My mom, untouched by the internet and its attendant vices, actually called me on the telephone to tell me to read Julia's Reed's review of the latest River Cafe cookbook [Yes, that Julia Reed]. Somehow, she found the friend-of-Rose/pregnant-Jerry-Hall-in-the-bathroom anecdotes amusing. The review does, however, get at the appeal of their cooking:
Some recipes are so simple as to be laughable. The list of ingredients for Beef Steak Fiorentina consists solely of a 5-pound T-bone, which you are instructed to ''season generously,'' grill and slice."Of course, that does not really help you if you don't know how to grill a steak, but it is absolutely the correct recipe for bistecca alla fiorentina. If you do know how to cook, but are trapped in unnecessarily complicated recipes, you should check them out, preferably in the form of their first book (the blue one, called Italian Country Cookbook in the US and sadly out of print). Once you've grasped the concept, the later books are a little obvious.