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December 1998 Issue
Four Selections
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Good Food F-A-S-T

About the Author

    Malcolm Hillier has a background in advertising, but his interests involve plants, flowers, gardening, and -- of course -- cooking. His interest in cooking was piqued by his aunt, who introduced him to fine cuisine in London's Soho. His interests have led him to write several books focusing on them.

About the Cookbook

    Good Food F-A-S-T is made for people who love food and cooking, but don't have much time for either. All of the recipes included in the book can be prepared in 30 minutes or less and most use ingredients that we all have on hand. All of the recipes are ordered by the time it takes to prepare them, so if you find you only have 10 minutes to make dinner, you can quickly find a Pasta with Figs recipe that fits the bill. You can pair that with Crostini as an appetizer and Strawberries in White Wine as a dessert just as quickly. An added benefit are the full color photographs of every prepared recipe.

    However, what really makes this book unique is its format. Unlike your normal cookbook, the format of this book allows you to plan an entire menu by choosing an appetizer, main course, and dessert and seeing them side-by-side. This is made possible by physically splitting pages 12-104 into thirds and placing all of the appetizer recipes in the upper third, all of the main course recipes in the middle third, and all of the dessert recipes in the lower third. If your menu requires an additional side dish, several quick options are suggested in pages 106-113. If that isn't easy enough for you, Malcolm includes some simple seasonal menu suggestions too.

    The unique format of this cookbook makes it a natural choice for cooking with children. You can emphasize the importance of planning a balanced menu by allowing them to take part in choosing menus. You can let them experiment with different colors, tastes, preparation times or techniques, and ingredients. Because the longest any recipe takes to prepare is 30 minutes, you don't need to worry about losing the interest and attention of your youngsters. Also, many of the recipes in the book can be completely prepared by children without the danger of burning or cutting. In those recipes that do require the use of knives or the stove, allow your child to help you wherever possible.

    All of the recipes in the book are designed to serve four people. You can halve or double recipes, but you might have trouble with halving in some cases in which whole vegetables or fruits are called for in serving. If you run into trouble, you can always use dishes instead and skip the extra flair.

    Because Good Food F-A-S-T is organized in such an unusual manner, its Table of Contents is split into three sections: Appetizers, Main Courses and Desserts. Here are some of the 150 recipe names and sections to give you an idea about what you'll find in it:

    1. Appetizers
      • Soups (like Thai Coconut Soup)
      • Eggs & Cheese (like Goat Cheese with Peppers and Pecans)
      • Pastry (like Stilton, Celery, and Macadamia Tarts)
      • Fish (like Scallops Foo Young)
      • Rice & Pasta (like Seafood Risotto)
      • Salads (like Pear Salad)
      • Vegetarian (like Tempura)
      • Meat & Poultry (like Chicken Liver Salad)
    2. Main Courses
      • Fish (like Pernod)
      • Poultry & Game (like Chicken Cacciatora)
      • Beef & Pork (like Ham with Cherry Sauce)
      • Lamb & Veal (like Skewered Lamb)
      • Vegetarian (like Orange, Nut, and Raisin Risotto)
      • Rice & Pasta (like Penne with a Fiery Sauce)
    3. Desserts
      • Fresh Fruit (like Raspberry Tartlets)
      • Cold Desserts (like Tiramisu)
      • Hot Desserts (like Melon Tart Tatin)
      • Pastry (like Almond Cream Tart)
      • Ice Creams and Sorbets (like Tomato Granita)
    If you love to mix and match your menus, you'll probably enjoy Good Food F-A-S-T. If you love fine food, but don't think you have the time to enjoy it, then you'll love it!

Where to Buy

    If you are interested in purchasing Good Food F-A-S-T by Malcolm Hillier, you are likely to find it among the international cookbooks at any large bookstore, such as Barnes and Nobel or Borders. You can also consult one of the online booksellers made available at the end of this article. The publisher's price of the cookbook is $24.95.
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