Book Reviews

Book review: The I Hate To Cook.


Peg Bracken, a homemaker and writer, who had to cook for her family, and wrote she could, had the idea to write a cookbook that facilitated life for her, and homemakers like her. She wrote this book 50 years ago, which according to the publisher sold 50 million copies.

Now the same book with an introduction of her daughter Johanna Bracken is published to make life a little easier for wives who work and must provide for the family.

Today, women, especially in big cities, have all kinds of opportunities to bypass cooking by ordering food in, or buying prepared meals in large grocery stores, and frozen entrees that need to be micro waved for a few minutes, and of course there are several chains of pizzerias, and Chinese foods that deliver.

Yet, there is always a cost attached to buying prepared food! Remember the added value and several middlemen between consumers and producers, and of course the HST (Harmonized Services Tax). The more middlemen are in a supply chain, the higher the price of the final product.

But this is not all.

While you are buying convenience, you are also risking health.
First, prepared commercially available food is always high in sodium and contains preservatives and may even be infested with harmful bacteria.

This book’s recipes rely heavily on canned foods since they were the convenience foods of the era, but many of the recipes can be produced successfully by anyone and will satisfy even picky eaters.

Pat Bracken writes with humour and enthusiasm. The reader feels compelled to read on just to find out about her idea on the following page.

Freshmen at universities will appreciate these recipes as they can be prepared even in sparsely equipped cooking corners, provided they are inclined to cook at all!

Her suggestion of serving fresh fruits or fruit salads mainly as dessert is not only healthy and logical, but also contributes to reducing preparation tie.

At the end of the book, the chapter on equivalents is extremely helpful for those unfamiliar with measures, and those who lack cups, scales and other types of measuring devices.

Chapter 12 is full of household hints millions no longer remember, and rely on commercially available cleaning agents with exorbitant price tags.

The author is also, at least to my knowledge, the only one freely admits that you can substitute most common ingredients with those you prefer. If you prefer extra virgin olive oil to vegetable oil go ahead.

She doesn’t specify any brand of salt, but you can use sea salty, kosher salt, American rock salt, French salt from Camargue, of from Maldoon in England.

Highly recommended.

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