Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (October 22, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #124,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #30 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Methods > Large Quantities #162 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Entertaining & Holidays > Seasonal #565 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Methods > Quick & Easy
Here's the good news. Rachel Ray is one of the most talented recipe creators around. This book is no exception. The food here looks and reads delicious. The book is also beautifully illustrated with photographs of completed meals. The food, as advertised, is mostly "make ahead."So why only three stars?With a title like Week in a Day I was expecting a week of recipes that used many of the same ingredients and were easy for a busy home cook shop for and put together easily. This book, which contains a list of cooking days, each with a list of five recipes might better be titled "Week in a Very Long Day." Even very experienced cooks, used to cooking ahead will find a Sunday spent cooking these recipes all together, very long. Most weeks contain just a few recipes that truly help one another. For example, Week 1 starts out with pork tacos and ends with pork ragu. Okay that works. But in the middle come Crab Cake Mac and Cheese, meatloaf and a ratatouille, all of which use different proteins, many ingredients which don't overlap and require different timing. And don't get me started on the clean-up. I'm exhausted just thinking about it as no effort is made to consolidate.Most cookbooks with a make-it-in-one-day title, contain strategies for organizing a day of cooking, such as chopping onions for three recipes at the same time, or even sautéing them together. This book contains no such strategies and it's not clear why the reader should want to make them during the same week.The book also lacks shopping lists. The cheery introduction lists "Make a shopping list" in the READ ME FIRST! Section. Is this the same cook who gave us ingenious 3 in 1 recipes? The one who wrote the fantastic No Repeats book?
I have been waiting months for Rachael Ray's Week in a Day to come out. The idea is that one spends a day cooking (a Cook Day) to be rewarded with 5 delicious meals for the week ahead. It sounds terrific to this working mom of two tiny children but in actuality, the book doesn't deliver as well as I hoped.The book is divided into 43 weeks of 5 dish menus. Each week has its own theme: five fiesta favorites; meatlover's lane; a chicken in every pot; hearty classics, Thanksgiving anytime, etc. After that comes 4 foundation recipes (poached chicken, parmigiano-herb stock, roasted tomatoes, and pulled pork) that you use frequently. Then the final section is 1 Grocery Bag, 3 Meals in which you are given 8 grocery lists that promise three hearty meals utilizing only one sack of groceries.Don't get me wrong. I think the food is delicious and hearty. I cook everything from Food Network classics to Thomas Keller. I think Ray's food has improved steadily over the years and does deliver. The problem? I can't imagine utilizing many of these menus on a Cook Day to deliver meals later in the week. The recipes all have a common theme but most of the time that theme means cooking lots of different proteins and utilizing new ingredients with each dish. It isn't cost-effective and goodness knows, I don't own enough pots, pans, and kitchen implements to make all five recipes in a day. Ray says she frequently spends a good 5-6 hours cooking up a week's worth of meals. I can't see myself making 5 of most recipes in these menus in under 5-6 hours. The interruption of cleanup between recipes would make it an all day ordeal.I fully realize you have to spend some time in the kitchen to make good food, and her recipes are good.
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