Jamie’s Food Revolution

It’s Food Revolution week, so if you’re into Jamie Oliver, I’m sure you saw his fist gifs all over Facebook and Twitter. (I’m assuming Twitter. I’m still trying to figure out Twitter. I’m 40.) I grabbed this book after watching a few episodes of his food reality show in West Virginia. I was equally disgusted and fascinated with his demonstration of how chicken nuggets are made – and how the tv kids still liked them. But that was in 2010 and I was obsessing about which purees H would like the best. (Mango, if you really want to know.) Five years later I’m forced to admit that nothing has really changed.

The Recipes
Chicken Tikka Masala
Tikka Masala Paste
Light and Fluffy Rice
Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake
Evolution Carrot Salad
Dressed Asparagus
Buttered Spinach
Vanilla Cheesecake with a Raspberry Topping 

The Good
The granola is really great. I added the leftover pepita seeds from last week along with some flaxseed – delicious. When I put C to bed that week, he asked me if I was going to make more cereal. The Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake was a huge hit with the kids – and actually was a pretty great leftover with the Buttered Spinach for lunch the next day. C pounded the asparagus but skipped the sauce.  I was intrigued with the no-bake cheesecake as it reminded me of the Jello cheesecake from a box my mom made when I was a kid. It had oatmeal in the crust, and while I thought that would be enough to sneak the graham crust through H’s palate, she still detected graham crackers and passed on dessert. My neighbors were excited to receive a huge slice of cheesecake, but that was before they actually tasted it. I haven’t talked with them for a few days, so I’m not really sure what that means. So good they haven’t left the house?

The Bad
The Tikka Masala didn’t thicken up as I had hoped – a really runny sauce. Next time I crave Chicken Masala I’ll order takeout. But H loved the chicken, so I may think about more saucy chicken dishes in the future…..or maybe not, as she hated the sauce and the kids don’t eat rice. How can that be – they pound bread and pasta, but hate rice? Generally speaking, I don’t know if I’d call anything BAD per se, but I found the recipes to be pretty average. And maybe that’s what the goal is – easier recipes to get started with cooking at home. Buttered spinach was ok, asparagus ok, cheesecake ok, pancakes not really good, much better with mango…the whole week was just ok. Nothing terrible, but this book is going back on the shelf. Oh – and the cover art changed at some point when it went into paperback. Maybe I’m getting a bit snarky, but the current superhero pose with carrots is a little much for me.

The Ugly
Ugly was trying to get my Mothers Day meal of Chicken Tikka Masala together before the kids lost their cool over a juice box. It was “my” day, so I decided to try a curry from scratch. What the $%&@ was I thinking? Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my comfort dishes and it will remain so – as takeout. H made an appalling sound(s) after trying the Buttered Spinach and was immediately excused from the table. And I brought the Carrot Salad to a potluck dinner with friends and “accidentally” left it behind. Truthfully, I didn’t want it. Is that bad potluck behavior?

Jamie’s Food Revolution
Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 stars
I hate to say it, but I’m not the biggest fan of this book. I’ll go back for the granola recipe and perhaps the mac and cauliflower (I liked that the cauliflower was cooked in the pasta water and not pureed into the sauce – keeps the food processor clean) but beyond that, this book didn’t really resonate. I didn’t like the writing style for the recipes  – they were hard to read on the page. I’m fairly fluid in the kitchen, so I like to “glance and go” and this book required actual READING. Not always realistic when time is of the essence on Tuesday night. However, if you are just getting started in the kitchen and you need some step by step images to build confidence that you actually ARE on the right track, then this may be a good fit for you. Tons of pictures in the book. There are some recipes in here that could make a rookie cook feel great. And then there is Ground Beef Wellington and British Beef and Onion Pie. You knew that Jamie was English, right?

Next Up: The boys picked the book, so it’s Big Burger week at my house. The kids think it will be cheeseburgers every day. (Insert evil laugh….) And don’t forget to follow our progress on Tumblr at 1cookbook-1week.

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