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65 of 76 found the following review helpful:
tsk tsk tsk Sep 04, 2000
By Cynthia Raxter
[Update: This review was written about the first edition. I was called by a consumer advocate magazine several years later. In a quick recheck I found 14 errors in two chapters. In the reporter's later edition 12 of 14 errors had been corrected.]
Someone didn't proofread this volume. It is a shame too. It would be a great cookbook and a source of good inspiration otherwise. As it is, it is a dinner party disaster waiting to happen.
Typos abound. Temperatures are forgotten. Items in the directions are not in ingredients list -- and ingredients listed are not in the directions. (Example: a mushroom risotto doesn't mention when to add the mushrooms.) The errors are frequently serious enough to render your very expensive ingredients inedible.
And caveat emptor: This is a compendium of Martha's previously published cookbooks. I do not know if the original cookbooks had the same errors.
The book is also overwhelming -- even for a cooking addict. It became a game for me to see how exclusionist the ingredients list could be. I got out my Italian and French cooking dictionaries to figure out the obscure terms. To share the fun I called neighbors and friends from Venice, Paris and Lyon.... What DOES plissee mean????
Joy of Cooking and Fannie Farmer are better places for novices to start. Experienced cooks will appreciate and their money will be better spent on another volume from James Beard or Cordon Bleu.
It is a great cookbook to get ideas from... but I would hate to be forced to actually cook from it. Martha, my dear: a major revision with a good copy-editor and recipe-checker would make it worth buying.
25 of 27 found the following review helpful:
better than you might imagine Sep 23, 1997
Even if you can't stand Martha Stewart, you may find this a useful, repetoire-expanding cookbook. While it contains a staggering number of recipes, they are well organized, and the index is actually useful (unlike, for instance, the Moosewood Cookbook's). Imaginative but not too far-out or trendy for the average taste, recipes are easy to follow. I have never encountered a typo, a real pitfall for some of these huge, rushed compendium cookbooks. I especially like the chocolate cookies that have a little cayenne (really, it's good!), and the chicken breast saltimbocca. Martha clones can happily imagine themselves sitting down to the table and eating the same food she does (gosh, maybe even at the same time!), and anti-Martha cooks can just whisk off the offensive book jacket and add the big blue book to their cookbook collection without shame
35 of 41 found the following review helpful:
An inspirational read but recipe results frustrating... Sep 30, 1999
Even experienced cooks don't get good results with this cookbook. Recipes are inspiring to read but must be tinkered with to succeed. Usually cooking time and temperature are the culprits but occasionally even ingredient quantities are off. But this has been our experience with most Martha Stewart recipes (they don't seem carefully tested before publication). Try all recipes before planning your dinner party and take notes. Analyze what happens and note how to fix method for next attempt. You will learn from this process but will probably throw your first results down the disposal. Poll your cooking friends, mine all report the same experiences with Martha Stewart recipes.
36 of 43 found the following review helpful:
Her Stuff Never Works Out... May 18, 2000
By Caroline P. Hampton
"Project Manager + Blogger + Foodie + Hockey Girl
I'm a girl from Michigan but, live in Columbus, Ohio. I write a blog called the lifestylefilesblog. I'm a big hockey fan, my team is the Detroit Red Wings. I love books, magazines, Jane Austen, cooking, Howard Stern, cupcakes and frozen Coke."
I have tried Martha's receipes time and time again. I can probably count on ONE hand, the amount of times a receipe has worked. I don't know what the problem is. Maybe she leaves something out, or the time/temp. is off. I'm not sure. But, anyhow, they just don't work.
However, there is a bright side to her books (hence, the extra star) they are very entertaining to read. You can certainly gain some inspiration and creativity from her books, but just look for a receipe elsewhere.
Her books are NOT for the everyday cook.
14 of 16 found the following review helpful:
Inspiring but impractical for everyday use Apr 28, 1999
I really enjoy browsing through this cookbook, however, I've found it impractical for everyday use. Many of the recipes call for unusual and hard to find (translation-expensive) items. For example, about 85-90% of the hors d'ouvre recipes call for caviar, at least as a garnish. My warning to you is expect to spend extra money on groceries to make most of these recipes. Also, as many of the gourmet recipes take many steps to prepare, expect to spend awhile in the kitchen.
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