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The "Read My Lips" Cookbook: A Culinary Journey of Memorable Meals

Robert S. Swiatek (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-1333-7 ©2002
Price: $14.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 200 pages

Without exception, all of us love to eat and yet not everyone relishes cooking. The “Read My Lips” Cookbook by Robert Swiatek is a humorous, semi-biographical and instructive collection of delicious, simple and healthy recipes that will delight one and all.

The “Read My Lips” Cookbook is a culinary journey of the author after he moved away from home and resided temporarily in different places in the eastern United States. It has tested recipes that taste great, are good for you, are easy to make and won’t drain your wallet. It features real life experiences of the author that should make you laugh as well as instruct even the most experienced cook. It is not the only cookbook you should have but one that will improve your skills and enhance your culinary enjoyment.

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Customer Reviews

  highly recommended , 08/12/2004
Reviewer: Thomas Fortenberry...Midwest Book Review
Robert Swiatek has managed to cook up a memorable collection of anecdotes and recipes. The "Read My Lips" Cookbook is personable, humorous, and easy-to-use. This is not your average cookbook, however. The book is many things at once: cookbook, travelogue, and biography. Swiatek provides 56 separate main menus, complete with main course and dessert recipes, alongside party menus and other cooking trivia, while recounting his travels around the country over the years bumbling through the haves and have-nots of life. His personal stories are often very funny, intriguing, sometimes aww, but always memorable and really liven up what could have been yet another mind-numbing collection of recipes without a point. His subtitle (which is far better than his title, to be honest) hits the nail on the head: A Culinary Journey of Memorable Meals. The memorable part is two-fold. Yes, the recipes are for great food which will be memorable to us once cooked and eaten; but the real joy is reading his stories about how, where, and when he discovered these dishes. There are real gems inside this book. The Read My Lips Cookbook places fast, inexpensive, yet healthy meals at your fingertips. But you may find you linger over the tales or the memories they invoke in you. I am from the South and found myself smiling at Swiatek's recounting of his first trips into the South. A native of New York, he traveled to Florida. Growing up in Mississippi near New Orleans, I can only imagine what it must be like to experience Southern cooking for the first time. When I lived in Baltimore the tastes were completely different, much more bland in every way (excluding their very wonderful Old Bay seasoning on crabs), even though Baltimore is sometimes still considered a "Southern" city. So I can only imagine how the South must shock a non-native with its rich foods and heavy spices. Swiatek is also very honest. He says what he likes and dislikes, what works and what doesn't. In one part he recounts how he made a beef curry that he really didn't like, even though his guests did, and so has never made one since. He likes his chicken curry, but not the beef. That takes guts to say in a cookbook. But the honesty is much appreciated and makes you realize he believes in his meals. These aren't page fillers or standardized junk that he doesn't care about. It is all personal. If I have a complaint about the book it is that it isn't beefy enough (couldn't pass up the curry pun). Yes, I realize it is 200 pages and shouldn't become a massive tome. But the little tastes of tales I read really were enjoyable and mere snacks. They make me want much more and I wish he would have elaborated on a lot of the stories. But that might overbalance the book away from cookbook too heavily into travelogue and biography, so the balance is probably best as is. Besides, like any good cook knows, you give them a taste and not a feast to keep them coming back for more.

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  fun and entertaining , 08/12/2004
Reviewer: Alice Holman...RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
Not only does Robert Swiatek give us a day by day menu along with the recipes, he makes it fun and entertaining as well. He starts by giving us a run down of when he first left home and had to learn how to cook. Mr. Swiatek tells us the pitfalls to watch out for - especially when baking bread. And he also tells us not to let a failure stop us from trying again because the only real reasons for not trying a recipe a second time is that your friends hated it or it was too long and complicated for the outcome. Swiatek covers fifty-six days of recipes and menus, and descriptions of a few amusing disasters along the way. Like the spaghetti sauce that cooked so long all the bones in the turkey necks he used became soft and he had to toss it, or the chili that burned on the bottom and was ruined. He doesn't have very many dessert recipes so if that's what you're looking for, you might have to look elsewhere. Swiatek admits that desserts are not one of his favorite items. All of his recipes are cost effective.

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  a very good and realistic cookbook , 08/12/2004
Reviewer: Kevin Tipple...Blue Iris Journal - Plano, TX
As a stay at home Dad and all that entails, I am also the chief cook and bottle washer. One of the things I try to do is give the family some variety, as much as my skills will allow as well as taking into account everyone's particular preferences. Most cookbooks have recipes that are either way beyond my culinary skills or contain food that no one in this family will eat. This book was a pleasant change from the norm and one that I could actually use. With a lot of humor in mind, this cookbook is designed to help the reader create good food that everyone will eat with a minimum of preparation time or cost. The author weaves in numerous anecdotes about his life and cooking experiences since he left home more than thirty years ago. Often amusing, these stories do not detract at all from the most important part of any cookbook – the recipes. There are fifty-six suggested meals that run the gamut from the very simple (how to pan fry a steak) to something more complicated like Bulghur Pilaf. While I am not going to detail each one, each menu is of real food with real portions as opposed to something incredibly complicated as shown on the Food Network that can be finished in two bites. Throughout the menus, variety, healthy additions and other general tips are stressed. Cooking should be fun and the author heartily embraces the concept while imparting a lot of experience. This is a very good and realistic cookbook and is far different from the normal cookbook. It is well worth owning and would be perfect as a gift for the young adult moving away from home or for the chief cook and bottle washer in your home.

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