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November 6, 2021


#AusReadingMonth 2021 Cookbook nr 1

by N@ncy
  • Author: Donna Hay
  • Title: Basics to Brillance
  • Published: 2016
  • Monthly  plan
  • #NonFicNov 2021
  • #AWW 2021
  • #AusReadingMonth2021   @bronasbooks


Background and authority.

  • Donna Hay (1971)
  • Author of 27 bestselling cookbooks
  • Her books are known for their simple recipes
  • …and beautiful photography.

Identify the intended audience.  

  • Foodies: love her recipes
  • Professionals: irritated that this self starter has become rich and
  • famous by peddling recipes that a child could master.
  • Nancy: not one of Donna Hay’s fans…after reading her book!



  • Strong point:
  • If you love beautiful food photography…this is you book.
  • I am more interested in cooking….and not picture gazing.
  • This coffee table size cookbook is not
  • …something that is easy to use in the kitchen!
  • Strong point:
  • Ms Hay includes handy “notes” in each recipe.
  • Weak point:
  • Many recipes include references to basics…
  • for example: chicken base soup “see basic recipe”
  • or…basil pesto “see basic recipe”
  • …but I wish she would include the
  • page number where the reader can
  • …FIND the ‘basic recipe”. 
  • I lost time and interest searching in  this
  • chunkster of a cookbook!
  • Weak point:
  • Buyer beware!
  • ratio price/quality 
  • 36% of the book is filled with full page food photography
  • 32% recipes (some were spread over 2 pages that easily could have been 1 page)
  • 32 % miscellaneous – glossary, measurements, bio of Ms Hay, Thank-you note and index
  • Weak point:  personal note…all recipes are printed on black paper
  • …depressing and difficult to read!
  • Last thought:  not recommended
5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 7 2021

    I confess that Donna Hay is not in my kitchen either. That is, I was given one of her earlier books a decade ago, but have barely/rarely used it. The recipes do not inspire me.


  2. Your list of weak points are why I almost never buy cookbooks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts


    • Nov 7 2021

      Sometimes it is better just to have “go-to” cooking websites and browse the recipes.
      My favorites are NYT Cooking and Cooks Illustrated.
      Thanks for your comments!


  3. Nov 27 2021

    Although I love some good food photography it’s not my focus in looking for recipes or foodie reading either. I like simple recipes too, to make it easier for me to cook when I’m tired, burnt out, etc. so for that I’d be interested in this, but not if it’s difficult to use in the kitchen 😦 and so heavily photo-focused. Thanks for the insights and saving my time!!


    • Nov 27 2021

      Who wants a coffee table sized cookbook in the kitchen? That’s just madness! Ha!
      I have one more cookbook to review/post….saving the best for last!
      PS Just finished “Empire of Pain” (short review under …Monthly Planning…link of blog.
      I was so speechless after reading it….my review (long) could never do,the book justice. P.R. Keefe’s book is shocking/amazing.



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