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Joined: December 21st, 2009

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October 17th, 2022

Pasta e Fagioli from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

An easy and delicious soup. I used lardons for the meat. We were thinking that chicken sausages would be good, saucisse de volaille or merguez de volaille, cut in quarters lenghtwise, then into little... read more >

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64 books reviewed. Showing 1 to 50Sort by: Rating | Title

100 Essential Curries. Madhur Jaffrey (My Kitchen)

By Madhur Jaffrey
Ebury - 2011

November 21st, 2012

Yes, another of those books with numbers in the tile. From a series of books by well-known chefs. What I don't like about this book is that it looks like there's nothing new here -- all the recipes are repeats from other Jaffrey books. Which would be OK if the source were indicated on each recipe. Even a list of source books in the back would be better than nothing.

There are *only* recipes. None of the extra information about ingredients or techniques that you might like to have is there.

But it seems to be a good selection of recipes, at least I recognize a number of favorites from my other Jaffrey books. I feel a bit cheated, but if you had to have only one Indian cookbook, this might be a good choice. Maybe.

200 Budget Meals (Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook)

By Sunil Vijayakar
Hamlyn - 2008

May 31st, 2018

This is not a cookbook anyone would choose based on the title alone. I found it when, after having a good time cooking from Vijayakar's 30 Minute Indian, I went looking for other books he had written and found this one very well reviewed at Amazon UK and at a budget price.

Not sure about the budget-ness of recipes using shrimp, calamari, pomegranate, and other vaguely exotic bits of food, but the dishes I've made have been uniformly tasty, easy, and fast to prepare.

30 Minute Indian: Cook Modern Indian Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less. (30 Minute Cooking)

By Sunil Vijayakar, William Reavell
Laurel Glen Publishing - 2000

June 30th, 2016 (edited 24th July 2016)

(The cover showing here is not the cover on my book. ???)

Random thoughts as I'm reading/using this book:
- There are lots of pictures, unlabelled, and often with little or nothing to do with the recipe on whose page they sit. A pile of turmeric tells me what?
- The glossary of ingredients differentiates between brown (yellow?) and black mustard seeds and gives no info if they are interchangeable. Recipes call for "mustard seeds" with no further clue.
- I do not like the way that the page numbers are at the top on the left-hand page only, looking like a chapter number.
- There are some editing errors.

365 Ways to Cook Pasta

By Marie Simmons
Harpercollins - 1996

April 4th, 2015

Yeah, yeah, 365 ways to cook anything, a bit of a silly gimmick. But this is actually quite a good collection of a variety of pasta recipes. It doesn't address making fresh pasta, not surprisingly. Full of good recipes, though.

American Wholefoods Cuisine: Over 1300 Meatless, Wholesome Recipes from Short Order to Gourmet (Plume)

By Nikki Goldbeck, David Goldbeck
Plume - 1984

February 15th, 2010 (edited 9th July 2010)

This book was never very popular, but I find it one of the best vegetarian cookbooks around. I've met vegetarians who swear by it. Yet it never appears on anyone's favorite cookbooks lists. Very puzzling.
It's a very plain book, no photos, no drawings, no fancy layout, kind of a Joy of Cooking for vegetarians. Nothing very exotic, but good, interesting food.

The Art of Cooking for Two

By Coralie Castle, Astrid Newton
101 Productions - 1976

December 28th, 2009 (edited 28th December 2009)

This is one of my Desert Island cookbooks. Lots of useful recipes and good directions. It's really an old-fashioned cookbook, rather than a recipe book. My copy is held together with a rubber band and still used frequently. Lots of favorites here. Good ideas/suggestions for vegetables.

Asian Vegetarian Feast: Tempting Vegetable And Pasta Recipes From The East

By Ken Hom
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1997

January 24th, 2014

Despite the title, this is *not* a vegetarian cookbook. One of the mainstay ingredients is chicken stock, which Hom says is necessary because of the added taste. Last time I looked chicken was not a vegetable. Not that there aren't some good recipes here, but the title is a lie.

Beard on Pasta

By James Beard
Random House Value Publishing - 1994

January 10th, 2016 (edited 26th May 2016)

I think this may be one of the first serious books on pasta aimed at the general cooking public published in the US (1983). It's a good read (it is James Beard after all). There are lots of "standard" pasta recipes, and lots of new-to-me variations. I haven't cooked from it yet, but looking forward to it.
Fresh pasta: Barbara Kafka's Buckwheat Noodles, Avocado Pasta, several versions of ravioli
Dry pasta: Chêvre-Tomato Spaghetti, Orzo Soufflé.
A keeper.

The Best Ever French Cooking Course

By Carole Clements, Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen
Hermes House - 2002

December 23rd, 2009 (edited 8th December 2017)

This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I don't understand why it's not better known and more popular. It's full of classic French recipes, well explained and well illustrated. Many favorite recipes here.

24aug12: I have been given (and will pass along to a friend) a book called French Food and Cooking by the same authors, same publisher, new ISBN (1846814154). I've turned the pages and they are the same book inside. A search for the ISBN leads to Simple French Cooking by Clements only, which may or may not be the same book yet again.

Inside French Food and Cooking, it says the book was previously published as The French Recipe Cookbook, which is not the title I own and first saw. Ah, but I now see that mine has the same statement.

A search for French Food and Cooking by title at amazon.co.uk turns up a book with the same title and cover, but another ISBN altogether!

What on earth is going on with this?

8dec17: Have seen this book with yet another title. Bizarre.

Big Flavors of the Hot Sun: Recipes and Techniques from the Spice Zone

By Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby, Alan Witschonke
William Morrow & Co - 1994

August 16th, 2010 (edited 16th August 2010)

I love this book and have used it lots. Rarely has there been any kind of disappointment.

The introduction starts with one of my favorite food quotes: "Subtlety in food does not impress me. I like big, loud flavors—sweet, sour, hot, salty, aromatic, pungent, tingling—preferably all in the same bite."

What I *don't* like about this book is that I coughed up money for a hardback and it fell apart almost immediately. This wasn't from abuse, but from poor manufacturing quality. My copy of The Thrill of the Grill (S&W's earlier book) has done the same thing. Shame on the publishers, William Morrow and Company, Inc!

The Bold Vegetarian

By Bharti Kirchner
HarperCollins,Australia - 1995

March 31st, 2017 (edited 5th January 2019)

This book was highly recommended to me at some point, although I can't remember whose idea it was. It lingered on my Want list for a long time before I finally found myself a copy.
After a read through, it seemed to me that I would have saved quite a few stickies by marking the recipes that weren't especially interesting vs marking the ones I'd like to make.
Certainly a good read cookbook-wise with a very appealing selection of recipes that are high on flavor.
Now to the cooking ...

Bread Machine Baker

By Elizabeth Harbison
Gramercy - 2001

August 7th, 2020

It surprises me I'm the only one who has this book. It's full of good recipes, most of which I haven't reviewed. Being back in bread-making mode for the duration of the pandemic, I've been baking a lot. Picked this up today. Had forgotten how much I liked it. The only problem is that the breads are all small loaves.

The Cooking of Spain and Portugal, plus accompanying Recipes: The Cooking of Spain and Portugal (Time-Life Foods of the World)

By Peter S. Feibleman, The Editors of Time-Life Books, Dmitri Kessel, Brian Seed
Time-Life Books - 1977

November 3rd, 2014

The hardback was a much better read than Quintet. Recipes I tried were pretty good, but a bit on the oily side. Also a bit blander than I expected.

Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco

By Paula Wolfert
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1987

July 17th, 2011

I have the same title, same ISBN, but different cover and different publisher. ???

Cover & Bake (Best Recipe)

By John Burgoyne, Daniel J. Van Ackere, Carl Tremblay, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Cook's Illustrated Magazine, Cook's Illustrated Magazine, John Burgoyne, Daniel J. Van Ackere, John Burgoyne, Carl Tremblay, Daniel J. Van Ackere, Cook's Illustrat
America's Test Kitchen - 2004

January 28th, 2019 (edited 28th January 2019)

This book is going in the recycle box. We weren't happy with the one recipe I've made from it. I thought I would use it as my "cookbook-of-the-month" for next month, so today I found some recipes and put them on my meal plan. Then I sat back and thought, I really don't want to make any of those. Vindaloo with a whole 1/4 tsp of cayenne, where the usually amount is multiples of whole teaspoons. And with tomato sauce. Never. Nope. Removed my stickies, found another book, and replan. Away with this one. I expect more from Cook's Illustrated.

Desperation Dinners

By Beverly Mills, Alicia Ross
Workman Publishing Company - 1997

March 22nd, 2011 (edited 29th August 2019)

In spite of the rather cutesy name, this book is actually quite good. It's full of interesting and tasty recipes that can be prepared quickly.

Dinners for Two, Menus and Music: Vol IV

By Sharon Oconnor
Menus Music - 1991

December 26th, 2014

Review based on the single menu that I've tried.

This was a gift, an interesting idea for a book (and three before before it). There are complete menus for two from "romantic country inns" with a cassette of music from the San Francisco String Quartet.

For our xmas dinner I made an interesting menu from the Hotel Hana-Maui. While we enjoyed everything we ate, the recipes themselves were rather weak.

The starter recipe was probably originally for six (or more) and was very badly/incompletely cut back for two. The dessert recipe may also have been meant for more than two, or else it was for two gluttons.

The instructions are not especially well written or edited. E.g., one ingredient list calls for lamb stock or chicken broth, while the instructions call for lamb or beef.

The menu I made was relatively easy to make and serve. Other menus seem to me like you'd need someone to help with the cooking (who wasn't eating) to be able to get them on the table in a reasonable time.

It would be very nice to have a time line for the preparation with each menu.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse

By John Stage, Nancy Radke, James Scherzi
Ten Speed Press - 2001

May 29th, 2015

Most of the recipes in this book used their Mutha Sauce, which may indeed be good, but requires tomato sauce and ketchup, neither of which are used in this tomato allergy house.
I've copied a couple of non-Muthat recipes and will pass the book on, freeing up a skinny bit of shelf space.

Dutch Delight

By Sylvia Pessireron, Jurjen Drenth
N & L Publishing - 2005

July 5th, 2012

This book has a cute concept, fun photos and looks at Dutch traditions and food. It's aimed at tourists and was sold for a while in museums, etc. (One hopes it's gone now.) I tried to write the publisher, hoping they'd fix some of the more egregious errors, but couldn't find an address for them in the book or online. Don't think they want to know. E.g. there is one word in Dutch for protein and egg white (eiwit); you have to know by context what you're talking about. You'd think that professional food writers would know of this difficulty--not. To be admired for the pics and the cute look at Dutch life. Not for recipes.

Eating Together: Recipes and Recollections

By Lillian Hellman, Peter Feibleman
Little, Brown and Company - 1984

January 25th, 2016

A fun read, with his and hers sections—first reminiscences and recipes from Lillian Hellman; then the same from Peter Feibleman (who wrote a couple of the Time-Life Foods of the World books). They were both from New Orleans and apparently close friends. She died as this book was being readied to print.

I haven't cooked from this yet, but have marked quite a few recipes, more in Feibleman's section.

The Eating Well Rush Hour Cookbook: Healthy Meals for Busy Cooks

By Magazine of Food and Health, Elizabeth Hiser, Eating Well Magazine
Eating Well Book - 1995

December 2nd, 2013

This book has 15 menus per season, meals that can be prepared in one hour. When I was working, my definition of a fast meal was only 30 minutes, so I'd have to think about using this book on weeknights.

Each menu comes with a timetable to see you through the preparation. In the one menu I've made so far, this was very helpful for keeping on track. And the food was excellent.

I'll definitely be using this book more often.

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

By Marcella Hazan
Knopf - 1992

May 25th, 2010 (edited 25th May 2010)

If you have to have only one Italian cookbook, this would be it. It's not a fancy book with lots of glossy photos, but it is full of good, solid recipes. I've been using it for years and am now using it even more recently since I joined the Cooking Italy group at Spinach Tiger where Angela is leading us in cooking with this book.
A few recipes have had problems, but these have been 1) sweets (so not so interesting to me) and 2) easily recognized so you can correct the problem.
Hazan does seem to have problems with the portions, so you should use you common sense and experience when looking at the recipes.

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

By Tamar Adler, Alice Waters, Alice Waters
Scribner - 2012

August 4th, 2013

One of the very best food-lit books I've read, really a treat. Elegant and thoughtful writing, as well as some good recipe ideas along the way. I think this book will stay out, to be dipped into occasionally.

Fast Vegetarian Feasts

By Martha Rose Shulman
Main Street Books - 1986

October 28th, 2010

This is a very good vegetarian cookbook. I would certainly consider it for my Desert Island cookbook shelf. The pressed tofu recipe is worth the price of the book.

Shulman defines "fast" as recipes that can be made in 45 minutes or less. My working definition was usually 30 minutes, since I know kitchen time often expands beyond the time planned. There are quite a few recipes here that will take more than 45 minutes, including a chapter on "Recipes for the Sunday cook".

Nevertheless there are a lot of tasty recipes and good menu suggestions here.

Favorite Bread Machine Recipes (Magnetic Book)

By Donna R. German
Bristol Publishing Enterprises - 1997

September 19th, 2011

This tiny thing one was of my first ABM books, and the most used until I got German's The Big Book of Bread Machine Recipes. All the recipes here (supposedly, I haven't checked thoroughly) are included in that book, along with the recipes from four(?) other tiny books in this magnetic series.

Flavors of the Southwest: Vegetarian Style (Healthy World Cuisine)

By Robert Oser
Book Publishing Company (TN) - 1998

February 28th, 2019

Picked this up as a candidate for my cookbook-of-the-month project. Couldn't find much I wanted to cook and was attracted to it in any way. Into the recycle box with it.

Good and Cheap

By Leanne Brown
http://www.leannebrown.ca/ - 2014

August 7th, 2014

This is a book written by a food studies student aimed at helping folks using food stamps to eat well. My first impression is very good.

Like many good cookbooks, the recipes are are guides, lots of variations are suggested.

A PDF copy of the book can be downloaded here:

The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine From The Celebrated Restaurant

By Deborah Madison, Edward Espe Brown
Bantam - 1987

June 22nd, 2020


How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart

By Pam Anderson
Broadway - 2000

January 31st, 2010 (edited 31st January 2010)

I find this a very useful book. Aimed at week-night cooking, it provides formulas (supported by little "poems" :-) for various bits of the dinner, a master recipe with variations following the same technique. Nothing really new, but the organization makes it very useful. The section on pan sauces is worth the book. I'd never really looked at a sauce like this as a technique, but now I find they quickly dress up a simply sauteed bit of meat.

The serving sizes are generally very generous.

The Italian Slow Cooker

By Michele Scicolone
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - 2010

March 4th, 2018

There are a number of really good recipes in this book, things I will make again, no doubt. But quite a few, e.g., Calamari Soup and Tomato and Red Wine Sauce, I just don't see why you'd bother with the crockpot.

Jeannette's secrets of everyday good cooking

By Jeannette Seaver
Knopf : distributed by Random House - 1975

March 17th, 2010 (edited 13th September 2013)

This is another of my Desert Island Cookbooks. I love this book! Seaver is a working French worman, married to an American, striving to maintain her French standards for meals and the preparation of food. We must have 3-course, family meals. The food is great. I don't think I've made one recipe we didn't like. The chapter on leftovers is wonderful.

There are chapters on
- The basics (doughs, sauces, salads, etc.)
- Family dinners (menus)
- Small dinner parties (up to 8)
- Large parties
- Things to do with leftovers

Jump up and Kiss Me: Spicy Vegetarian Cooking

By Jennifer T. Thompson
Ten Speed Press - 1996

May 31st, 2010

Spicy Vegetarian Cooking — sounds like a good idea, but somehow the book doesn't click with me. I've tried a few things, with varying levels of success, but they seem a bit iffy. Not recommended for beginning cooks.

Ken Hom's Hot Wok : Over 150 one-pan Wonders

By Ken Hom
BBC Books - 1996

January 6th, 2010 (edited 2nd March 2010)

Loved the series and love the book. Lots of stickies and notes from recipes I've made. The recipes tend to be a bit salty; now I never add any extra salt Hom may prescribe.

The Kitchen Congregation: A Daughter's Story of Wives and Women Friends

By Nora Seton
Picador - 2001

April 9th, 2010

This is more kitchen literature than a cookbook, but I have marked a number of recipes to try. It's a memoir of a daughter and her mother and friends, their lives certering around their kitchens. I loved it and my husband loved it. I've pulled it down to read again, and might even try a recipe.

Kitchen Scraps

By Pierre Lamielle
Whitecap Books Ltd. - 2009

February 14th, 2010

A new book for me. I've made only one recipe so far, and it was a hit. The book is a great read, very funny with clever illustrations. There are lots of laugh-out-loud bits you'll want read aloud to your partner, annoying him/her to no end.


By Martha Rose Shulman
Bantam - 1992

March 23rd, 2011

Of course, the real title of this book is Main-Dish Salads.

A small book, but full of really good recipes for exactly what the title says - vegetarian main-dish salad.

Some of the portions seem to be a bit on the small side, or else we eat more that we should.

Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

By Madhur Jaffrey
Barron's Educational Series - 1983

December 21st, 2009

Probably my first Indian cookbook, bought after I saw bits of the series on the BBC. Much used, with many favorites. Sometimes tending to be too oily or salty, but this is easily remedied. Quick list of favorites (noted in front of book):
Gujarati-style green beans, p102
Raita, p162
Lentils with garlic & onion, p124
Spicy baked chicken, p71
Rice with peas, p149
Simple buttery rice with onions, p145
Seviyan ki kheer, p192
Spicy green beans, p103
Aromatic yellow rice, p153
Onion relish, p174
Yogurt with eggplant, p164
Lemony chicken with fresh coriander, p73
Carrot & onion salad, p171

Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking

By Madhur Jaffrey, Philip Salaverry
Chronicle Books - 1996

December 22nd, 2009

One of my favorite cookbooks, Indian recipes that you can make on the spur of the moment. There are some errors in the book, although it's fairly easy to work around them. There's a newer edition now, and I'm curious to see it, but don't think I'd replace my well-used old one.

Marcella Cucina

By Marcella Hazan
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1997

September 13th, 2011 (edited 13th September 2011)

This was my first Hazan book (from either of them), and one of my favorites. The layout and lovely photos make it more approachable then Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. It's still a cookbook I go to when I'm looking for something interesting for dinner.

Recipes include Ahead-of-Time notes which are very handy. In the Pasta chapter, each recipe has a Suggested Pasta section, very useful for learning what kinds of sauce go best with what kinds of pasta.

Mediterranean Hot: Spicy Recipes from Southern Italy, Greece, Turkey & North Africa

By Aglaia Kremezi
Artisan - 1996

February 18th, 2011

I picked this book up on a remainder table for a amazingly low price, making it a really good buy. We've really enjoyed all the recipes I've tried. A few have minor problems that should have been caught in the editing, but nothing insurmountable.

Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day

By Moosewood Collective
Simon & Schuster - 1994

February 4th, 2010

This is definitely one of my Desert Island Cookbooks. It probably has more used and repeated recipes than any other cookbook I have (and I have a lot). This is the book where Moosewood realized that people cooking at home have a limited amount of time. Recipes are fast, easy, and tasty.

Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals

By Moosewood Collective
Clarkson Potter - 1996

October 7th, 2010 (edited 7th October 2010)

I've never been a fan of the low-fat fad, but do believe in careful eating. This book has a number of household favorites, and there a still lots of stickies for recipes I mean to try.

The fish section is especially good.

The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet

By Pierre Franey
Ballantine Books - 1985

January 24th, 2020

This books is a really good read. The recipe headnotes could almost be published as a separate book.

Each main course recipes is accompanied by a recipe of a side dish, and all can be prepared within an hour. The one main dish I've made so far was delicious.

A recipe for Pommes Vapeur appears a half dozen times, the same but different each time.

Nothing Fancy: Recipes and Recollections of Soul-Satisfying Food

By Diana Kennedy
North Point Pr - 1989

February 28th, 2011

I really have enjoyed this book. Diana Kennedy, author of the classic books on Mexican cuisine, has written a lovely book about recipes she grew up with and enjoys making.

Oriental Cook Book (Kitchen Library)

By Lorna Turpin
Hamlyn - 1994

November 16th, 2020 (edited 14th December 2020)

I haven't really cooked from this book, but find it very annoying.
- It's without page numbers. The recipes are numbered, and that's it.
- At least one recipe has you *make* coconut milk from a fresh coconut rather than opening a can or carton. Why bother? This isn't a heavy-duty authentic food experience cookbook.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

By Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi
Ebury Press - 2010

April 6th, 2013

Have dashed through the book and marked many, many recipes to try. First impressions ...
- Lots of wasted space. Pages and pages lost to photographs, full page pics of dishes (of minor use) and other food-related stuff (of no use at all). I have the feeling that something like 1/4 of the pages are photographs. No wonder the book is so expensive!
- Way too many recipes for sweets in relation to real food.
- This is clearly not a book aimed at beginning cooks, but there are overly detailed instructions for things like peeling tomatoes which you probably already know how to do. Weird.
- Font is difficult to read.
Will update comments after cooking from this a bit.

The Pasta Machine Cookbook (A Nitty Gritty Cookbook) (Nitty Gritty Cookbooks)

By Donna Rathmell German
Bristol Publishing Enterprises - 1993

February 12th, 2017 (edited 12th February 2017)

Not sure why I haven't reviewed this book, since it's one of my go-to books when I want fresh pasta. There are some interesting pasta recipes (although I must say I mostly use Marcella Hazan's two eggs+1cup flour recipe) and lots of good sauces.

There's a section on gluten-free pastas. I haven't tried any of these.

The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accessories

By David Lebovitz
Ten Speed Press,U.S. - 2007

August 24th, 2015

This is a much-used cookbook, with lots of interesting recipes and many more still to do.
I don't like the emphasis on egg-custard ice creams which are good, but rich, and too much bother for every day.
The recipes tend to be too sweet. I cut the sugar back by about 1/3 and we find them great like that.


By Brigit Legere Binns, Debroah Denker
Chronicle Books - 1996

December 26th, 2017

We've really enjoyed this book, having had several holiday meals from it. I've not used the non-dinner recipes, but will try to correct this omission.

The recipes are generally well written, often with helpful instructive photographs. Most of the dishes also have photos of the final product.

The Pure and simple: Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine: The Art of Mughal Cuisine

By Vidhu Mittal
Roli Books Pvt Ltd - 2008

March 27th, 2017

No index!

Haven't really used this book, but it's made hard to use by the lack of an index. Grrr...

A candidate for recyling just because of this.