredients or in flavor, but some of them look pretty tasty and all of them look pretty easy, so it's worth a go!
Another cookbook I received from my mother when I married. I have her copy so I have the 1960's version that she used to make occasional meals from. I would like to see the updated one just to see what changes were made over the years.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-complete
This book was great for the stories, the helpful hints were a blast. I might cook one or two of the recipes but by today's standards not quite so healthy. Definitely a humorous walk back in time.
Ruth Lym
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I thought this would be a better cook book than it is. It was written before we knew much about healthy/unhealthy. I tried a couple of the recipes and the results were "meh"
Pat Mckay
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food-cooking
The author's personality is very appealing; the food, less so.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
not bad at all
if you are a reluctant adult
this will assist with said adulting
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Going to have to buy my own copy of this one
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love to cook, but this book was a hoot. Funny, sarcastic, and even some useful tips, written a long time ago before anyone called them "Life Hacks".
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Surprisingly entertaining cookbook with fascinating insights into midcentury American food. Most of these recipes I would never actually make, but I love reading cookbooks for their historical and cultural value.

Food in 1960s America:

--I was surprised to learn that curry powder was considered a staple of Bracken's pantry, even in 1960!(8)
--As I learned from my reading of Meet the Austins, lamb (14-17) was a very popular meat in the 1960s, and I wonder what political/economic forces made lamb vir
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“There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who don't cook out of and have NEVER cooked out of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK, and the other kind...The I HATE TO COOK people consist mainly of those who find other things more interesting and less fattening, and so they do it as seldom as possible. Today there is an Annual Culinary Olympics, with hundreds of cooks from many countries ardently competing. But we who hate to cook have had our own Olympics for years, seeing who can get out of the kitchen the fastest and stay out the longest." - Peg Bracken” 4 likes
“4½ ounces cream cheese ½ cup butter 1 cup flour jelly or preserves Sugar Belle melts her butter, blends it with the cheese, and stirs in the flour to make a nice smooth dough. Then she puts it in the freezing compartment for about an hour, until it’s firm. Next, she nips little pieces off, about the size of golf balls, rolls them out, trims them into squares, and puts a teaspoon of jelly on each. (If you wonder why Sugar Belle doesn’t just roll the whole thing out and cut it into squares, it is because the dough is hard to handle that way.) Then she folds them into triangles, seals the edges with a floured fork, and bakes them on a greased cooky sheet at 450º until they’re brown, which is from ten to fifteen minutes. And when she puts a big plateful of these in front of her husband, you just ought to see his face light up!” 0 likes
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