Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Nake Chef Takes Off


Never thought I'd do a write up about a cook book. First off, I'm not what you'd call a cook or a wannabe cook or even an occasional dabbler in the culinary arts. No, I microwave tea ('nuff said). So, to now be praising a book on cooking seems very odd. But, this is no ordinary book full of recipes and detailed instructions on bake times and temps. No, it's a bird, it's a plane, ...it's Jaime Oliver!

Jamie's charismatic personality and passion for food is palatable in this book. Even though there is very little writing it felt like every word made an impact. The short & sweet stories describing dishes are filled with the right mix of humour, british slang, and Jamie's own strong opinions (pushing organics, quality food, and that obvious disgust for over processed food)

Even though I am no cook, this book makes me want to run out and buy some 'simple' ingredients (or better yet, just grow some on the windowsill), throw them in a pot, cook for an hour and wow my friends and family. Jamie makes it sound so simple! I'm seriously thinking this book could/should be filed under 'motivational' books in some library somewhere.

I think the writing style of the book makes it a good read for all cooking levels. The 'cooking instructions' are so vague that it sounds easy for non-cookers (like me), and so open ended for for advanced cookers to get creative. For eg, there is a page or two on salad dressings. The small story before this section talks about how Jamie just throws all his ingredients in a jam jar (I think it is supposed to be funny, using a jam jar. Maybe in Europe?) and shakes it up - simple and vague. The next page is just a list of ingredients...so simple! This format makes the 'cookbook' so much different than any other cookbook I've glanced through. I'm not scared off by the technical writing stressing times and temperatures.

One of my favourite parts of the book was a rant/prediction by Jamie. He talks about a typical trip to the grocery store. How stores are 'getting better' at stocking organic foods, and he predicts by 2005 that 90% of produce will be organic. He goes on describing a young hip couple who are buying organic arugula and having an argument over what herbs to buy. While there is a nasty mother who has her cart full of Coke, crisps (potato chips for us North Americans), and over processed food (turkey twizzlers and such).

The opening is quite interesting as well. Dedicated 'To my missus, SORRY'.

I would like to think this is a joke, that Jules (Jaime's wife) does not like to be called his 'missus'. So, the book is dedicated to her, but, he does it in a way that he needs to apologize. Could be funny, in an inside joke kind of way?

I like to look on the darker side, like Darth. I have a theory that it is misspelled missus to imply 'miss us', as in Jamie is sorry he is on another one of his projects and is putting all his time, energy, and passion into it. Leaving poor Jules at home, alone. Not to mention he insults her mother's way of boiling spinach into a grey mush. OR, for that matter, he jokes about Jules overboiling vegetables and then having to mush them all together to make a wonderful 'vegetable mash'. But, that is just my take.

Overall, this is a book you just have to treat like a meal; sit down, get comfortable, and TUCK IN!

Tuck in - a phrase used a dozen times throughout the book. At one point it felt like it was the ending of every dish description.


*If you don't feel like reading this book for some reason, you can always watch Jamie's show "Oliver's Twist". It is him at home cooking up a bunch of the same recipes found in this book. He doesn't say 'tuck in' as much, but he does use other funny british slang.

No comments:

Post a Comment