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Book Review: Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook by Jamie Oliver

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I love Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks. I have several on my shelf and in each one I always find recipes that I end up making over and over. Not to mention the recipes that I might never try but look good just the same. One of the things that makes Oliver’s cookbooks a must, beside the mouth-watering recipes, is the fact that he makes it seem so easy. He believes that you too can make your food look, as well as taste, just as good as the photographs that catch your eye. Makes me want to pick up my spatula.  

Cook with Jamie is special though. All of the profit from the sale of this cookbook goes to the Fifteen Foundation, which is dedicated to helping young people. But Jamie says it so much better than I ever could:  

“The idea behind Fifteen is pretty simple- every year we give a unique opportunity to a group of young people to become professional chefs. The kids we take on have had bit of a hard time and could do with a break. Many of them are homeless, have been raised in difficult circumstances, have spent time in prison or gone off the rails and got into drink and drugs. But at Fifteen we believe that we can inspire them to break habits and believe in themselves to become incredibly passionate chefs.”  

So on that note we dive right into the kinds of things we should always have in our kitchens. Good knives, quality cookware, food processors, and all the other implements of kitchen torture. But not only does he cover the non-food items throughout the book, he talks about what cuts of meat to look for, veggies, fish, salad ingredients and simple dressings. He covers it all.  

From Jamie’s Proper tomato salad to Southern Indian crab curry it all looks absolutely mouth-wateringly divine. There isn’t anything new here, just new takes on old recipes. But each one is presented in an easy manner making even the most intimidated newbie feel like they could tackle it.   

And did I mention dessert? Yes, there is dessert too. Tea-Party Cupcakes, Classic Victoria sponge with all the trimmings, fifteen chocolate brownies, and a rather pleasing carrot cake with lime mascarpone icing. Yum!  

Packed with recipes, over 175 with a focus on quality and freshness, Cook with Jamie is a must. And along with all those recipes he includes little personal notes about the food that makes Cook with Jamie more than just a cookbook. This is a book that you will pull out time and again to check measurements, share with your friends, or make sure you’ve got the right stuff for the job whether you’re making fresh pasta or roasting a turkey.

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About Katie T. Buglet