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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Jean Anderson Cooks: Her Kitchen Reference & Recipe Collection by Jean Anderson

ISBN-13: 978-0688013257
ISBN-10: 0-688-01325-2
Original publication date: 1982
Edition publication date: 1982
Format: hardcover
Publisher William Morrow & Company  
Pages: 560 w/index
Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.7 inches
# of recipes: 289 (more if you count the different variations of many recipes included)
Dietary scope: (Atkins, fat-free etc): none
Intended audience: regular cooks who want to broaden their horizons
Photos: none
Index: yes
Arrangement: main ingredient, plus a section by menu
Other information (i.e. - tips, history, etc): also contains through reference information
Lists Nutritional information: no
Lists Servings: yes
Utilizes packaged foods: no
Low fat: no
Low sodium: no
Low sugar: no
Low carb: no
Cost per recipe (listed cover price/#recipes): $.07 (using cover price on the dust jacket)
Recommended skill level:
Journeyman – I’m done with boxes – what’s next?

Points – (each question can have up to 5 points) 4
Hits the intended audience? 5
Picture to recipe ratio? 0
Good format? 3
Good table of contents? 3
Good index? 4
Cost per recipe (listed cover price/#recipes) 4
Anthropology rating: 5
% of recipes I would make (1 point per 20%): 5
I like? 5

I have to admit right off that the only reason that I originally bought this book was the author’s name.  We have a Jean Anderson where I work (who doesn’t cook), the book was in great shape and was $2.50, I didn’t bother to look inside.  I was very pleasantly surprised once I got home and started looking at the recipes.  I think that this cookbook could easily be a go to cookbook for someone who only wishes to own a handful of cookbooks.  It is interesting to note that the measurements are both given in “American” and in metric.

The author’s purpose is “to share my fascination with the alchemy of cooking and also pass along some favorite recipes that I’ve gathered from many parts of the world.”  Modern parents will be horrified by the author’s account of her first solo cooking experience the day she turned five.  Yes, there was a time when we allowed our children to learn from making their mistakes on their own.
The basics on choosing & buying ingredients are covered, along with basic recipes, but this book really stands out for the recipes where the author introduces the foods that she has loved from around the world like Kolja (Swedish-Style Haddock baked with dill, wine and cream), Stir-fried Green cabbage the East Indian Way, and Fauchon’s Fabulous Chocolate-raspberry Torte, to name just a few.  I was very surprised to find Anatolian Roast Loin of Pork with Cinnamon since Anatolia is in Turkey, an Islamic country, where they do not eat pork. A fact that the author also explains, this particular recipe is an adaption of a lamb recipe.  Cappadocian Lamb Shanks with Pea Beans and Mint was another pleasant surprise.

In our household vegetables seem to be the hardest thing, we seem to lack imagination for them, they always seem to be an afterthought, the meat dish is always the star.  I think we will be adding some very tasty recipes to our weekly menus thanks to this book.

The recipes each have a least a sentence or two about the recipe that either give a bit of its history or give you ideas on what to serve it with.  I am a great fan of cookbooks that include information about the recipes. Recipes do not spring ready made to the page, they evolved and it is interesting to see a bit of that evolution.  This information can perhaps be applied to other recipes, other situations.  Why not learn from other people’s mistakes or inspiration? 

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