While it’s not a classic like The Joy of Cooking (which belongs in every kitchen), I have confidence that as more people ‘go foodie’ and eschew easy solutions like Hamburger Helper or that old standby the tuna casserole the more kitchens that this cookbook belongs in as well. Just because it’s a weekday doesn’t mean you have to eat slop! This cookbook shows you exactly how to avoid that.
I bought this cookbook after hearing an NPR piece on it a few years ago. Ever since then, it’s been dog-eared, bookmarked, spilled on, and written it. I keep coming back to it over and over again.
Why? Because unlike the series of Rachel Ray cookbooks promising 30-minute meals, (but that instead when you factor in prep work, take more like an hour and a half) this book actually delivers.
While I haven’t cooked every recipe in the book I haven’t encountered any that I absolutely will not cook again. In fact, this cookbook has several recipes that are on standby for me. Every recipe that I have cooked has taken no longer than about 30 minutes and cook and prep times are accurately represented.
Hirsch maintains a conversational tone throughout the book. In the first four chapters (which are short), his premise is easily understood:
There are recipes that hail from Asian, Hispanic, Indian, African, European, and American traditions. Despite this amazing variety most of the recipes use fairly common ingredients so you won’t have to travel to the ends of the earth to find that strange, essential ingredient.
Courses represented in High Flavor, Low Labor are the following:
- First Up (Appetizers)
- Tossed Around (Salads)
- Souped Up
- Mainly Speaking (Entrées)
- Punched Up Pasta
- To the Side (Sides)
- Sugar Rush (Desserts)