By Rob Kirby
Absolute Press, $33.00, 224 pages
If you are an American home cook, you can stop reading this review. The Family Kitchen was written for British cooks. All measurements, including oven settings, are in metric units only and even if you have a good metric scale, many of the food and cooking terminology is British: terms like white farmhouse bread, farmhouse white bloomers, mozzarella bocconcini balls and Jersey Royal baby potatoes. Some familiar ingredients would be hard to find for most of us. In some recipes, author Rob Kirby insists on free-range eggs, corn-fed chickens (where do we find those?) and other hard-to-find items.
“I feel so strongly about the importance of food and how it helps to build a strong foundation for families…”
It seems that many of these recipes were downscaled from a restaurant’s repertoire – and not very successfully. Photo illustrations are nice but some presentations are clearly beyond a home cook’s ability or experience. Certain kitchen methods like deep frying are a snap in a professional kitchen but not in your own. The recipes are varied and good but I found several having ambiguous instructions – most are not easy for a home cook. Added advertisements that showcase their products for sale comes off as tacky. The index also has shortcomings: some indexed page numbers don’t correspond to recipe pages and some recipes are missing from the index.
Reviewed by George Erdosh