Some women, it is said, like to cook.
This book is not for them.
This is how The I Hate To Cook Book starts out. The cookbook, first published in 1960 (a 50th anniversary edition of the cookbook is being released in just a few months), has been a hit with home cooks ever since. The cookbook does contain more than 180 recipes, but its biggest selling point is that it is witty and fun to read, with a fantastic tone that will make you want to read every recipe just to hear what author Peg Bracken has to say. It reminds you that it is ok to have realistic goals in the kitchen – such as getting through dinner with a minimum amount of work, or finding to easiest possible dish to bring to a potluck – rather than needing to aspire to be the next Martha Stewart with every dish that you make.
The book has 13 chapters, with the last two covering household and kitchen tips rather than adding too many more recipes. The chapters have titles like “Company’s Coming, or Your Back’s to the Wall” and “Desserts, or People Are Too Fat Anyway.” The recipes are very detailed with the sort of instructions that will make sense to even a non cook, such as “cook until it’s the color of a nice camel’s hair coat” can easily follow. Don’t be fooled by all the joking in the book, however: Peg Bracken was a good cook (whether she wanted to be or not!) and these are good recipes.
Since this is an older cookbook, some of the recipes are a bit outdated, but most are just as current as those you’ll find in any other all purpose cookbook. There are no full-color pictures (at least not in my 1960 edition) to show you want the recipes should look like. It has plenty of lovely pen and ink illustrations by Hillary Knight that will make you smile as you go through the chapters.