Saturday, December 5, 2009

Review: The Frugal Foodie Cookbook

Summary: Big Taste for Small Change

Lara Starr is a baker, blogger, and a cook with a calculator. Lynette Shirk is a four-star Frugal Foodie who has cooked at Masa's, Postrio, Chez Panisse, and Williams-Sonoma. Together they have cooked up a recipe-filled guide to eating better than ever on less. The Frugal Foodie Cookbook will show you how to creatively and cleverly use ingredients and leftovers to produce wonderful, inexpensive meals for any occasion.

The Frugal Foodie Cookbook covers everything from roasting coffee at home to concocting inexpensive, crave-worthy casseroles and whipping up snacks on a budget. Starr and Shirk feature irresistible recipes like Shaves Shrimp Rolls, Gourmet PBJ, and Exponential Chicken—which stretches the bird over five different courses. With hundreds of delicious dishes and expert advice, The Frugal Foodie Cookbook will keep you living well and eating better. -- Viva Editions

I am a major sucker for cookbooks -- I own a lot of them! And it's not because I'm such a wonderful chef or even that I try new recipes very often. Rather, it's just because I love looking through cookbooks and getting ideas. Strange, right? It's definitely genetic because my grandmother and my sister do the same thing. In fact, we'll just sit around together looking at cookbooks and read the recipes to each other!

So when I was offered the chance to take a look at THE FRUGAL FOODIE COOKBOOK: WASTE-NOT RECIPES FOR THE WISE COOK by Lara Starr with Lynette Shirk, I jumped at the chance. Not only did this sound like a cute cookbook, but it appeared to be a very practical one. I was definitely interested in checking this book out, and I figured that it would be great if I could find a new recipe or even just learn a thing or two about saving money.

I think one of the reasons that this book appealed to me is because I like to think I'm frugal -- or maybe the word is cheap. I cut coupons and love to feel like I'm getting a deal. Sometimes, though, my efforts to save money end up costing us more. Despite my best efforts, my family wastes a lot of food. I often times buy too much and we never get around to eating it. Plus, anytime I make a lot of something, we tend to end up throwing it away. You see, we aren't the best family for eating left-overs.

I have to say that I thought THE FRUGAL FOODIE COOKBOOK was terrific! And it's just perfect for someone like me. Not only did it have some great, economical recipes (and who doesn't look for that during these times), but the recipes also were very easy. I've decided that if a cookbook doesn't have quick and simple recipes with "normal" ingredients, then I'm not interested in it no matter how delicious the food might be. It's all about practicality with me at this stage of my life!

While I did thoroughly appreciate THE FRUGAL FOODIE COOKBOOK, I do have one small complaint. And that is that there weren't any pictures of the recipes. (Having said that, there were some black and white illustrations in the book.) Not having color pictures isn't a deal-breaker for me by any stretch, but I do enjoy seeing photos of the finished products. Of course, I did think the cost of the book at $15.95 was reasonable; and it probably would have cost much more with color photographs in it.

I was actually surprised how much more there was to this cookbook than just recipes. I mean that in the very best of ways because I thought the ideas in this book are what made it really special. Besides chapters with recipes for breakfasts, brunches, lunch, snacks, and dinners, there were also sections on party planning, kids' food (including homemade food for babies), and thrifty gifts. There were also loads of "Frugal Foodie Tips" interspersed throughout the chapters which I found very interesting as well as helpful! I especially enjoyed seeing the "recipes" for inexpensive and homemade spa/beauty items.

As I read THE FRUGAL FOODIE COOKBOOK, I couldn't help but think how many of my friends would also appreciate this book. If you are still looking to buy some gifts, I think this cookbook would make a great one. It is a small, paperback cookbook and would look adorable as part of a gift basket! Of course, that's assuming you'd be willing to part with it. In addition to the recipes, there are also tons of cute, homemade gift ideas that would be perfect for family, friends, and teachers during this holiday season.

I thought THE FRUGAL FOODIE COOKBOOK was adorable and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to women like me who want to save money while also making delicious (and easy) food! Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

13 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love cookbooks that have other info besides just recipes. But you're right - pictures are very helpful - even if they're drawings (like Moosewood).

Beth F said...

I love photos too, but I have plenty of cookbooks without them. I love the idea that there are tips and other information. Sounds like a nice resource to have on hand.

bermudaonion said...

You sound a lot like me - I'm all about simple, practical and easy recipes these days. I do like pictures in my cookbooks too.

caite said...

as someone who also considers themselves cheap...I mean thrifty...lol..this sounds very interesting.

AlleluiaLu said...

My future daughter-in-law (that sounds so nice - my first one) wants a cookbook for Christmas and I was trying to decide which one to get her. This one sounds perfect. I might make her up a little gift basket with maybe a Betty Crocker cookbook and this one and some other little kitchen gadgets...I might even get a copy for myself! Thanks for the post!

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

We may have some of the same genes. My mother and I love to read cookbooks too. And, we love to talk food almost as much as eat it. This book's focus on frugal appeals to me. I like to save money but I also like what being frugal does for the environment. Great book. Great review.

Ladytink_534 said...

I love cookbooks! This one sounds really neat and useful too. I hate letting things go to waste so I'd probably use this. No pictures isn't a deal breaker but I don't usually buy cookbooks without them.

Beth said...

I really love cookbooks, but as I discover more and more food blogs, I find myself using them less. But I do have a few that I go back to over and over again! This one sounds interesting, but I do love my food photos!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I'm with you - searching all over town and in specialty markets is a deal-breaker for a recipe!

This cookbook sounds like a winner.

Jill said...

I'm going to have to check this one out. I'm a cookbook junkie (more so than I am a cook!). I think your complaint is valid...photos always help!

JoAnn said...

Well, I'm a major sucker for cookbooks, too, so I'll have to look into this one!

Lara Starr said...

Thank you so much for the kind review of my book - I'm so glad you liked it!

Book Dilettante said...

I'd read more cookbooks and try recipes if I weren't so busy reading and blogging! But this cookbook is very useful to busy people!