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Home Cook Alastair Hendy

Home Cook

Alastair Hendy

Published March 1st 2004
ISBN : 9780755311576
256 pages
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 About the Book 

For most of this book, metro-Hendy’s style of writing irritated me intensely. Recipes titled “Mum’s big teak bowl cucumber salad’ sounded so toe-curlingly-mega-uggh-dreadful that I never got as far as the ingredients list, instead hastily turned the page. That was five pages after an insult of “So don’t get cocky with it and think you can hurry up.” [Hmmm. Insert sense of humour failure here]. Together with a seafood salad receipe which wisely advised after cooking to “discard any [mussel] shells still closed” whilst failing to mention that before cooking, any mussel whose shell is so much as slightly open, must be discarded …. Well, by now I was beginning to seriously react against this cookbook.In my mind’s eye I placed this book as designed solely for those who enjoy reading cookbooks, but who lack the confidence to actually commit the act of creating something edible and delicious. I read this book through in one sitting- and as the final recipe came up, ‘Strawberries and cream layer cake’, accompanied by the ubiquitous, obligatory full page photograph, of a three tiered cake on a white plate, proffered out in front by a headless, breast-less model wearing a white T-shirt, and displaying the out-of-focus front zip placket of their blue denims, I thought … and thought …. and continued to think, ‘Nice looking cake, but UGGGH!’ The same model & his/her crotch, proffering different dishes, creepily appear repeatedly throughout the book. So very not attractive.Instantly my mood turned and I quivered with a sense of guilt. I had read every single one of Hendy’s recipes published in this book, and it had only now finally dawned on me (cue singing bluebirds) that he wasn’t writing for me, but for the person, teenager, undergrad upward, who wants to occasionally cook something for their mates, but who really doesn’t have much of a clue (despite the millions of words ‘out there’ already published) as to quite where to begin- because their parents brought them up expensively on ready-made convenience foods.Thinking about this book in that context improves it no end. In places it even actually became quite more-ish- though I couldn’t quite visualise a beginner finding Hendy’s recipe for mushroom risotto terrifically helpful, unless, perhaps, they already knew what the texture and mouth-feel of cooked risotto ought to be- or went straight to YouTube?And why, assuming that after dinner there IS any risotto left over, would anyone want to fiddle-faddle around with eggs and breadcrumbs making fried risotto cakes (more time and more washing up) out of the leftovers, when instead, next day leftovers taken out of the fridge, moistened with a little stock, all reheated in a microwave, & sprinkled with any left-over Parmesan (or other cheese) is a perfect pre-pub stomach liner? However, be warned (which Hendy does not) that cooked rice is capable of being a health-hazard, so read http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/can-rehea...).‘Eggs’ explain all! This book is something of a curate’s egg (as opposed to an egg in shell, which is itself something of a convenience food … and Hendy does endear in their use.