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Help! There's a Stove in my Kitchen by…
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Help! There's a Stove in my Kitchen

by Annabel Frere

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Not many people know that I am the mother of royalty. Yes indeed, my older daughter is a Princess, a South African Princess, which means she cannot make her bed, the arcane lore of ironing is a mystery to her, and she can’t tell the difference between a washing machine, a dishwasher, and a stove. Fortunately she has mastered the kettle and the microwave.



There are many twenty year olds like her and while living in a pig sty and wearing dirty creased clothes is par for the course for some students, everyone needs to eat and her lack of culinary prowess loomed large in my stress levels. Until I discovered Help! There’s a Stove in my Kitchen, a South African book designed for little darlings like my daughter and her hoardes of fellow princess and princes.



The impressive array of basic household and kitchen hints [conserving electricity, removing stains, using lemons and salt for cleaning and deodorizing] simple conversions for people who don’t have fancy kitchen scales, and an invaluable list of pantry essentials – these alone make the book worth owning.



The recipes vary from the very simplest [how to microwave an egg] to somewhat more complex dishes like Lasagna or Pavlova, from the carb and calorie laden temptations of Bar One ice cream and Beef in Guinness with creamy mashed potatoes to simple grilled fish and salads.



Basic sauces, dips, easy-to-make breads, snacks, biscuits and canapés are included and the book is divided into handy chapters with headings like ‘Stomach Liners’, ‘The Morning After’, ‘Brain Food’ [all very appealing to 20-somethings] and the usual ‘Chicken’, ‘Beef’ ‘Pork’ etc. In addition there is a pretty good index which unravels the contents easily, with generous double entries, e.g. Mushroom Sauce is under both mushroom and sauce.



Criticisms? Nothing really but it would be wonderful to have the preparation time for each dish and the calorie value per serving. Also, in addition to pantry essentials, a list of cooking essentials – sieve, grater, frying pan, baking tray etc – would have been very useful to anyone setting up home for the first time. And be warned, there are very few vegan options here, although many of them can easily be adapted to vegetarian diets by simply removing one ingredient.



In short, this is a marvelous book and I recommend it highly: I intend to buy two copies – one for my daughter who is moving into a flat on her own after a life of pampered indulgence, and another for my husband. It’s about time he learned his way around a kitchen. ( )
  adpaton | Nov 21, 2011 |
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