Wednesday, October 7, 2009

favorite cookbook: jamie oliver's happy days with the naked chef

i think i have most of jamie oliver's cookbooks. i love his easy style and i find him very real and down to earth in the kitchen. i'm charmed by his accent (which i realize may say something about me that i don't care to delve into) and even more by his vocabulary. he makes me want to make meals that are pukka too. his recipes are easy to follow (or deviate from, as the case may be), he focuses on fresh, quality ingredients and he makes you feel like you'd be able to bung that up in no time, no problem.

but, the one of his cookbooks that i return to again and again is happy days with the naked chef. from the classic toad in the hole (p. 25) for a birthday brunch to his pancakes USA stylie (p. 40) on a sunday morning (we don't have bisquick here, after all, so we've got to make them from scratch) to the courgette (zucchini) salad (p. 96) as a side dish when the zucchini are coming out of our ears to the variety of dressings (p. 114-115) that i turn to whenever i'm feeling uninspired for that salad accompanying dinner to his stuffed bread recipe (p. 249) for which i've become mildly famous in our circle of friends...the recipes are delicious and repeatable.  because they're generally made with a few simple, good quality ingredients, they make even everyday meals like a roast chicken feel a bit luxurious, but are also special enough to serve to guests. this cookbook is in my Big Five (the other four coming soon) and is the one i always turn to first.

if you were to buy only one jamie oliver (says the girl whose new jamie america book just arrived), happy days with the naked chef is the one. you won't regret it.


A Cuban In London said...

I loved this post. When I arrived in the UK 'The Naked Chef' was all the rage and found Jamie loud and cocky. With the passing of time I have warmed to his wit and his easygoing ways. In fact, my 'Food, Music' posts owe a great debt to Jamie because he makes cooking fun and sexy for blokes (and for everyone else). And according to my wife, there's nothing sexier than a bloke in the kitchen with an apron on! :-)

Great post. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Jelica said...

Funny you should mention this one because it's been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for about a week now. I wanted to gett one of his books and after reading lots of reviews I decided that it should be the The Naked Chef and now I am certain about it :)

julochka said...

cuban - blokes are totally sexy in aprons. and when they cook in general.

jelica - he's definitely not a twat. and do be sure you don't just get the naked chef, get happy days with the naked chef, it's the best.

Bee said...

I cook a lot from Jamie's cookbooks -- most of which I own, too. I think he has been an incredible force for the good in the UK (and elsewhere) because he insists on REAL food and he makes cooking an inclusive thing. Last night Camille and I were watching his American program and he was cooking with some Navajo Indians. Although some of this comments seemed a bit facile, I LOVE his genuine enthusiasm for what he does.

Anne said...

I tend to be a bit standoffish about celebrities or other things that are all the rage (it took me years to start reading the Harry Potter series), but I can't deny that I have a soft spot for Jamie Oliver. I love that he's brought more attention to the cause of quality school lunches. I have two of his cookbooks: Jamie's Kitchen and Jamie's Dinners, and now I think I ought to go out and get Happy Days. Good, unfussy food. I love it.

Nimble said...

I gave a J.O. cookbook to my husband. It was The Naked Chef and I picked it because the cooking descriptions matched my husband's sort of hearty kitchen forays. I don't believe he's ever cooked out of it. Oh well. Guess I should have given him one of Nigella's.

I also find his writing a bit facile and repetitious but certainly generous and enthusiastic about good wholesome food.

christina said...

what's a twat? does it mean he is fine? oh this man gets my pans warm!!
i love me some big J!


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