Cook Once a Week: Eat Well Every Day


152 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-00-639510-4
DDC 641.5'55




Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.


The idea of cooking a batch of meals on the weekend for reheating during
the week is not new. Albert-Ratchford updates this old strategy by
adding shopping lists and work schedules to groupings of some basic
recipes, and presenting it as a way to save time, stress, and money.

There are recipes for 13 weeks, plus a chapter on desserts and snacks.
Each week’s menu consists of four to six recipes, each of which should
make one meal for four and generate some leftovers for “grab and go”

The recipes lean toward the routine (e.g., soups, spaghetti sauce,
salmon cakes, baked beans, fish sticks), but there are a few exceptions,
such as Salmon with Spinach and Feta in Parchment or Chicken Stuffed
with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chиvre. Many of the selections are designed
to appeal to children (e.g., chicken fingers, burgers).

The author’s claim is that each week’s recipes can be prepared in
approximately three hours, for a cost of $100. The introduction to each
week is chatty and enthusiastic, as are the numerous tips included as
sidebars. Both metric and imperial measurements are used. For some
recipes the method is a mix of preparation and storage instructions, an
approach that is often confusing. The page format, binding, and layout
are not ideal for a cookbook, as they make the recipes hard to read. The
“grab and go” recipes, especially, suffer from not being in
traditional recipe format. The nutritional analysis is included as a
appendix. The shopping lists are, at times, unrealistic: does anyone
know of a store where you can buy only a tablespoon of yoghurt or a
teaspoon of lemon juice?

Throughout the book there is a very strong assumption that the reader
has only one reason for cooking—to get children to eat something
healthy. There’s an ongoing commentary on ways to sneak vegetables,
whole grains, and other nutrient sources into meals. As this blatant
agenda is not part of the title or subtitle, there’s a feeling of
deceptive marketing at work here. In other words this really isn’t a
book about saving time on meal preparation—it’s about hiding squash
in the spaghetti sauce.


Albert-Ratchford, Theresa., “Cook Once a Week: Eat Well Every Day,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 18, 2024,