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Roast Chicken and Other Stories    by Simon Hopkinson & Lindsey Bareham order for
Roast Chicken and Other Stories
by Simon Hopkinson
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Waitrose Food Illustrated says Roast Chicken and Other Stories is 'The most useful cookbook of all time.' I am inclined to agree. Author Simon Hopkinson says, 'Good cooking, in the final analysis, depends on two things: common sense and good taste. It is also something that you naturally have to want to do well in the first place, as with any craft.' He considers cooking a craft 'like anything that is produced with the hands and senses to put together an attractive and complete picture.'

The Introduction is enough to get the creative juices flowing. The author then proceeds to discuss ingredients - in alphabetical order, from Anchovy, to Garlic to Veal with many more in between - expounding on their attributes and the common sense way to use these ingredients to their best advantage. Hopkinson's goal is for the diner to experience the true flavor and goodness of the food being eaten, rather than for the cook to disguise a perfectly wonderful taste with many disparate tastes in order to produce a conglomerate of ingredients that do not tickle the palate. Most of his recipes sparkle in their simplicity. And will have the reader reaching for kitchen implements.

The Poached Salmon with Buerre Blanc must be divine. I can't imagine Creamed Eggplant but it sounds delicious. Various recipes for Garlic are a must. Love garlic. Then there's Calves Liver Venetian Style, something as simple as Potato Salad, or slightly more complex as in Potato, Tomato and Basil Soup. Speaking of soup, how about Saffron Soup? Here's Braised Rabbit with White Wine, Shallots, Rosemary and Cream. And who could resist Chocolate Tart? Or my favoritest in the whole world, Bread and Butter Pudding? Roast Chicken and Other Stories is a wonderful cookbook that reeks of great recipes and good advice.

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