Karen Humphrey: Fresh and Fearless


Book Review: Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking

I will admit I didn't have high hopes for this cookbook

When Gordon Ramsay’s new book “Home Cooking” arrived in my mailbox, I’ll admit that at first I didn’t want to like it. My memories of Mr. Ramsay come from watching “Hell’s Kitchen” where the images of a screaming, angry chef calling people a “cow” or “stupid.” In fact, those impressions have stayed with me so strongly over the years that I have avoided buying any of Mr. Ramsay’s cookbooks or watching any of his shows because all I could see in my head was this horrible, bitter, angry person and I couldn’t support him.

Until I read his new cookbook, which was sent to me by the publisher.

I love this book. In fact, I love it so much that I’ve been reading and cooking from it all week and can’t stop myself from going back, reading more, and marking more pages to cook from. The food is tasty, easy to make, and really do-able home cooking.

Home Cooking is bursting with practical, genuinely helpful advice on how to not just cook, but purchase and maintain your equipment, such as sharpening knives or seasoning a fry pan. Sprinkled throughout are basic tips, such as how to cook a sirloin steak, slice peppers, chop onions, secure your cutting board, and prepare shrimp. I have already learned many things from reading the book that have truly made me a better cook.

The book is divided into ten sections, including a few of the obvious such as meat and fish, but it’s a bit unusual in that there are also sections on cooking for one or two people, basic skills, and good food for less. Recipes cover the very simple to more advanced so that while it’s perfect for beginners, cooks with more skill won’t be bored, either. The recipes are well written and easy to follow, with ingredients that are common and not difficult to find. One thing that I especially love is that I don’t have to decipher any European ingredients to their Canadian counterparts, which I find can be a problem with cookbooks written by European chefs.

As for the food, everything I have made so far has turned out beautifully and been devoured by my family. From a shrimp fritatta to coconut pancakes, spiced chicken wraps and good old familiar blondies, there is a lot of variety to please anyone who likes really great food that is more than the usual boring Monday to Friday meal.

Overall, I’d highly recommend this book. Mr. Ramsay’s food and writing has, without question, completely won me over. I find myself returning to it again and again, bookmarking more recipes that I cannot wait to try. If anyone is like me and avoiding his books because of the television persona let me assure you, there is no screaming, angry chef in its pages. There’s only good, quality, straightforward cooking advice that tells you yes, you can cook, it’s just all in the desire and practice.

With this book, you’ll not only learn how to cook better, you’ll love the food you make while doing it.

Want to try some of Gordon Ramsay’s recipes? Whip up some coconut mango pancakes with lime syrup or a shrimp and feta omelet.