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Review: I'll Have What They're Having

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I'll Have What They're Having
Legendary Local Cuisine
By Linda Stradley
ISBN: 0762711469
Publisher: The Globe Pequot Press
Publication date: July 2002
Format: Paperback
List price: $18.95   (Canada, UK)
Type: Regional Cooking: American
Sample recipe: Original Hot Brown
intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive Biblical stature coffee-table
competition: outclassed also-ran midrange strong challenger leads the pack
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 >300
practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% >80%
# of ingredients: <3 <6 <9 <12 >12
ingredient hunt: 7-11 pantry supermarket online airfare required
recipe complexity: baby steps simple medium intense professional
instructions: inadequate bare bones full figured educational verbose
time conscious: outright lies speed of light fairly quick takes time takes all day
photos/drawings: skimpy adequate generous instructive glorious
recipe results: dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
flavor quotient: disappointing fair good delicious exceptional
layout: ick cluttered clean kind to cooks work of art
legibility: microscopic challenging adequate clear brilliant
production quality: cheesy questionable years of service gift-quality stunning
value: ouch! a little pricey on the money excellent worth splurging
Ease of Use
page numbers: invisible hard to find spotty adequate obvious
table of contents: missing frustrating passable useful helpful
index quality: none tragic adequate good excellent
page flipping: infuriating tedious acceptable rare never
writer: hack cook turned writer writer turned cook comedian auteur
cook: self-taught non-restaurant chef teacher celebrity
overall rating: fair good above average excellent Ochef Top 100
Comments: The book is a collection of recipes for the most well-known regional specialties found in the United States, ranging from Macadamia Nut Pie and California Roll to Key Lime Pie and Maine Lobster Rolls, and everything in between. Among the 130 recipes are dozens of appetizers, soups, breads, sandwiches, main dishes, desserts, and drinks from all over the country. Are there recipes that are missing? Sure, people will be able to think of some dish from their part of the country that deserves to be in the book, but we think the selection and geographical representation is pretty good.

The author also fills the book with anecdotes, stories, and historical notes on the dishes, as well as — to the extent possible — the original recipe. Again, you may quibble over some ingredients and procedures of the recipes you know best, and some recipes may have been simplified to make them more practical for today's cooks, but this is a great snapshot of many of the important regional American dishes. Some recipes are very old; some quite modern.

Produced in black & white only, the overall look of the interior of the book is a little grim, and the font used for the recipes is a hair too light. We'd also like to see the recipes categorized regionally in the index.

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