The I Hate To Cook Book by Peg Bracken – 50th Anniversary

This is my cook book.  I am not kidding.  This is it and I knew it as soon as I read it.  This cook book was written for me and I am that person they describe in the book, the one that has oodles of cook books big and small and still doesn’t get it or if you are like me not even sure if you want to.

With a busy lifestyle – both my husband and I, we do usually do not see each other until supper time.  By that time I have probably just walked in the door maybe 30 minutes before him, tired from work, working out, running errands and now I need to think about supper.  Honestly – I don’t want to.   I have told Al (hubby) before that if it were not for him, I probably wouldn’t cook at all.  A stove top is fine for me and I do love my microwave too.

When the kids were growing up I would bake during the holidays.  Ten types of cookies, bars, Divinity, fudge, almond bark…. I would bake like this for two days – covering my kitchen counters with sweet treats and a layer of flour.  The I would not bake again for months because I burned myself out.  Cooking and baking was never something I have enjoyed – it has always been a must do.

My mom was an incredible cook.  She could open the refrigerator and mix things together that was delicious.  I open the refrigerator and see things I need to throw out.  And soon.  My mom made her own croutons and her own cranberry stuffing.  She made a cheesy broccoli soup that I am sure could not be good for anyone as rich as it was but it did not stop us all from eating it and wanting more.

I am that person that no matter what recipe I am doing, I have to go to the store.  I have to search out spices, or buy an ingredient or two.  I never have these things at home. Shoot, sometimes I have never heard of what they are asking for.

And I would say the kitchen is the room I spend the least amount of time in.  I am not someone who can stand over anything to watch it simmer….. time and again (yesterday in fact) I will boil something over or burn a pan dry because I do not have the patience to keep an eye on things.  I will no doubt start a pot of boiling water and then decide I should go fold laundry and will forget all about the water.  My husband is a saint and always has a kind word to say  when I ask, “is that a little burnt?” or “I wasn’t sure about the spices – is it too much?”

The original cover 50 years ago

The I Hate To Cook book is filled with recipes with items I actually have.  Spices I have actually heard of and own!  And the best part is the recipes sound wonderful.  They are not recipes that you have to babysit.  You can make them and go.  AND the book is funny!  The new forward by Pegs daughter Jo is hilarious – and reading some of the recipes, you will see that Jo has inherited her mom’s sense of humor as Peg will put information in like in her recipe for Skid Road Stroganoff:

Add the flour, salt, paprika, and mushrooms, stir and let it cook five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink.

page 11, The I Hate To Cook Book

I drooled over the recipe for Sweep Steak.  I can make this and my husband will love it.  Stayabedstew?  YUM!  And I am probably making that this weekend as I have an overflowing schedule and meals haven’t even hit my radar.  Recipe after recipe I was overjoyed with the simplicity of it and the fact that it sounded so good.

I recommend this book to all people – men and women, who do not have a lot of time for the kitchen part of their home (seriously, I would rather have a three season porch there….) or the patience to create the dishes that are no doubt delicious and lovely and take hours of preparation.  I know you wonderful cooks are out there and I envy your skill, but after all these years I know I will never be there.  😀

I will be purchasing a few of these books for gifts this year.

A fun read – great recipes – so much so that I think I will be giving away a copy of this book for BBAW (starting next week!) So watch for that!  🙂

I received my copy of this book for review from Hachette Books

34 thoughts on “The I Hate To Cook Book by Peg Bracken – 50th Anniversary

    1. Yes Lynne – and it is fantastic. I have had some cookbooks that had simple recipes but they usually were not that good. These recipes look good – something you could even serve company. 🙂

  1. I remember when this one came out! Yes, I am THAT old…and more.

    I’m that person, too. I do recall a time in the early seventies when I thought cooking and baking was something I should do to enrich my Earth Mother image…yeah, right!

    I also recall how tense I felt whenever I had to create all those dishes for guests and had to time everything. That really made me nervous. Surprisingly, things turned out pretty well. But it was not enjoyable (for me).

    Then I got really busy with work and school at night for my master’s degree (I had four kids by then!).

    My daughter says she has no memory of me cooking. Probably because I pretty much stopped, except for basics, when I started graduate school (she was a baby at the time).

    Nowadays, I have a small galley kitchen in my condo, which is a great excuse not to cook much. My microwave is my favorite thing. I use the broiler sometimes and the stove top occasionally!

    Gotta get that book!

    1. I used to try really hard to be that woman too Laurel. I thought as a wife I had to have lovely yummy dishes out for my family each evening…. and man how I tried to overachieve with new things and even my husband said he didnt expect that of me – he kept saying this isn;t 1960 – you dont have to go all out on the meals. 🙂

  2. We could be twins!! I feel exactly the same way about cooking, but after your rockin’ review I’m sitting here at my library and going to see if they have this one. Who knows…maybe I’ll cook!!

    1. Oh good Staci! I think you will love it – main dishes with two or three ingredients and side dishes that look and sound so easy to do.

      I think I will post some of my efforts as I go 🙂

  3. I have had a copy of this book for ages…also the next on she wrote…she is soooo funny and you are right – anyone can cook this way!!!

    1. I love that Gram – and I love that she was that woman back when it wasn’t cool to be that woman. It seams like 50 years ago – as a woman that was expected of you. Cooking and cleaning. I love that she wrote a book that said hey, tha’s just not me. 🙂

  4. This cookbook definitely has my name all over it. I love to bake, but cooking, not so much. Who wants to spend their time in the kitchen when you have a growing stack of TBR books! 🙂 In the winter, I’m the crockpot queen….fix it, plug it in and forget it!

    1. Right Jill! Totally with you. The only thing that has saved me in audio. Now if I am listening to audio I swear it calms me and I can hang in the kitchen a bit more because I am also listening to a book.

  5. Sounds awesome, I do like to cook but being out til 10pm with soccer training 4 nights a week limits my time and when I am home, like you, I can’t seem to stay focused on just the kitchen; too much to do and too little time. I can boil potatoes dry and burn the bottom out of the pot because I got sidetracked with a phonecall or sewing on a button or folding the washing or walking the dog LOL
    Definitely a book for me to try!

    1. Teddyree you sound like you need this book to. I made the steaks yesterday and they were wrapped in foil and cooked at 300 degrees. The book said they could cook 3 hours that way and I thought for sure they would burn up to leather but nope – soft and yummy.

  6. Oh, goody, another cookbook. I have way to many (over 500 I think) and have not had much time to cook. That will change soon and I am looking forward to it. I love to cook and used to be half way descent at it. I am out of practice and it does make a difference. When the kids were young, there were so many reasons to be fixing something. With just the two of us it is harder. I grew up cooking for 8 or more at home and then we had three children and did a lot of entertaining while in the Air Force. Here, it is just us. I don’t even have coworkers to bake for or have luncheons and parties with.
    Once I get dug out, I am going to start trying at least one new recipe a week.

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