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Homemade in a Hurry    edited by Andrew Schloss order for
Homemade in a Hurry
by Andrew Schloss
Order:  USA  Can
Chronicle, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

'When was the last time you made soup from scratch, or salad dressing, or cake?' That's the question Schloss poses in the first sentence of his introduction, and he expects us all to hang our heads and blush as we scramble to recall the last time we made anything at all from scratch. But he doesn't expect us to apologize for this simple truth. Schloss understands that today's home cook is busy, and has a variety of shortcuts at his or her disposal. Far from wanting us to do away with such shortcuts, Schloss suggests that we embrace them, and use them in every possible way to make home cooking a more enjoyable experience. 'Let the naysayers decry the demise of homemade food,' he tells us. 'I say the future of home cooking is bright, for though we have less and less time to cook, we have more and more options.'

It's those options that Schloss puts to very good use in the pages of this recipe book. Unlike other cookbook authors, Schloss claims he'd 'never ask you to chop, or roll, or simmer an ingredient that you can purchase prepared, providing that what you buy is of similar or better quality than what you would cook yourself.' And he keeps that promise by offering recipes that are quick and easy to make, yet range from the basic to the exotic.

The book is organized into chapters dealing with specific courses and types of food. For example, if you're interested in finding the perfect Meatless Meal, turn to Chapter 7, where you'll find such mouthwatering suggestions as Herb Ricotta Sandwiches, Spinach and Eggplant Lasagna and Veggie Burgers Parmesan. If you're ever in the mood for homemade Desserts & Treats (and who isn't?), Chapter 13 offers a variety of delicious options. From Applesauce Chocolate Layer Cake with Cinnamon Frosting to Bourbon-Soaked Orange Cornmeal Cake, all the recipes in this chapter are delectable. The best part? They're also easy to make, even if you're not a master baker by trade.

I couldn't resist trying a couple of recipes as soon as I could. In particular, I delved right into the Soups & Light Stews chapter because my husband is a huge fan of homemade soup, and I never thought I could do such meals justice. Well, that's all changed. The No-Chicken Noodle Soup turned out flavorful and surprisingly filling, while Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup was a tangy treat for the senses.

Some readers may be disappointed by the lack of pictures in this cookbook, however, the names of the meals are so evocative that images almost aren't needed. The wide variety of recipes included make Homemade in a Hurry a book that will be welcome on any home cook's shelf.

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