My thoughts: This book has a sense of adventure, with fabulous visuals that inspire sensory exploration and have you lusting after the American landscape.  As an Aussie, you could say that we have an adventurous palette when it comes to food.  I feel that Marcus' book, The New American,  brings some flavour to the bland American food culture which he refers to as " The Land of the Burger", the hotdog and the 1/2 a pig sandwich (okay, I added that bit- is 10 slices of ham per sandwich, really necessary?).  This book has given life to the mayo, chutney and corn bread...His intriguing cultural mix of an Ethiopian heritage and Swedish upbringing has inspired his desire to spice up the American palette...
"This could have been three or four great books, but instead it's one big messy one.  Just like America?"
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Eat Me Daily

Two Reviews 

If you're a novice cook , a majority of the recipes are indeed quite ambitious.  However, most of the techniques are doable -- it's the recipes themselves that are daunting with somewhat lengthy ingredient lists accompanying most.  But if you have an adventuresome side (and an abundant spice rack), these dishes will bring cuisine from all corners of the world into your kitchen. 

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To be honest, this book has sat on my dusty bookshelf for the past few months, next to The Fat Duck, another scary but fascinating culinary adventure.  In desperate need 'not to venture to the supermarket' and after a not very successful whoopie pie experiment (more on that later), I opened this book tonight to "French Fries".  I have potatoes!  How hard can this be?... No chickpea flour, nor grape seed oil - let's experiment (back up, check, baked beans)!

Gone in seconds, it was a quiet and quick dinner!

Pantry Must Haves

5 potatoes- I only had red potatoes (Idaho is recommended - cut into sticks)
2 stalks of Rosemary
salt for taste
1 teaspoon of Paprika
A sprinkle of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 cup of plain flour
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch (corn flour)
4 cups of olive oil
  • Rinse and soak potatoes in cold water for 20 minutes.  Drain and pat dry (I rinsed but no time to soak)...
  • Place potatoes in a bowl.
  • Add cornstarch and flour, toss and coat potatoes.
  • Add paprika, red pepper, chilli powder and salt to potatoes (alternative method- toss the spices on at the end)...
  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven.  Work in batches and to avoid overcrowding the pot. Test oil with one potato stick.
  • Cook until golden brown for 5-7 minutes per batch.
  • Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil for a few minutes.
  • Then place fries on a baking tray and into an oven preheated at 300 F while you fry the other batches.
  • Once all the batches are fried, leave them in the oven for 15 minutes or until you're ready to serve - for extra crispness xo

Inspiration has to come from somewhere...

A life changing moment - 
"My son Liam had been diagnosed with Cancer, I suddenly saw bake goods as more than just another way to spend time with my kids, create memories and show them my complete adoration. Suddenly, I saw bake goods as the essential ingredients that would inspire others to join the fight against pediatic cancer. I learnt to embrace the idea that bake sales really can change the world" Gretchen Holt-Witt (founder of Cookies for Kids' Cancer and Mum to Liam and Ella)
Click on the book for purchasing details

The Best Bake Sale Cookbook is a collection of signature recipes for all bake sale hosts. With the added feature of being chock-full of tips from successful Cookies for Kids' Cancer bake sales nationwide, the cookbook also shares photos and stories guaranteed to inspire everyone who loves to bake or loves children, to fire up the ovens and get involved.