Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Cooking: The I Hate to Cook Book: 50th Anniversary Edition by Peg Bracken

Book CoverSome women just don't feel at home in the kitchen. Instead of finding solace in cooking a great meal for their families, they dread having to succumb to the endless chore of meal making. The I Hate to Cook Book is just the book for them. Actually, it's for all of us, for reasons I shall soon explain. While this is a cookbook for rather reluctant cooks, it's also a great piece of comic literature that digresses on the reasons women don't like to cook and some of the fundamental misunderstandings that go along with being a non-cook. With witty and wry delivery, Peg Braken reveals why vegetables cannot be disguised into other more interesting foodstuffs no matter what you do to them, as well as the stubborn persistence of leftovers, while also interspersing some unique and easy recipes into the clever mix. The book is divided into sections that include entrees, side dishes and the aforementioned vegetables (in which several types are drowned in cheese sauce).

I actually decided to try two of these recipes and first went with the Skid Row Stroganoff. Making the stroganoff was a cinch, requiring only a few basic ingredients, and the family really loved it. Actually, they fought over the last few servings, and voices were raised, much to my chagrin. My husband took some of the leftovers to work and was very happy to find that the flavors really soaked in overnight, making it even better the second time around. I am not choosing to post that recipe and picture, because frankly, though it was delicious, it was unfortunately not very photogenic.

The second recipe I tried was the Chicken Rice Roger, which was also surprisingly easy and tasted great. Everyone loved the bed of mushroom garlic rice that the chicken was cooked in, and even I ate much more than I should have. The chicken was pretty good too, but we all felt that it would have benefited from a more liberal dose of seasoning. This second dish was nice because it was basically the type of recipe that you could throw into a pan, put in the oven and serve without further preparation. If you are a fan of easy chicken and rice recipes, give this one a try:

Chicken Rice Roger
  • flour
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 pound fryer (or 2 1/2 pounds breasts or thighs)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion (or half a garlic clove, minced)
  • 6.5 ounce can of mushrooms
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 stick butter
Flour and then brown the chicken in a little vegetable oil. While it browns, put the rice, salt, and pepper in a greased casserole dish and strew the grated onion about (I used garlic, instead). Add the mushrooms, juice and all. Arrange the chicken artfully on top, pour the bouillon over it, and dot with the butter. Cover and bake at 350 for one hour.

I liked this book a lot, and found that not only was it funny and sarcastic, it had some delicious and easy meals scattered throughout as well. Though I'm the type of person who loves to be in the kitchen, I got a lot out of this book and think it would be great for all types of cooks. Even if these recipes don't seem like the types of things you would enjoy, the book is an interesting form of comedy that pokes fun at both those who are kitchen savvy and those that are not.


Sandy Nawrot said...

I've seen both bad and good things about this cookbook, but I like the sound of what you cooked. I love to cook is very relaxing for me assuming I have the time (crock pot has saved me a bunch of times during football season!).

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the bit about fighting over the last of the beef stroganoff! If nothing else, it shows how good it was!!

bermudaonion said...

I loved the humor of this cookbook - I think it's the only cookbook I've read cover to cover. I'll have to try the stroganoff recipe - as good as stroganoff is, I can understand why it wouldn't photograph so well.

TheBookGirl said...

I always wondered about this cookbook. I am an avid baker, but a somewhat tepid cook...I do it, I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.
I do enjoy a good dose of humor, though, so it seems this might be a good fit for me to read -- cooking from it might be another issue, as it is just my husband and I at home now: a rabid meat eater (him) and a vegetarian (me).

Darlene said...

I love being in the kitchen when I have time and have always been very good at throwing anything together and making something new and yummy. Still I love cookbooks and this one sounds good- it sounds like it has simple recipes and those are great. The chicken dish looks like something we would all love eating here. Yum!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Okay Heather, I am very jealous you got this cookbook, as you see, I am the one who HATES to cook (but loves to eat). Seriously, it sounds like a great book --I've read a few reviews already about it.

Marie Cloutier said...

that sounds like a great cookbook. i like to cook but it is a pain sometimes and a little humor is always appreciated :)
btw thanks for commenting on my friend andy's guest post. i really appreciate it! (but then I always appreciate what a wonderful commenter you are!)

Jenny said...

I am terrible about cooking. Looking at cookbooks makes me feel sick to my stomach because they force me to contemplate cooking the things in them. I am not sure even a cookbook that acknowledges this feeling of unhappiness can counteract its effects. :p

Amy said...

This sounds great. I'm one of those not-so-hot chefs ;)

Jenners said...

I really don't think any stroganoff is going to look photogenic!

My mom had this book (and the I Hate To Clean book) when I was little and I remember paging through it for the cartoons.

I wonder if any of these meals are healthy though?

Steph said...

Well, you know that I love to cook, but this book still seems like a lot of fun. I love 'how to' books that take a humorous spin on things (I was using "Stitch and Bitch" as my go-to knitting reference for a while because I loved how witty and sarcastic it was). Also, those recipes sound delicious, so it's great to hear that the book delivers in the end! Hopefully with such yummy recipes, non-cooks will begin to feel more comfortable in the kitchen.

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