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By Thomas Keller
Artisan - 2009

July 31st, 2010 (edited 31st July 2010)

I really like this cookbook and love the Cookbooker Challenge. Without it I probably wouldn't have purchased this book. It has been so much fun to see what other people are cooking! This book is beautiful to look at, well laid out and has so many useful tips. It would make a great coffee table book except for the fact that my copy is now looking well used from the challenge.

I like that there are many easy recipes to make. These have few ingredients or can be prepped ahead, yet they still come out tasting restaurant-worthy like the Wild Cod en Persillade and the Pan-Roasted Halibut. However, there are also so many recipes that require numerous steps like the Iceberg Lettuce Slices. Who knew a salad could be so complicated!?

Almost everything I have made has been really, really good and Keller's cooking times are pretty spot on. Some negatives? In addition to being turned off by the overly complicated dishes I have found that I really didn't need to use nearly as much butter as some of the dishes call for- especially some of the vegetable dishes. They are still great with less. Also- the Piment d'Espellete that seems to feature frequently in many of the recipes I have been most interested in is $196 a pound!!! ($54 for four ounces!) at Kalustyan's here in NYC. I find this outrageous even if you are using just a little at a time. But if those are my only complaints, so be it!

I really love this cookbook and am looking forward to trying even more recipes- as are my family and friends. Though they would really appreciate it if I would stop photographing the dishes as they come out of the kitchen, so they can eat food that is still hot. Everything just looks and tastes so delicious that I feel the need to document it!