Book review: 'Quality Cooking' shows consumers how to use loss leaders to create gourmet meals

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, March 12 2013 4:20 p.m. MDT

"QUALITY COOKING AT A FRACTION OF THE COST," by Michelle Snow, Front Table Books, $18.99, 230 pages (nf)

Author Michelle Snow’s latest book, “Quality Cooking at a Fraction of the Cost,” illustrates how a family can significantly trim its food budget and still enjoy gourmet meals.

In this easy-to-read book, Snow shares her secret for creating low-cost, quality meals — grocery store loss leaders. She explains what a loss leader is — it's an item that stores sell below market value to stimulate sales of other items — and she tells how to build menus around loss leaders, use leftovers well and shop effectively.

Among the 18 grocery shopping rules she suggests: plan your meals around loss leaders; never take anyone with you when grocery shopping, especially children; never shop hungry; avoid grocery shopping after work; and stick to your grocery list.

The book is succinct and well-organized. The first 50 pages explain how to use loss leaders to plan menus. Snow provides a sample month’s worth of menus based on this concept.

In easy-to-read tables, the author has itemized food items used for each meal, along with the per-item cost. She shows what the savings might be by comparing loss leader shopping, non-loss leader shopping and the cost of similar meals in a restaurant.

The last half of the book is a collection of recipes divided into sections that include vegetarian and meat dishes, along with side dishes, breads, desserts, sauces, syrups and beverages. All recipes use ingredients commonly found in most grocery stores.

An index for the recipes and a measurement conversion chart are included.

The book will interest those who would like to economize and still eat well.

Snow, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has also written “The W.O.W. Diet!” and “The Queen of Common Cents.” She obtained a Ph.D. in public health from the University of Utah and is a contract instructor for the BYU Department of Health Sciences. The author and her family live in Kaysville, Utah.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.

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