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Book Cover: The River Cafe Look Book
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The River Cafe Look Book

Ruth Rogers, Sian Wyn Owen, Joseph Trivelli, and Matthew Donaldson
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Regular price $29.95

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Originally announced as The River Cafe Cookbook for Kids, and bearing the name of the London restaurant famed for its elemental approach to Italian food, this project clearly evolved over time. It now has the subtitle Recipes for kids of all ages, harkening back to that original idea. But it is no longer really trying to be that book. We would suggest that at best it might be usable by an experienced teenager. We do not recommend it for younger kids, or for inexperienced cooks. 

In the worlds of design and fashion, a lookbook is a visual showcase, and The River Cafe Look Book follows that model, leading with starkly photographed images of various dishes, each accompanied by another image which makes a visual reference to the food. 

The recipes which follow are arranged by course: antipasti, pasta, soup, vegetables, and so forth. Many of the dishes are appealing in their familiarity: pizza margherita, risotto with tomato and basil, roast pork loin. Some are quite simple to prepare, and where something more complicated is called for, the recipe suggests enlisting help, as one might ask a butcher to spatchcock a chicken. 

The showcase aspect of this look book is most evident on the recipe pages, where actually reading the ingredients, measurements, and instructions is sometimes very hard. Each recipe page is printed with a strongly colored background; most text is in white, with a contrasting color used for the recipe name and ingredients. This works well with some background colors and badly with others. The publisher’s sample photos show some of the better examples.

An intriguing statement of cooking philosophy, most useful for inspiration.

Paperback. Color photographs throughout

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