Maureen: It’s much better than his most recent books, but that’s not saying much.
Kirstin: Well, maybe it was. The Family Superfood book was really bad*. [Editor’s Note: this is actually not the word that Kirstin used, but we try to be a family-friendly blog.]
Maureen: You can’t quite say it’s a return to form, but it’s pretty good.
Kirstin: Do you think we set the bar higher for Jamie because we have so lovely memories of his book?
Maureen: [Ponders.] Maybe, but I don’t think so. I think the problem with Jamie, and we’ve said this for the past few years, is that he feels compelled to release a new cookbook every year. I just wish he– and his team– would take a breather and maybe take some time with the next book. I’m pretty sure the annual publishing calendar is hurting the books more than the fact that we love his first books so much. Though that’s also true.
Kirstin: Well, he’s a whole industry now, so he has to keep it going.
Maureen: While it’s not a brilliant book, I do think it would be a good cookbook for students or people learning to cook. It’s like a gateway drug to better recipes and food. It gets you started and maybe you could figure out ways to make them better.
Kirstin: Exactly. I made a lot of the recipes. They are easy and I liked this format more than 15 Minutes and 30 Minutes cookbooks. They were done quickly, but you didn’t have a deadline to get them done.
Maureen: You didn’t feel the pressure to get it done in a certain amount of time, which was good. Saying that, we did find that a lot of the recipes over promised and under delivered.
Kirstin: But if you did make them, you could– shock horror– add more than five ingredients to make them better.
Maureen: Yes. And maybe leave out red wine vinegar from time to time.
Kirstin: Maybe that’s another way you could use the book, to teach yourself how to make stuff better.
Maureen:It felt like he was a bit hamstrung at times with the five ingredient limit.
Maureen: Apparently, this book is selling much better than his last few, but then again, both the superfood books were shockingly bad.
Kirstin: This book is more for food explorers and newbies than food lovers and good cooks.
Maureen: At least it was an improvement. It still wasn’t brilliant, but it was better.
Overall Grade (A- F): B- (Kirstin) C+ (Maureen)
Best recipes: Kirstin: Baked fish and I enjoyed my first tarte tatin. Maureen: There’s nothing that jumps out at me.
Grade for Photography (A-F): B- (It was a bit boring.)
Any disasters? Kirstin: Yes! The sea bass was awful. Maureen: The pork was gross and the timings were all wrong.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Kirstin & Maureen: We’re both saving it to give to our children when they leave for university in a year, but otherwise, will probably not use the book again. Would You Give This Book to a Friend?: No. There are loads of better books out there.