August 04, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

The I Hate to Cook Book: 50th Anniversary Edition

Current Status
In Season
Grand Central Publishing
We gave it an A-

One look at the recipe for Skid Row Stroganoff tells you all you need to know about Peg Bracken, the renegade 1950s housewife: ”Start cooking those noodles…. Brown the garlic, onion and crumbled beef.? 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.” The I Hate to Cook Book, a huge hit, was out of print when Bracken died in 2007. But its appeal seems timeless: I made that stroganoff in 25 minutes flat. A?

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