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Book DetailsISBN: 9781922268167
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Book Review: Don Tillman's Standardised Meal System by Graeme Simsion - Reviewed by CloggieA (15 Dec 2019)
5 stars “The guacamole component should not be made in advance, as it is likely to be discovered and eaten. This will unbalance the main meal and encourage margarita consumption, which is technically not permitted on a Thursday.”
Don Tillman’s Standardised Meal System is a guide book from the protagonist in Graeme Simsion’s Rosie novels. Which reader of The Rosie Project can forget the scene where Don explains to Rosie how his meal system works? It apparently struck a chord with many readers, who wanted more detail. And here it is!
As expected, the format is logical, beginning with an explanation of the rationale for using the system, listing, even-handedly, both its many advantages and also, until it was revised, the (now non-existent) disadvantages. The Principles and Rules are clearly stated, and these make good sense. The General Advice section is also useful.
Menu Plans and Recipes follow. A basic Breakfast plan precedes four sections with weekly menus for each season. Within each section, the Recipes list ingredients under two headings: Common Resources; and Recipe-Specific Ingredients; thus simplifying shopping. He also includes a downloadable User-modifiable shopping lists and equipment lists to assist with this chore.
Ever organised, Professor Tillman provides little reminders of things that need to be prepared in advance, on the day they need to be done. And the recipes? Delicious-sounding and none too complicated, with variations on the basic recipes suggested. Don gives advice on (and rationale for) healthy food and alcohol consumption, although his cocktail suggestions for the Autumn Tuesday menu are likely to invite numerous experiments. But lest the reader think the content is dry and dull, it should be stated that careful reading often reveals hilarious gems, stated in typical Don Tillman fashion thus: “Almost everyone has the ingredients for an omelet, but many lack a non-stick pan – more specifically, a non-stick pan which has not lost its non-stick properties through use of an unsuitable spatula or cleaning regimen. If your host has a damaged non-stick pan, I recommend disposing of it – surreptitiously, because experience suggests they will react negatively to advice on the importance of proper maintenance.”
Another amusing pearl: “Strip leaves from sweet corn, hold on its end on a chopping board, and use knife to “shave off” the kernels. Retrieve stray kernels from bench and floor, and put in bin or with other kernels, depending on your attitude to hygiene and waste.” Similarly: “Put broccoli in baking dish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Grate 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, add to dish, and toss using hands if nobody watching, spoons otherwise.”
Don also suggests meal-related topics for discussion over dinner, and shares his conversations with the food vendors he regularly encounters. In fact, Don wisely (given his nature) delegates the need for spontaneity in his menus to these food experts. This wealth of useful information is contained within a sturdy little hardback book with an attractive cover designed by W.H.Chong. This unbiased review is from a copy provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing.
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