Positive and Negative Reviews

Most of the reviews that I write are fairly positive in nature, simply because I selectively shop for (and request for review) books and items that interest me, which means that they’re already partially vetted. However, every now and then I’m reminded that there are exceptions. This has always been one of my pet peeves when I read cookbook reviews, particularly on consumer review sites–it seems like so many folks review cookbooks based on how good the recipes look without ever making them, which can give you a totally off-base idea of how good the cookbook is.

I’ve encountered cookbooks which looked uninspiring but produced amazing flavors. I’ve seen recipes that looked overly-long and complex, but turned out to be simply well-detailed and surprisingly easy. I’ve also seen cookbooks that appeared to be works of art in terms of appearance or food, yet produced uneven or downright inedible results. Not to mention the cookbook with the recipe that produced a fireball in our oven (yes, my husband’s eyelashes and eyebrows grew back).

It’s interesting the retrospective I’m getting as I move the remaining cookbook reviews over to the new blog. There are more than 6 years’ worth of reviews to move in–probably over 500 by the time I’m done, I’ll guess–and it’s fascinating to look at the wide range of books I’ve reviewed, not to mention my own changes in style and taste as things have gone on. While I occasionally edit the reviews a little to add in additional information and such, however, I’m not overly changing them. I’ve always strived to include enough information that folks could make their own judgment on an item whether or not they share my tastes, and I think in large part I’ve succeeded with that. It means that my reviews are often longer than those you’ll find on other sites, but I think you’ll find them useful.

Just for fun: Oh yeah, and, gotta share a friend’s impression of the Nevada quarter.

Posted in News & Musings, Writing

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