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Always like Ina. Every time I watch her show, I pick up a trick; whether it be of cooking or hosting a dinner. "Family Style" is really the right word for this cook book. If you wants "warm" friendly recipes that you can serve to the mass, try this book out.
First off, let me say that I use this book often and, for the most part, I absolutely LOVE it. The first recipe I tried, Sagaponack Corn Pudding, was truly different from other corn pudding recipes I'd tried, living up to Garten's promise that it would not be bland - and it wasn't - nor was it too spicy. It had some added flavor thanks to cheddar cheese and fresh basil but those with less experimental tastes could leave out the basil (as I did when we had small children at dinner one evening) and it would still be delicious. Another plus to this cookbook: Many of the recipes are not only family-friendly but easy to throw together. There are also plenty of dishes for vegetarians as well as meat eaters, making meal planning easy. Nearly every recipe I tried was wonderful, with the minor exception of the Chicken Noodle Soup (I prefer my recipe). Now the caveat: If you like extremely exotic or unusual foods, this may not be the ideal cookbook for you. While there ARE recipes which are new and different (like the Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash or a truly different and yummy Espresso Ice cream, better than any I've had thus far), MOST of the recipes are updated versions of familiar favorites..Rice Pilaf, Hashed Browns, Fried Chicken, etc. Professional or gourmet cooks may want something more challenging. But I've had a hard time finding cookbooks which contain tasty recipes I can serve, night after night, and still keep my family happy and well-fed while minimizing my kitchen time. For those purposes, this one fits the bill. And if you happen to have any guests drop in at meal time, you can bet they'll be happy too!
I had never heard of Ina Garten before I bought this book, and so had no idea about Barefoot Contessa or anything, but the tequila lime chicken was the most tasty grilled chicken I've ever tried. I am really excited to try more of these recipes. Some of them seem a little simplistic to me and are things that I already know how to make (like mashed potatoes) but the dessert section looks great and I am considering buying one or two of the other BC books. Very impressive and the photographs inside the book are gorgeous. I would recommend adding this to any cookbook collection.