In our Amazon used book business, we often come across cookbooks that I get to peruse, even if it is not the type of book I would usually buy. When this book came through, I grabbed it and started flipping through it. It is a simple concept. Men who like to just “assemble” foods, rather than cook will enjoy this book. I was talking to a guy last night at Meijers who told me there are 3 kinds of people who make food:
He is an assembler. As the conversation continued, two other single men chimed in and started discussing their personal assemblies of food. Apparently people can put potato chips on bread with some kind of spread and call it dinner. Also, you can add canned chicken to Ramen noodles and make a complete meal. I was even informed that if you put the Ramen noodles in the pot of water to soak early in the day, then drain and cook as directed at “eating time” the noodles grow significantly and are much more filling. Amazing the things you can learn from single men at a supermarket. So, for all the “assemblers” out there, here is my review:
Of course the book is based on cooking mainly from cans. You can probably guess how I feel about that. I have a love/hate relationship with canned food cooking. It’s salt-filled, less healthy, etc. However, if you compare it to eating at a fast food restaurant, it is probably cheaper and healthier than many choices. If you can ignore the fact that is is all from a can, then here goes:
The meals were simple to prepare. Most only required a few ingredients and could be easily doubled or tripled if needed. I was interested to find a couple of meals to add to my repertoire that would require no “fresh” ingredients. These can be added to my “emergency stock.” I tried a meal called: Bird on a Biscuit. It called for 10 oz canned chicken, a can of cream of chicken soup, a can of peas (I subbed frozen peas), a can of biscuits (homemade were fine), 1/2 cup of fat- free milk, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 8 oz package of onion and chive cream cheese, 1 tsp oregano (I thought this was a tad too much oregano). Mix it all up, heat it up, and pour it over cooked biscuits.
In spite of using all canned ingredients, it was tasty. If I make it again, I will use leftover baked chicken and I think that will help cut down the salt.
Another recipe I tried was a dessert recipe. It included a can of peaches, a can of blueberries and a package of cinnamon swirl coffee cake mix. It was D E L I C I O U S. Need I say more? That recipe is a winner and one I would make to serve guests. (gasp) I suppose I *could* use fresh fruit and make my own compote or something, but this was so tasty, I think I would be forgiven even if I make it JUST as it was listed.
My review overall- for it’s audience – those “assemblers” out there, it was an A+. If you are going to insist on making all your foods from the canned food aisles, this book will give you lots of good ideas. For the home cook with lots of people to feed, I would say this book is probably not for you, other than as an occasional “emergency” meal to add to your pantry.