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Friday, May 18, 2012

The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken

Library of Congress: 60-10919
Original publication date: 1960, first edition
Edition publication date:
Format: hardcover
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World
Pages: 176, including index
Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
# of recipes: 175-200 (176)
Dietary scope: (Atkins, fat-free etc): none
Intended audience: people who hate to cook
Photos: none
Index: yes
Arrangement: by category
Other information (i.e. - tips, history, etc): includes, tips, advice, sample menus
Lists Nutritional information: no
Lists Servings: yes
Utilizes packaged foods: does used items like canned soups
Low fat: no
Low sodium: no
Low sugar: no
Low carb: no
Cost per recipe (listed cover price/#recipes): $.13 (using the cover price of the current edition)
Recommended skill level:
Apprentice – I can’t make dinner without a box, or the telephone
Points – (each question can have up to 5 points) 3.56 – a perfect 4 without pictures
Hits the intended audience? 5
Picture to recipe ratio? 0
Good format? 5
Good table of contents? 4
Good index? 5
Cost per recipe (listed cover price/#recipes) 4
Anthropology rating: 4
% of recipes I would make (1 point per 20%): 4
I like? 5

The scope of the cookbook is stated with its first words – “Some women it is said, like to cook. This book is not for them.”
Can a cookbook be witty? 
“Don’t recoil from the odd sounding combination of ingredients here, because it’s actually very good.  Just shut your eyes and go on opening those cans.” So says the comment before the recipe for Beef a la King.

Regardless of what the books says if you like to cook you will enjoy this cookbook too.  How could you not want to make things like Cancan Casserole, Hurry Curry, or Tia Juana Tamale? 
It is written as if your older sister is initiating you into the secret sisterhood of hopeless cooks, guiding you through the most horrific situations.  Potlucks?  No problem.  Holiday dishes to bring to the family get together? You’re covered.  With this book in hand you can walk boldly into your kitchen and come out with dishes worthy of fancy cooking magazines.  Do you have company coming and wonder what to cook?  Wonder no more, this book walks you through it.  How about Orange Sunday’s for dessert?  Hold on to your seats, this is pretty complicated!  Take slightly thawed frozen orange juice and pour it over vanilla ice cream, then sprinkle with either orange zest or bitter chocolate shavings.  I would go with the chocolate, for some reason people find that impressive.
This cookbook shows you that with a few ingredients you can make meals that not only taste great but look impressive too.  Friends and family will be oohing and awing over your dishes and they will have not one inkling that you hate to cook.

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