HI I bought one of her books I think it was cooking for 2-4-6-and 8
I was totally happy. I started to look into it though and realized I made a mistake. Half of the stuff she puts in there my fiance and I would probably not eat or have never had or just won't have time to make because lack of normal ingredients. I'm sorry but to me couscous is foreign lol Don't get me wrong I love all kinds of different food, but I'm not about to go buy ingredients I've never heard of only to use them once and then have to throw them away. She has all kinds of crazy recipes. I was like wth? I dunno I'm gonna see what Giada and alton have in their books next.
1. i have one of giada's books -- everyday italian -- and there's a lot of yummy looking stuff in there, but to be honest i don't think it's very practical or relevant to regular people trying to cook regular meals for their families. but she's got other books out, so maybe those might be a little better... but that's just me.
2. i don't have any of alton brown's books, but based on my impression of him, i don't think his recipes would be very simple or user-friendly either. in "good eats," his recipes are often very complex and involved and oftentimes require more techie equipment... but i'm not sure if his book pertains to his show or not. and anyway, once again, that's just me!
also, as for expensive ingredients, sometimes you need to venture outside of your local grocery market to give yourself more options and better prices. my family and i go to asian farmers markets maybe once a month, and there is a huge variety of food for a relatively low-cost. don't be afraid to go into ethnic markets to find things every once in a while!
also (again), spices/herbs can be very expensive at first glance, but keep in mind that these are probably things that come up very often in recipes, esp. those written by the food network stars. soooo sometimes maybe it's okay to splurge a little on an ingredient, when you consider that you'll be using it frequently.
whew, that was long.