Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review of Amy Roloff Cook Book "Short and Simple"

Rap541 graciously agreed to review Amy Roloff's new cook book entitled "Short and Simple". Review written by Rap541:























So I will admit it, I bought a copy of Amy's cook book Short and Simple. Hey, I'm not poor, and my thinking at the time is that my mom at least would enjoy it as she collects cook books so I figured what the hell.

And let me be up front. If you take it at face value, and ignore the Roloff aspect completely, and if you ignore a lot of the pre-release natter on the show and in facebook and even in comments here about how it's all about nutritious  meals, then let me be honest. It's a nice, very basic cook book with simple recipes. Now folks, I am not against simple food. Far from it. On the other hand, raise of hands, who here actually needed to read a cook book to figure out how to make fresh fruit salad? Or tuna fish sandwiches, or roast beef sandwiches or ham and cheese and turkey panninis? Aka toasted ham and cheese and turkey sandwiches? Or hey, the recipe for super burgers and fries that involves amongst other things - a package of frozen french fries and a list of condiments. I mean there's simple and then there's explaining how to put the frozen fries in the oven. Likewise I think most of us understand the concept of making a fruit smoothie.

There was one recipe, banana chocolate pops, that I remember making in kindergarten... in part I suspect because it's so easy. Actually, I not only did this when I was six, I can remember reading about this recipe in a book called One Child by Torey Hayden. The book was written in the early 1980s, and there's one scene where Torey, who was a special education teacher, had her class of autistics, childhood schizophrenics, and profoundly disturbed kids making the banana chocolate pops successfully. My point? A lot of the recipes are really too simple. I'm just saying... most of us probably figured out how to make a sandwich without a cook book.

On a positive note, I did like the short section in the back that is, again, clearly for beginners, but nicely explains how to make "side vegetables" easily. Another nice touch was listing the household pantry items at the start. Again, not necessary but a nice touch for beginners who will find it helpful.

In fairness, if it had a different tone and was say, more focused to child and teen beginners, I think it would sit better with me. When you're teaching children and teenagers, you want a few "ringer" recipes in the mix so that they can get a success under their belts right away. In that respect, I could see this being very helpful to say, a parent teaching a kid how to cook. To an experienced cook? I'd say it's probably too simplistic.  But to be fair, with title like Short and Simple, I wasn't expecting deconstructed paella with a side of bacon ice cream.

So let's talk about the Roloff aspect, shall we?

Let me tell you up front, if you're looking for amazing new content about the Roloffs, move on. Now do understand, I wasn't expecting any new content, so I wasn't disappointed. There's a forward by Amy's parents that amounts to "we're so proud of Amy". Amy does a forward as well where we basically hear the same story of how she learned to cook at 12, and how she wanted to run a bed and breakfast and was thwarted by people being touchy about her dwarfism, and blah blah blah cooking for the family is such a joy. I mean its a nice sentiment but pretty pictures in the book aside, how many times did we see the family sitting around the table for a home cooked meal?

So here's the thing. You're not going to recognize most of these recipes. I remember maybe five or six of these recipes. Chili, chicken enchiladas, that godawful shepherds pie, the potato cake, cookies, and "super burgers" andd honestly, I mostly remember Matt in regards to burgers and his slopping a lot of relish on said burgers. That means a LOT of these recipes are for things that you've never seen grace the Roloff's table. Honestly, judging by the horrified looks at smokedd salmon on the part of the Roloff kids, it's really hard to believe Amy has ever served "Simple Salmon" to the family. Likewise pretty much all of the "Starters" seemed way beyond the cuisine level of the family. Really, does anyone believe that Mushroom Goat Cheese Puffs, or Scallop Pesto Crostinis or Crab Cakes were ever offered out to a horde of teenagers for snack time?

That's not to say these aren't good recipes, they just don't seem to reflect the tastes of a woman who didn't know what veal or a cornish game hen was. I mean really, does anyone really think tilapia really is on the menu at the Roloff homestead?

What I don't believe is that this is a cook book full of healthy recipes. Lest anyone run to scream how I am "hating" - I'm not the one in at least one tv special who harped on how healthy and nutritious this cook book would be. Putting "94 percent lean ground beef" in a recipe does not make it a healthy recipe. Likewise, using kosher salt or suggesting that fat be trimmed from a beef cut, or skinless chicken breasts be used does not make it a healthy recipe. Amy uses a LOT of sour cream, heavy cream, butter, and buttermilk in her recipes. There's a lot of cheese in these recipes. Yeah she's saying use lean ground meat in the super burgers, but she's also adding egg and a half cup of parmesan cheese to the beef and then suggesting cheddar cheese and bacon as "condiments". The breakfast omelat has potates added. The breakfast smoothie has a 1/4 of a cup of honey added and there's a LOT of sugar in the recipes. The BLT salad, in the "light lunch fare" area of the book has 6-8 slices of bacon, 6 large slices of french bread for croutons, two table spoons of maple sugar, a 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a half cup of "low fat" mayo.  Don't get me wrong, I like hearty, heavy food, but really, with rare exception, recipes in this book have ground beef, sour cream, buttermilk, heavy cream, potatoes, eggs, and cups of sugar.  I'm not shocked in the slightest that Matt is diabetic.

My recommendation? It isn't a bad beginner cook book but don't buy it if you're expecting any new antedotes about Amy, and really don't buy it if you're looking for healthy recipes.

25 comments:

Brandon said...

Rap, can you refresh my memory? What does Chris Cardamone contribute to the book?

I could not bring myself to buy the Roloff cook book even if I loved cook books and was starving!

BeckyM said...

Sorry Rap you lost me at Bacon Ice Cream....:P

Carol said...

Does Jeremy appear shirtless in the book? That seems to be how the Roloffs promote themselves.

Chris Linton said...

Hey Rap? Any input from the other Roloffs? How about Jacob's "Your food is disgusting..." opinion? Does he elaborate?

Rap541 said...

To be fair Becky, there was no recipe for Bacon Ice Cream. Bacon Ice Cream is one of those foodie things that gets trotted out on Top Chef a lot.

Brandon, honestly, what Chris reflected? Let me put it this way. A lot of the recipes in no way reflect the food we've seen Amy make. Some do... but some don't. To use an example, I somehow doubt Amy has ever served crab cakes made from lump crab meat to her family. I'm genuinely uncertain she knows how to say "tilapia".

As for the book? My niece who is learning to cook might like it so I will add it to her pile of birthday stuff.

Carol - no shirtless Jer. In fact all the photos were, as an earlier poster pointed out, clearly done on the same day as a photo op.

Rap541 said...

Chris - no direct input at all. All the quotes are from Amy and they are of the "Molly loves this!" variety.

Lark said...

Am I the only one that finds the cover pic of Amy whisking in an empty skillet over a burner that's not even on to be rather humorous? "Add air, whisk vigorously until tender."

BeckyM said...

Rap ~ I was kidding. Meaning I was easily distracted from reading the rest of your review by something that actually sounded interesting (but was not in the book).

I used to watch Top Chef but stopped before the Horse meat episode as the slaughtering of American horses in Mexico and Canada for consumption by the French and Japanese is something I am against.

Rap541 said...

No worries.

Please try bacon ice cream. :)

It's delicious!

Dave said...

If I were Jacob and still ate at home, I'd get Amy the book for Mother's Day.

Kyle said...

Good eye Lark! Yeah now that you mentioned it, that's ALL I see. That's gotta be like cookbook rule #1. Have them taking pictures of you while you are actually cooking some of your recipes.

Anonymous said...

Amy and her own cooking book...hahaha! All of those boxed Happy/B day cakes...filled with additives....Amy cooking up pink slime...Dats what i have seen Amy cooking on the boring show. Nope wont be getting that book...no wait when it comes to The Dollar Tree Store like "kate gosselin's book" then i might buy it...MIGHT! Something STINKS in Roloff Land..CLOSE YOUR KITCHEN WINDOW AMY!

John Horne said...

I happen to just adore the Roloff family and yes I will buy this cook book not only for myself but for others.... Enjoy!!!

Kathy!!!!

lisa gaucker said...

Ignorance .if you can't say something nice keep it to yourself. This is supposed to be for an opinion on the cookbook not an opinion on the Roloffs

Barbara said...

It seems that Amy has gained a good amount of weight,anyone agree.

Anonymous said...

Yes she has put on a noticeable amount weight the last time I saw the show I thought wow. I recipes are good.

Sandi said...

Yeah, she is getting heavier. A lot of the recipes are
Fattening.

Stacy said...

Love Amy, but did gain weight.


Kim said...

She did gain weight, so big deal.

beckym said...

Considering her height and potential for genetic issues, gaining too much weight could be a big deal. If so, get back with the trainer, you can afford it.

Sasha said...

I don't think anyone wants to hurt her feelings talking about her weight.






When I saw Amy's weight gain, I felt sorry for as I have been battling weight my whole life. I hope when we see her next , she will have lost some weight. BTW, when does the show start again, I forgot.

Jordan said...

Beckym is correct. Weight gain is hard on anyone's joints.
I know from a friend that it is very difficult on a little person. Was surprised to see she had put a lot of weight on. Who knows, maybe she lost it by now. I just think she is so wonderful. She does everything with such a whole heart. I feel bad because on the last episodes she seemed unhappy.

Valerie said...

Has anyone seen any pics of Amy lately. She did gain a lot of weight, but I don't know for sure how long ago we are all referring to. I just adore her.

Jenn said...

That's true Valerie,, when did she gain all that weight ?
I believe they film way before they have it on TV , ( I think) Only a new picture will tell. Anyway, are reruns being shown. With all of these reality shows, I did not realize that they are not coming back, is that correct?
Loving animals, I miss the dog, he should have gotten more attention. Matt did pi-- me off on a few occasions.
Do adore Amy, hope she did lose weight for herself.

Pepper Provasnik said...

Though I tend to prepare skavic food and classic southern cuisine personally, I'm a mother...not sure if you are. But having more than one kid and responsibilities...well that's what I'd imagine this cookbook is for. Not the late 20 something gal living in park slope, or Manhattan. Easy, quick, recipes for large families with a budget. If this isn't a description if your life, then pat yourself on the back.