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A Cook's Book: The Essential Nigel Slater

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by Nigel Slater
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The appeal of this collection of good home cooking recipes is summed up in Nigel Slater’s own words:

A recipe must work. Otherwise, what is its point? At its most basic it is simply a set of instructions for making something to eat. Fine, if that is all you want. Such recipes are concise, neat, spare. But I also enjoy those that are more than just cold instructions, those that are more than simply ‘do this, do that.’ The best recipes are those that not only work but a delight to read, contain a useful tip or two, and guide the reader to a useful result with ease. I like to hear the voice of the cook who tempted me to follow their recipe, to feel they are beside me in the kitchen as I cook, a guide and a friend.

Slater writes recipes just like that. 

A longtime food columnist in the UK and the author of fifteen previous books, he cooks food which is sometimes unmistakably British—Cumberland sausage with cheddar roasted-potato mash; smoked haddock and mussel pie—and a page or two later he’s suggesting food which is resolutely, nimbly not of any single tradition: broccoli with pumpkin seeds and bread crumbs; ground lamb with lime and cilantro.

In that recipe for the lamb with lime and cilantro, Slater gives us the conversation and guidance he wants from a recipe: “Add the lamb and let it color appealingly. It should go a rich golden color.” 

This is a clearly practical book with an abundance of practical recipes. But it’s also a tonic against cooking by rote and becoming trapped in a culinary rut.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

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