TLC Book Tours Presents: Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain

Jamie Oliver's Great Britain: 130 of My Favorite British Recipes, from Comfort Food to New ClassicsJamie Oliver’s Great Britain: 130 of My Favorite British Recipes, from Comfort Food to New Classics

Release date: 2012 / 416 pages

Synopsis(from Amazon): Having grown up in his parents’ gastropub, Jamie Oliver has always had a special place in his heart for British cooking. And in recent years there’s been an exciting revolution in the British food world in general. English chefs, producers, and artisans are retracing old recipes, rediscovering quality ingredients, and focusing on simplicity and quality. Jamie celebrates the best of the old and new (including classic British immigrant food) in his first cookbook focused on England.em>

Review:   I was thrilled when TLC contacted me about reviewing Jamie Oliver’s latest cookbook.  In my other reviewing “gig” (at Shelf Awareness), I have been asked to review many cookbooks and at first this seemed strange for a site dedicated to book club picks; however, I have found that I love reading and evaluating (and trying out) new cookbooks.  And what better way to impress your book club than to accompany your discussion with a meal or snack appropriate to the setting of your latest pick!

When I first started flipping through Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, I immediately noticed how Oliver’s personality saturated every page.  Instead of “Acknowledgements,” Oliver has “GREAT BIG THANKS,” instead of a “tablespoon” of butter, he suggests a “knob.” (All other measurements are standard). The introduction is written in all caps and includes the following line: “Every time I wrote a recipe for this book, I had to restrain myself from starting each intro with the sentence ‘This dish will make you so happy,’ but I swear, it’s true, this is beautiful comfort food at its best — unfussy and unpretentious, but full of life.”  Sounds like a pretty good description of Oliver’s personality, doesn’t it?!

I was fortunate to study in England for 6 months while in college and believed the country’s reputation for unappetizing cuisine quite undeserved.  As a vegetarian, I loved the variety of options I found on every menu and especially loved the “full English breakfast” found in most pubs.  Oliver addresses the bad reputation of his country’s food in the intro and then explains why he decided to become a chef as well as a bit of his journey in writing this book.  He reveals that dishes that are considered quintessentially “British” are often products of ancient immigration — “fish and chips” for example, was introduced by London’s Jewish immigrants in the 1800’s.

But Oliver does not only focus on the old stand-bys.  While the Table of Contents includes expected sections on Afternoon Tea, Puddings, and Pub Grub, he has also included New British Classics like Empire Roast Chicken and Wild Food like Scottish risotto and golden pheasant hash.  Fortunately for my fellow vegetarians, the section on vegetables is thick and sumptuous, but even the most carnivorous section has side dishes included for the less carnal.

Beyond making sure there is something for all palates and persuasions, when I review a cookbook I always look for intimidating ingredients and unclear explanations — and I found neither!  Most of the dishes include ingredients that are recognizable and easy to find — even in the U.S. — and the explanations are clear and straight-forward.

One last observation that cannot go unmentioned — the photographs by “Lord” David Loftus are gorgeous — not only of the dishes, but of the many sights and settings unique to Great Britain.

I was not planning on giving away a copy this week (I really want to keep my copy!), but the publisher has graciously offered an additional copy for me to give away!  So, feel free to leave me a comment below and I’ll choose a lucky winner soon!

Jamie Oliver’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Saturday, October 6th:  Beth Fish Reads
Monday, October 8th:  Book Club Classics
Wednesday, October 10th:  Anger Burger
Friday, October 12th:  girlichef
Monday, October 15th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Tuesday, October 16th:  Broken Teepee
Wednesday, October 17th:  Southern Girl Reads
Thursday, October 18th:  Very Culinary
Friday, October 19th:  My Bookshelf
Monday, October 22nd:  Zesty Cook
Wednesday, October 24th:  Luxury Reading
Thursday, October 25th:  Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books
Friday, October 26th:  The Sisters Cafe
Monday, October 29th:  The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Tuesday, October 30th:  In the Hammock
Thursday, November 1st:  2 Kids and Tired
Monday, November 5th:  Foodie with Family
Thursday, November 8th:  Bookfoolery and Babble
Friday, November 9th:  Amused by Books
Monday, November 12th:  Farmgirl Fare
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16 Responses to TLC Book Tours Presents: Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain

  1. Carl says:

    Great choice for a review and a giveaway. Jamie Oliver is one of the most interesting and dynamic young celebrity chefs out there. His effusive spirit is just contagious. It makes you happy to cook the food and happy again when you eat it. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Laura Elizabeth Newman says:

    Jamie Oliver is one of my favorites! Would love to have one of his cookbooks. Thanks!

  3. Meg Dyer says:

    I was so happy to see your review of this book – and a cookbook at that. It would be great if you could do more of these. So often cookbooks are reviewed by professionals that I suspect have a bit more experience in the kitchen than I do. You may also be a professional, but I can tell from your review that you keep in mind those of us who are looking for a short, fast, straight line to making dinner when evaluating recipes. I’m sold on this book. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Jamie Oliver, author of Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, on tour October/November 2012 | TLC Book Tours

  5. My book club reviewed a few cook books and had great fun with them. We each chose a different recipe to make and bring to our meeting – it was always great! This would be a really fun book to do that with!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  6. Patti Smith says:

    I wondered what vegetarians would think…especially the chapters on wild game and the livestock in the area. I definitely agree with you about the chapter on vegetables and the incredible sides offered with the rest of the dishes as well! 🙂 Great review!

  7. Kristen says:

    Yes! He was quite accommodating to vegetarians 🙂 But omnivores would be thrilled, too…

  8. Suko says:

    Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite celebrity chefs. He makes cooking look like fun (and it can be, when you are relaxed and have the right ingredients). I love his TV show because he hosts those cool dinner parties with his friends. I’d love to have a copy of his latest cookbook. Thanks for hosting this great giveaway!!


  9. Jann says:

    I had the opportunity to eat at one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants in London several years ago. Food was wonderful! I would love to see his take on “bland” English fare!

  10. Joanna says:

    Love Jamie Oliver and would love a copy of this book!

  11. anne says:

    This cookbook would be a treasure. Thanks.

  12. ellie says:

    I enjoyed this review and would savor this book.

  13. diane says:

    thanks for this great book. Jamie Oliver is special for his books and delightful personality.

  14. greg says:

    Your review made me want to return to England and give English food another chance. (Happy Birthday!)

  15. Karen B says:

    He is so much fun to watch and I’m really impressed with “Jamie Oliver ‘s Food Revolution.” Would love to win a copy of his cookbook.

  16. This was a lot of fun to read. The Early Autumn Cornish Pasties were terrific. I loved the photos and commentary as much as the recipes. Great review.

    2 Kids and Tired Books

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