The Branded Cookbook by Nick Sandler – review

Sounds like a recipe book from an old Arizona ranch. The Branded Cookbook is, in fact, a colourful, slightly retro, periodically Andy Warholish cookbook which concentrates on famous and iconic foods. It’s utterly unique, quirky, well designed and full of delicious and surprising ideas.

The Branded Cookbook The authors Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton have an amazing breadth of literary and culinary experience between them. Nick is the Creative Chef for Prêt A Manger and a well respected development chef. Johnny is a writer and journalist who has authored on topics as diverse as high altitude ballooning and the history of money!

The ingredients mentioned, for ingredients are just what these branded products become, are familiar and readily available. Staples like Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Quaker Oats, Vegemite (Vegemite??) and Heinz Tomato Ketchup. The recipes are certainly not all of the cheap and cheerful sort that I had expected. There are lobsters, mussels, salmon and Stilton to complement the Lea and Perrins and the Colman’s mustard.

I am sure we have all, with a sense of misguided guilt, concocted our own dishes using some of the aforementioned products. It’s a relief to find a real cookbook that acknowledges their quality, and encourages us to take that extra step and admit that the scrumptious fish supper was, in reality, Fish Fingers Coated with Oats, and Cornflakes with Hellmann’s Tartar Sauce!

The only product here that might cause the British home cook some problems is Skippy Peanut Butter. It’s a brand ubiquitous in the US but not so common in the UK. Use your favourite Peanut Butter and lie if necessary. Peanut Butter and Caramel Ice Cream has my vote. You have gotta love instructions that advise, “Squeeze on a good dose of caramel sauce and ripple it through with a shimmy of the hand.”

Camp Coffee (this has nothing to do with the Gay movement) will revive memories for anyone over the age of 50. It seemed the most common coffee around and was the forerunner of instant powdered coffee. It’s a combination of coffee, chicory and sugar and has long been recognised (by my aunty Jackie) as the essential ingredient in moist layered coffee cakes. The authors didn’t include my aunty’s recipe but offer Creamy Coffee Layer Cake, which is a very acceptable alternative.

The Branded Cookbook is an unexpectedly good and sensible recipe book. The concept might, at first, seem strange but all the brands mentioned have been around for decades because they are practical, flavourful and reliable. I will feel no shame in using these recipes and I am sure I’ll add a few ideas of my own. A brilliant gift.

The Branded Cookbook – 85 recipes for the world’s favourite brands
Authors: Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Price: £16.99
ISBN 978-1-85626-776-2


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


See more books by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton here