The I Hate to Cook Book: 50th Anniversary Edition Info

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"There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who
don't cook out of and have NEVER cooked out of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK,
and the other kind...The I HATE TO COOK people consist mainly of those
who find other things more interesting and less fattening, and so they
do it as seldom as possible. Today there is an Annual Culinary Olympics,
with hundreds of cooks from many countries ardently competing. But we
who hate to cook have had our own Olympics for years, seeing who can get
out of the kitchen the fastest and stay out the longest."


- Peg Bracken
Philosopher's Chowder. Skinny Meatloaf. Fat Man's
Shrimp. Immediate Fudge Cake. These are just a few of the beloved
recipes from Peg Bracken's classic I HATE TO COOK BOOK. Written in a
time when women were expected to have full, delicious meals on the table
for their families every night, Peg Bracken offered women who didn't
revel in this obligation an alternative: quick, simple meals that took
minimal effort but would still satisfy.
50 years later, times
have certainly changed - but the appeal of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK
hasn't.
This book is for everyone, men and women alike, who
wants to get from cooking hour to cocktail hour in as little time as
possible.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The I Hate to Cook Book: 50th Anniversary Edition:

4

Apr 20, 2014

This rating is based entirely upon the writing and not upon the recipes. I'm not sure I have any intention of ever trying any of these recipes*, but would sort of love for a book group to read it and take them all pot-luck.

Essentially, Peg Bracken was the Amy Sedaris of 1960. She was the woman who thought it was your god-given right to have a cocktail during cocktail hour and not be fussing in the kitchen. Bracken acknowledges that many women don't like to cook, and that especially for a mother This rating is based entirely upon the writing and not upon the recipes. I'm not sure I have any intention of ever trying any of these recipes*, but would sort of love for a book group to read it and take them all pot-luck.

Essentially, Peg Bracken was the Amy Sedaris of 1960. She was the woman who thought it was your god-given right to have a cocktail during cocktail hour and not be fussing in the kitchen. Bracken acknowledges that many women don't like to cook, and that especially for a mother working outside the home, it could be a real drudgery. It's a really interesting running commentary on how a woman could maintain harmony in the house by keeping up the gender role of cooking without actually killing herself in the kitchen, and is delightfully subversive in this mission. She was a real practical feminist, giving hilarious advice about not feeling guilty for not repurposing leftovers into a fussy new dish and telling it like it is about vegetables in a chapter subtitled "This Side of Beriberi" as she instructs in the Fancy Sliced Tomatoes to "keep going in this fashion, depending on how many people you're serving and how tired you get."

I loved the anti-guilt pep talks throughout the book. Peg Bracken believed that simply because you had half a dozen jars of sullen-looking leftovers glowering in the fridge that you were not a moral degenerate. Rather, at the end of her recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini, (which includes such bon mots as "This isn't exactly a lead-pipe cinch, because you have to make a cream sauce, but if you ever had to have company the day after Thanksgiving, you'll thank me for it." and "At this point you may wonder why you ever started this, but actually you're nearly out of the woods") she exclaims, "And next time, for heaven's sake, get a little turkey!"




*Having grown up in the land of the canned pimento cheese spread, Jell-O**, tuna casserole, and Lipton Onion Soup packet I have a pretty good idea about how how many of them would taste. Chipped beef! Canned mushrooms! Three-Bean Salad! Cream of anything soup as a basis for a meal! I believe that this work will only rise in anthropological value.

** "When the Jell-O is semi-firm, avert your eyes and stir in the carrot shreds" ...more
4

Jul 09, 2010

The Story: This cookbook was first published in 1960. You know, before cholesterol was counted and before we knew better than to serve each baked potato with a stick of butter. This fiftieth anniversary edition is just as delightful as the first edition, with a Foreward by Jo Bracken, Peg's daughter. The book itself witty and funny, and perfect for the a)college student who is just learning to cook; b) newlywed who focused all of his/her time on lecture and not enough time on lab; c) the busy The Story: This cookbook was first published in 1960. You know, before cholesterol was counted and before we knew better than to serve each baked potato with a stick of butter. This fiftieth anniversary edition is just as delightful as the first edition, with a Foreward by Jo Bracken, Peg's daughter. The book itself witty and funny, and perfect for the a)college student who is just learning to cook; b) newlywed who focused all of his/her time on lecture and not enough time on lab; c) the busy professional who still wants to make yummy food; d) the burnt-out mom who just needs something quick and easy AND yummy. The part I enjoyed the most about this book on a personal level was not its versatility, but the fact that a lot of the recipes that my mother passed down to me were in this book. They're named differently of course, but they're the same exact thing that I've been doing my whole life. The thing I enjoyed most as a reviewer of this book was that the language, though written in 1960 is just as snarky and valid today as I'm sure it was back then. The true test of a great book is whether or not it will stand the test of time. This one totally does, which is surely why Hachette chose to republish it fifty years later.

My Favorite Recipe: Sweep Steak. Not only does is just so happen to be the first one in the book, it just so happens to be the first recipe I ever successfully made on my own. So how could it not be my favorite? I love that there are 2 ingredients and that it's short simple and that she says, "bake it at 300° for three hours or 200° for nine hours, it doesn't really matter."

My Favorite Line: from the Household Hints chapter: "Or, building to ta truly frenetic climax, 'Is that precious wool skirt riddled with moth holes? Don't despair! Darn the holes, then get bright wool and embroider gay flowers over the darns. Very Tyrolean!' As I visualize that moth-eaten black-and-white-checked skirt of mine bedizened in this fashion I can see that things are rough in the Tyrol." I literally laughed out loud for like five minutes.

Cheque Please: Not only are most of these recipes easy, they're easy on the wallet. In order to get something delicious, it seems you do not have to buy roasted gorgonzola pine nuts and chopped hazelnuts at the store. You can use staples you have in your cupboards and keep down the amount of time and money you spend. Brilliant!

Who I'd Buy This Cookbook For: instead of listing every demographic in the world, see the list of people I don't think it'd be good for. It'll be easier.
Who I'd Discourage From Buying: Vegetarians, hard-core health-nuts.

Final Verdict: This cookbook is genius. It's versatile, relevant, easy, cost-effective, yummy and entertaining. It should be in everyone's kitchen. ...more
5

Jan 26, 2013

I'm old enough that I actually have one of her receipes (stayabed stew) clipped from Women's Day or some such magazine from the early 80's!

This book is a time capsule--there's no mention of microwaves, I think butter is an ingredient in every dish and she thinks the perfect desert is an Irish coffee. (She doesn't repeat the old joke, what's the perfect food? Irish coffee because it has the 4 food groups, caffeine, sugar, fat and alcohol!) It's written during the time when kids' birthday parties I'm old enough that I actually have one of her receipes (stayabed stew) clipped from Women's Day or some such magazine from the early 80's!

This book is a time capsule--there's no mention of microwaves, I think butter is an ingredient in every dish and she thinks the perfect desert is an Irish coffee. (She doesn't repeat the old joke, what's the perfect food? Irish coffee because it has the 4 food groups, caffeine, sugar, fat and alcohol!) It's written during the time when kids' birthday parties were at home (with balloons with their names on them tied to chairs for place markers), families ate dinner at home most nights (she lists 30 dinners to make and then says, if the month has 31 days then you can eat out that night) and you had people over for dinner. There's no receipe for lasagne, but there is for "lasagne casserole", because that's from the days when lasagne was exotic. The one ingredient she complains about the cost is wild rice.

But here's the thing--the receipes all work for today, they don't cost much and they're classic comfort food.

I miss Peg Bracken and Erma Bombeck. ...more
4

Jul 20, 2011

I used to roll my eyes at the idea of actually reading a cookbook and not just using it as a reference for recipes, but *this* one is worth reading! The author is funny and down-to-earth. Sure, the book is dated in a lot of ways (I don't think I can find an ice cube tray where the sections can be removed, and now that there are hair elastics that don't pull, I don't think I could convince my daughter to use a pipe cleaner for her ponytails). That's part of the charm, though. It's a nice little I used to roll my eyes at the idea of actually reading a cookbook and not just using it as a reference for recipes, but *this* one is worth reading! The author is funny and down-to-earth. Sure, the book is dated in a lot of ways (I don't think I can find an ice cube tray where the sections can be removed, and now that there are hair elastics that don't pull, I don't think I could convince my daughter to use a pipe cleaner for her ponytails). That's part of the charm, though. It's a nice little snapshot of late 50's/early 60's culture. In my mind's eye, I can see Betty Draper sneaking glimpses at this on those occasions when her housekeeper has the day off.

As for the recipes themselves, there are some that I'm actual game to try. Several call for cooking things in the oven at low heat and could be adapted for modern slow cookers. An awful lot of them call for lots of cheese or for cans of soup to be poured over something, and I think I'll pass on most of those. Even if I were to never make one of these recipes, though, I'm certainly glad I read the book! ...more
5

Feb 27, 2016

I have probably looked briefly at like 2000 cookbooks in my life.

There are like 20 that I have completely read.

This is one of the first cookbooks in my life that I really started using.

It is a great cookbook because 90% of the recipes are so easy yet they are at the same time so good.

With so many cookbooks, at least for me, a lot of the recipes are really not that great.

In this cookbook so many of the recipes are really good.

If I know somebody I like that is getting married this is the wedding I have probably looked briefly at like 2000 cookbooks in my life.

There are like 20 that I have completely read.

This is one of the first cookbooks in my life that I really started using.

It is a great cookbook because 90% of the recipes are so easy yet they are at the same time so good.

With so many cookbooks, at least for me, a lot of the recipes are really not that great.

In this cookbook so many of the recipes are really good.

If I know somebody I like that is getting married this is the wedding gift that I will give to them.

I really think this is the best overall cookbook that I have ever seen. ...more
4

Sep 22, 2016

I read the first edition of this cookbook with my son when we discovered my mother's unopened first edition at my father's house. We laughed and talked about the recipes and talked about my mother's reputation for cooking that was so bad that my father taught me to cook before I got to Junior High.

I remember laughing at Peg Bracken's recipe for the perfect martini -- only very cold Vodka and an olive -- and thinking that many of the recipes sounded like they would be good. The 50th Anniversary I read the first edition of this cookbook with my son when we discovered my mother's unopened first edition at my father's house. We laughed and talked about the recipes and talked about my mother's reputation for cooking that was so bad that my father taught me to cook before I got to Junior High.

I remember laughing at Peg Bracken's recipe for the perfect martini -- only very cold Vodka and an olive -- and thinking that many of the recipes sounded like they would be good. The 50th Anniversary Edition is not as steeped in the alcoholic 'Mad Men' traditions of the 1960s but it still contains good advice and good basic recipes.

This is still a fun book, but it is worth looking for a copy of the first edition. ...more
5

Mar 28, 2018

I thought this book was hilarious when I was young. I haven't reread it lately but the chocolate sauce recipe holds up.
4

Feb 08, 2018

I don't usually count cookbooks as "Books I've Read" BUT the I Hate to Cook Book begs to be read cover-to-cover. The recipes are true late-50s/early-60s monstrosities, but the commentary that accompanies them is delightful. Highly enjoyable (and let's be real; a couple tings in there don't sound that bad).
4

Apr 24, 2012

Do you HATE to cook? Would you rather do almost anything else, like paint the garage or weed the lawn? Do you resent having to slave over a hot stove night after night after night? Whatever happened to women’s lib, anyway?

Okay, maybe in the 21st century, women don’t always have to cook. But in 1960 the burden of housework still fell on women’s shoulders for the most part and Peg Bracken was fed up with it. Why would she want to waste hours on some gourmet meal her family wasn’t going to Do you HATE to cook? Would you rather do almost anything else, like paint the garage or weed the lawn? Do you resent having to slave over a hot stove night after night after night? Whatever happened to women’s lib, anyway?

Okay, maybe in the 21st century, women don’t always have to cook. But in 1960 the burden of housework still fell on women’s shoulders for the most part and Peg Bracken was fed up with it. Why would she want to waste hours on some gourmet meal her family wasn’t going to appreciate in any case when she’d rather spend time in bed with a dry martini?

Collected in this book that was a best seller in its day and continues to draw the disinterested or untalented cook are bunches of shortcuts, cheats, tips and tricks to get you out of the kitchen and on the sofa. The meals were tested exhaustively by Peg and her friends, held up remarkably well with the years and cost very little. From what to do with those pesky leftovers to what to do with those snooty other cookbooks, Peg had an answer and a remedy. The book is laced with comical drawings, amusing asides and acerbic commentaries that vividly reflect the no-nonsense attitude of its deceased author (don’t say “passed on”; Peg hated such silly euphemisms).

This would make an amusing stocking stuffer for the non-cook or simply any reader intrigued at what went really on in the kitchen when Dad’s back was turned.
...more
4

Aug 24, 2010

The I Hate to Cook Book starts off like this:

Some women, it is said, love to cook.
This book is not for them.

Basically, this book is for me.

The I Hate To Cook Book has tons of great recipes sorted in to simplistic chapters, each focusing on another important aspect of the chore of cooking: how to use leftovers, soups, salads, fancy meals for guests, last minute meals, cooking tips etc.

I loved the recipes in this book, and I actually (almost) want to get into a kitchen and try some of them out The I Hate to Cook Book starts off like this:

Some women, it is said, love to cook.
This book is not for them.

Basically, this book is for me.

The I Hate To Cook Book has tons of great recipes sorted in to simplistic chapters, each focusing on another important aspect of the chore of cooking: how to use leftovers, soups, salads, fancy meals for guests, last minute meals, cooking tips etc.

I loved the recipes in this book, and I actually (almost) want to get into a kitchen and try some of them out (usually I hand cookbooks to my mom and say “here, make this pretty please!!”). This one will stay on my shelf for… well in all honesty, I don’t ever intend to part with it. I mean, if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I’d better learn how to make something edible, right?

riiight.

The only reason I don’t give it five stars… there aren’t any pictures. And I really need pictures… because I can’t cook. Still, the recipes are easy enough that I’d probably survive just fine. As well as any man I might attempt to feed.

I recommend The I Hate To Cook Book for anyone who… well, hates to cook but is stuck with the job.
...more
4

Sep 29, 2014

I used to love to cook and bake. Now I only do it to keep us from starving and going broke from eating out.

This book is full of recipes that were popular in the 60’s. The book has many recipes that are quick, easy and have just a few ingredients, which are my favorite kinds of recipes. Many of the recipes use a “cream of” soup, but it would be easy to use healthier choices like “low fat” and “low sodium”, if you’re eating healthy. To make this cookbook even better, there is humor spread I used to love to cook and bake. Now I only do it to keep us from starving and going broke from eating out.

This book is full of recipes that were popular in the 60’s. The book has many recipes that are quick, easy and have just a few ingredients, which are my favorite kinds of recipes. Many of the recipes use a “cream of” soup, but it would be easy to use healthier choices like “low fat” and “low sodium”, if you’re eating healthy. To make this cookbook even better, there is humor spread throughout it.

You might have to figure out other ways to make some of them too, since the appliances we use in the kitchen have changed some. Overall though, I think these recipes could be adapted so that they are easy and tasty.

I plan on making more recipes from the book, but so far I’ve only made one ...more
5

Oct 14, 2017

I first read this book back in the seventies when I married and started cooking for someone other than myself. I bought this edition to give to a friend and decided to read it again to see if I still liked it. I did. But it's important to keep in mind that this was written in 1960, and a lot of things we have now were not available then. (I'm looking at you, microwave oven.) Even if you never cook a single thing out of this book, read all of it because her style is so humorous that you will be I first read this book back in the seventies when I married and started cooking for someone other than myself. I bought this edition to give to a friend and decided to read it again to see if I still liked it. I did. But it's important to keep in mind that this was written in 1960, and a lot of things we have now were not available then. (I'm looking at you, microwave oven.) Even if you never cook a single thing out of this book, read all of it because her style is so humorous that you will be cracking up. For example one of the recipes states, " Simmer for five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink." I don't smoke, but I can relate. If you are all interested in cooking and foods from years past, and if you ever read Erma Bombeck you will love this book. ...more
3

Aug 24, 2010

Since I love to cook, and wonder about people who don't, I had to pick up this book when I saw it at the library. I actually kind of liked it, although the recipes didn't do much for me. What I liked was the idea that although she doesn't naturally like to cook, she recognizes that it is an important part of family life, and therefore something she needs to do. Many days I feel like that, too. A very funny section about how to sound like you are a cook. "Fatigue my lettuce" - I think the author Since I love to cook, and wonder about people who don't, I had to pick up this book when I saw it at the library. I actually kind of liked it, although the recipes didn't do much for me. What I liked was the idea that although she doesn't naturally like to cook, she recognizes that it is an important part of family life, and therefore something she needs to do. Many days I feel like that, too. A very funny section about how to sound like you are a cook. "Fatigue my lettuce" - I think the author must actually really like to cook after all. ...more
5

Jan 03, 2014

One of the funniest reads I have had in a while. This is quick and enjoyable. I guess I should give it 4 since I won't make 95% of the recipes, but I just had such a good time reading it. Plus, there is this cool section at the end with all these tips that are like gold nuggets of household wisdom. A witty time capsule that still holds up today. However, I think many of these recipes are the reason my husband shutters at the word "casserole".

Update: I've made the Elevator Lady Spice Cookies One of the funniest reads I have had in a while. This is quick and enjoyable. I guess I should give it 4 since I won't make 95% of the recipes, but I just had such a good time reading it. Plus, there is this cool section at the end with all these tips that are like gold nuggets of household wisdom. A witty time capsule that still holds up today. However, I think many of these recipes are the reason my husband shutters at the word "casserole".

Update: I've made the Elevator Lady Spice Cookies twice. Better when you double the cinnamon and roll them in sugar, but a good dairy-free recipe. ...more
3

Aug 24, 2010

Enjoyed the commentary, not the recipes. Peg Bracken is the 1960's version of Rachael Ray or Sandra Lee - get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as you can. Too much condensed soup, bouillion cubes, etc. for my taste. But it's good to know that there were some women in that era that wanted to bust out of the kitchen and get to the party!
5

Sep 28, 2013

LOVE IT! And all her other books. Hate to cook, hate to cook cookbook, hate to housecleaning, her travel book. If she has other books, I need to read them, too!
2

Aug 03, 2017

I thought this would be a better cook book than it is. It was written before we knew much about healthy/unhealthy. I tried a couple of the recipes and the results were "meh"
4

Jul 08, 2019

not bad at all
if you are a reluctant adult
this will assist with said adulting
5

Sep 10, 2017

This cookbook is worth reading for the commentary, and some of the recipes are actually good, though a lot (most) depend on various canned things, especially canned mushroom soup. We've adopted (from the first edition and used for years) the bean salad recipe named here Aunt Bebe's Bean Bowl. The instructions state: "Mix everything together and marinate for twenty-four hours. Stir a few times, if you happen to think of it, while it marinates."
Recommended, even if you like to cook. Maybe you This cookbook is worth reading for the commentary, and some of the recipes are actually good, though a lot (most) depend on various canned things, especially canned mushroom soup. We've adopted (from the first edition and used for years) the bean salad recipe named here Aunt Bebe's Bean Bowl. The instructions state: "Mix everything together and marinate for twenty-four hours. Stir a few times, if you happen to think of it, while it marinates."
Recommended, even if you like to cook. Maybe you won't adopt any recipes, but almost anybody will be able to sympathize with not wanting to cook right now.
Recipe chapters are: 30 day-by-day entrees (or The rock pile); The leftover (or Every family needs a dog); Vegetables, salads, salad dressings (or This side of beriberi); Spuds and other starches (or Ballast is a girl’s best friend); Potluck suppers (or How to bring the water for the lemonade); Company’s coming (or Your back’s to the wall); Luncheon for the girls (or Wait till you’ve tasted Maybelle’s peanut butter aspic); Canapés and heartburn specials (or Who started this business?); desserts (or People are too fat anyway); Little kids’ parties (or They only came for the balloons); Last-minute suppers (or This is the story of your life).
Additional material: Household hints (or What to do when your churn paddle sticks); Good cookmanship (or How to talk a good fight); Equivalents, et cetera (or Dreary details that you certainly have no intention of remembering). ...more
5

May 30, 2018

I heard of this book from an article the daughter of Peg Bracken wrote. The article described the women that lunch and do charity work. This book is written for those who need to entertain but do not like to cook. Being a huge fan of cookbooks I had to order it. The original book was written in 1960 and I got the 50th anniversary edition with a forward explaining the changes in certain ingredients. I couldn't tell the difference from the usual fare of canned ingredients. It is heralded as the I heard of this book from an article the daughter of Peg Bracken wrote. The article described the women that lunch and do charity work. This book is written for those who need to entertain but do not like to cook. Being a huge fan of cookbooks I had to order it. The original book was written in 1960 and I got the 50th anniversary edition with a forward explaining the changes in certain ingredients. I couldn't tell the difference from the usual fare of canned ingredients. It is heralded as the cookbook for those who want to wrap their hands around a martini instead of a flounder.

I found the book to be humorous and laughed out loud in quite a few places. ...more
3

Feb 11, 2017

Entertaining and somewhat informative. More interesting when viewed as a glimpse into mid-century housewifery (e.g., the chapter on Ladies' Luncheon, which made me think of the book and movie The Help). Most of the recipes seemed to make use of cream of mushroom soup or similar, or canned or fresh mushrooms (meaning not for me) or onions in some form (meaning not for my dad, of whom I was thinking when I selected the book), though there were some good ideas to be gleaned.
5

Sep 14, 2017

Pretty hilarious, and actually helpful at the same time. She's got some wonderful cheats that still work great. The illustrations are delightful, the narrative voice is honest and charming, and it's one of my favourites (and the sequel is just as good if not better).

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).
4

Mar 26, 2017

Awards:
Grade: 5th an Up
Summary: A twist on a classic cook book. Say goodbye to complicated recipes that no one ever uses. These recipes are simple for the simple minded

Review: I am someone who actually loves to cook. However, my mother hates to cook so this was a treat for her. But it was a treat for me too!
Uses:
•Teach about cooking
•Teach about recipes
•Teach about s informational text
4

Feb 19, 2019

I have now read all of the reading-parts of this book, and they were hilarious. I will further update this review when I've tried some of the recipes -- not all of them, some of them are dated either in ingredients or in flavor, but some of them look pretty tasty and all of them look pretty easy, so it's worth a go!
4

Aug 22, 2019

I actually love to cook. I had gotten this for my best friend and decide to read it too. The author was funny and clever, there's quite a few great ideas in here. It also gave me a glimpse into how people that hate to cook, think. This is good for anyone really, but definitely a good gift for someone you know that would rather chop off an arm than get busy cooking in the kitchen.

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