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The I Hate to Cook Book: 50th Anniversary Edition    by Peg Bracken order for
I Hate to Cook Book
by Peg Bracken
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, Paperback

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of this classic cookbook, this special edition will captivate a whole new generation of men and women who hate to cook but realize there's no escaping the task at times.

The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken contains over 180 recipes that even the most gastronomically challenged can prepare with a minimum of time, effort and angst.

In the book's foreword the author's daughter explains that the cookbook was born from a group of professional women who would have been much happier sipping martinis with their husbands than spending the cocktail hour in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove.

'These friends decided to share their pain (and surefire recipes) with the hope that they could get back at least a portion of that cocktail hour (and keep their families from going on strike at the same time)', she writes.

'My mother never thought of herself as a cook, though she was, in fact, a great one. She saw herself as a poet and humorist who just happened to fall into cooking. The reason 'The I Hate to Cook Book' is as timely now as it was in 1960 is because, simply put, it will make you smile, it will make you laugh, and you can do that while whipping up a meal that your family will enjoy.'

The 13 sections in the book reflect the author's sense of humor. You'll find The Leftover or Every Family Needs a Dog, Potluck Suppers or How to Bring the Water for the Lemonade, Little Kids' Parties or They Only Came for the Balloons and, my favorite, Last-Minute Suppers or This Is the Story of Your Life.

Don't let the author's humorous quips fool you, though. The recipes in this book are excellent. The French Beef Casserole, Barcelona Beans, Veal Cutlets Victoria, and Parmesan Potatoes are all delicious and easy to prepare.

The Cockeyed Cake (rich, moist and chocolaty), Coupe Royale (Black Bing cherries and Kirsch), and Selma's Best Oatmeal Cookies are also show stoppers that will add the perfect sweet exclamation point to any meal.

Peg Bracken died three years ago. (She insisted on using direct language and would not have approved of me saying passed away! Don't use two words when one will do!)

The advice she gave a half a century ago is just as valid today as it was then. But more importantly, her wonderful sense of humor sets this cookbook apart from the competition. It's the seasoning that makes these recipes not only palatable but actually fun to read (and try).

When you read the following passage from the introduction to Chapter One: 30 Day-by-Day Entrees of the Rock Pile you'll realize that you have found a kindred spirit who understands your particular situation:

'Never doubt it, there's a long, long trail a-winding when you hate to cook. And never compute the number of meals you have to cook and set before the shining faces of your loved ones in the course of a lifetime. This only staggers the imagination and raises the blood pressure. The way to face the future is to take it as Alcoholics Anonymous does: one day at a time.'

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