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The Little Book of Pasta Tips - Andrew Langley

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Author: Andrew Langley / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 11 March 2010 / Genre: Cookery / Subcategory: Cookery By Ingredient / Category: Pasta Dishes / Publisher: Absolute Press / Title: The Little Book of Pasta Tips / ISBN 13: 9781906650452 / ISBN 10: 1906650452

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      19.01.2013 20:28
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      A basic book about pasta

      "The Little Book of Pasta Tips" arrived on my bookshelf the year before last, via my Christmas stocking. It is a perfect size for being a stocking filler as it really is a tiny book. Amazon says it measures 10 cm by 10cm and I am sure they are right. I also recieved two other titles in the series, but the Pasta book was the one that intrigued me the most. The author, Andrew Langley, isn't a writer I had previously any knowledge of but I don't mind that. The blurb on the back of the book mentioned that the little volume contained 50 tips for the preparation and cooking of pasta, and I was interested to see how they could find so much to say about quite a simple food. I soon had my answer..

      The book contains 112 pages, and every tip is displayed on a two page spread. So one side of the spread just contains the tip number. I don't mind this considering the size of the book and how difficult it could have been to read had several tips been crammed into the same space. The trouble with the small size of the format is that when a tip can't be described in a few words, it is stretched into several entries. For example, a recipe for fresh pasta takes up tips 17-30, with the ingredients being listed under the first tip, the equiptment you will need under another and so on. I don't really call the information that you should make your pasta out of flour and eggs a "tip". I have made home made pasta before, and I do think a recipe for it has an obvious place in a book about the stuff, but if you have no intention of making your own, you are left with a lot of useless entries. I did appreciate the advice on how to store fresh pasta, because I often make too much. I had thought it would only keep in a usable condition for a short time compared to the ready dried kind.

      Elsewhere in the book there are suggestions on how to serve pasta, a few simple sauce recipes, and advice on how to know how much to cook and for how long. I wouldn't really call this a recipe book, as there aren't many actual recipes inside. The ones that are there are not especially unique and unusual. {A basic tomato sauce or pesto for example.] Almost any main meals cookbook I own includes more. At least these sauces are covered within one entry or the book could have consisted of nothing but a recipe for fresh pasta and a sauce! There are no pictures to tempt you into making any of these simple dishes, but as they would have to be small photos anyway, I don't miss them. It does mean the book looks a bit colourless inside, as all of the text is produced in either a shade of grey or black. It isn't a coffee table type book though, and no doubt a bit of colour would push the relatively low cover price up.

      I read the book from cover to cover in about 10 minutes when I first got it. I struggled to find any advice that I hadn't already read in countless other cookbooks and not just ones based around pasta recipes. The information on how to dry your home made pasta is the only exception for me. I have a lot of cook books to be fair, and the advice is still useful if you haven't heard it all before. For that reason I think the book could be useful for a beginner cook - especially if they ever fancy making home made pasta at some point in the future! I re-read it again whilst sorting out my book shelves and I didn't feel it had any advice that I would want to keep refering back to. So I have decided to give the book to a charity shop. If, like me, you have other books dealing with pasta, or mediterannean cooking in general, I doubt that there would be much unique advice in this book and I wouldn't recommend it. I can't help feel the material has been stretched a bit thin, but the low price of the book does mitigate somewhat. The cover price is £3.50, and there is no discount available on Amazon unless you go to marketplace sellers and opt for a used copy. I would do the latter, as I think you would pay a price that better reflects the level of content.

      [This review also appears on Ciao under the same user name.]
      ISBN ISBN-13: 978-1906650452
      Absolute Press, 2010.

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