Pret DIY, The Recipes “Food On The Move” – Book Review

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Pret DIY, The Recipes “Food On The Move”
Jane Lunzer Gifford
£14.99 (about $23), 2008
Available at Pret a Manger stores
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

In an earlier post (‘Pret a Manger? Abso-bloody-lutely!‘) I expressed my enthusiasm for the food at Pret a Manger (aka. Pret) in London. So much that on the last day of my recent trip to London, I snuck into a Pret in Piccadilly Circus for a last moment indulgence with one of their homemade sandwiches before I headed out to Heathrow.

As I savored my sandwich, I scanned the restaurant trying to remember the moment before I would fly back home; a place I love, but a place that is Pret-less.

It was at that moment that my eyes landed on a pile of books set a little to the side of the general flow of traffic. What was this?

It seemed like the folks at Pret knew there were poor souls like me out there and provided a way I could take a little Pret with me…your good old fashion cookbook. This is in reference to its form factor, not its contents.

Up to page 25, the book (which I devoured on the first leg of my trip from London to Chicago) talks about the general philosophy of Pret and just inspires the reader to eat healthier and have fun with food. The narrative is sprinkled with thoughtful quotes and whimsical photos of food as different objects. For example on the cover there are two loafs of bread made to look like elongated running shoes.

And finally I saw it.

And finally I saw it. On page 120, staring right back at me on the bottom of the page was the Hoisin Duck Wrap recipe.

On page 120, staring right back at me on the bottom of the page was the Hoisin Duck Wrap recipe. The ingredients were so simple and straightforward. This is another thing the book mentions, that making sandwiches is not rocket science and really the book is to provide inspiration for readers to perform their own fridge raid and discover their own creations.

The book also has a section called “Too Good to Move” – recipes tested for Pret but never included on the regular menu because they just couldn’t last on the shelf for a couple of hours. These recipes need to be eaten as soon as the dish is made.

For those of you who love Pret or think that recipes should not be followed to a tee and instead be a fountain of inspiration, then this book will fulfill that craving.

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Outside a Pret a Manger shop

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The counter at Pret a Manger. Notice the McDonald’s “M” in the background.

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Green is part of the Pret brand.

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  • Jessa

    Am gutted to learn about the book only now – two years after leaving London. Can’t seem to find it for sale anywhere – any chance you could share the instructions they give for their hoisin duck wrap? It was our fave and it seems simple enough but I’d love to know if there was a component I’ve forgotten…

    As much as I agree with you about the brilliance of Pret, I feel I have to disagree with the comment you made about British cuisine in your first Pret post… true British cuisine is actually phenomenal, and most born-and-bred Brits will staunchly defend it. What most people eat while in England is equivalent to people coming to America and eating at Chili’s and Friday’s and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut and calling that American cuisine – true, lots of Americans do eat that type of food but living in California, I’d imagine you’d agree that’s a pretty narrow view of the cuisine the US has to offer. In fact, dishes like the steak and kidney pie that most people eat is a sad parody of what is actually available. Colston Bassett Stilton and Montgomery’s Cheddar? Strawberries from Kent? Tamworth and Yorkshire pigs and Dorset sheep? Beautifully hand-crafted sausages and scotch eggs? Dover sole and smoked mackerel? Man, what I wouldn’t give for The Mayflower’s hot cress soup with goat cheese, right now.

    So sorry, but British food is gorgeous…if you want recommendations for inexpensive ways to experience the full bounty next time you go, just let me know. As for me, I’ll happily admit, I’ll probably stop in at Pret on my way out of Heathrow….on my way to my old local for a pint of Greene King!