Sunday, 8 September 2013

Jamie Oliver vs Me!

I have cooked imaginatively with leftovers both personally and in my role as a professional chef, my entire, and now fairly lengthy, adult life.  I have not only cooked this way to save money (although it really, really helps!) and because in some places I have worked food supplies have been tricky but also because that's just the way I am.  I like nothing more than to be confronted with a mix of foodie bits and pieces and make something cohesive and delicious from them.  To be fair I do not claim, as Jamie does, to "shop smart" although I am a bugger for the bargains but, as I say in the intro to my book ...

"The Leftovers Handbook is about getting the utmost pleasure out of every single scrap of food available to you.  The waste it tackles is not so much about money or resources but of good eating opportunities.  As a bonus, of course, this will save you money and may even help the planet."

And it is my book that I want to have a bit of a moan about today!  I worked long and hard on this and I am very proud of it.  The recipes and ideas are my own, often cooked by me in less than perfect conditions (in a small and crappy caravan and on boats both at sea and at anchor for instance) so I am pretty sure they will work in bedsits and other cramped conditions. 

I have been very excited to see how my book is doing (rather hampered by some problems with BT - see here) and now I feel I might be upstaged by someone with less aptitude for this particular task, offering less useful information (but lots of pretty pictures) just because he is a "name".  I am not trying to diss the guy in any way but surely frugality is not his area of expertise. 

Below are some quick comparisons I have cobbled together, if I think of any more I'm sure I'll mention them later! As I say I do keep an eye on how things are going Amazon-wise and see that today my book is ranking at # 7,897 with 13 five star reviews and no others and Jamie's is at # 1 with 15 five stars, 3 four stars, 3 three stars and 4 rather cross 1 stars.  

So if it's not price or amount of info or qualifications or customer satisfaction that makes celebrity chefs' books so popular then it must be ...?  What is a girl to do?

o              120 Recipes

o              The book covers 5 main groups; Vegetables, Chicken, Fish, Beef, Pork and Lamb but seemingly no desserts, salads, breakfast dishes etc.

 o              Written by a wealthy TV chef (although I do realise he may have started out poor!  I know I certainly did.)

o              Cover price £26.00 - reduced to £19.00 on Amazon

o              Lots of photos

o              Over 500 Recipes + tips, ideas, cooks treats, handy hints, (jokes, quotes and other interesting stuff) and including 30+ flexible Basic Recipes.

o              My book deals with over 450 possible leftovers from something as normal as bread (18+ ideas and recipes) through all the different fruits, veggies, meats, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, rice, cheese etc. to obscure bits and pieces such as chicken fat and pineapple cores and even things as unlikely as chocolate and booze - I've tried to cover the lot. 

 o              Written by a widely travelled real chef who is, incidentally nowhere near flush with money (might be all that travelling!)

 o              Cover price £12.99 reduced to £7.16  on Amazon and £6.80 for the Kindle version

 o              No photos!!  This is because the publishers felt that there is so much information in the book there is not room for pictures without putting the price up considerably. In a way, however, I am pleased about this.  Pictures of food arranged by a stylist and photographed by a professional can be more daunting than useful!   My photos, however, of food cooked by me, arranged by me, photographed by me and then eaten by me can be seen on Pinterest Leftovers ~ my favourite Ingredients!