Applying the concept of Barkin and James' successful Slapdash Sewing (1975) to cooking has its inherent difficulties and so, instead of attempting the impossible--recipes for improvisation?--the pair has simply turned up with another easy beginners' cookbook. As such it has its merits--frequent use of fresh vegetables and the avoidance of icky sweets and gimmicky snacks--and there is, in keeping with the theme, an emphasis on flexibility. But who needs to be told that ""you can add other ingredients"" (to a slapdash ratatouille called ""everything but the kitchen sink"") or ""choose your own combination of spices"" (for ""spicy hamburgers"")? And why specify garlic powder or garlic salt (interchangeably) even though some readers will no doubt agree that mincing cloves is ""too much trouble""? We question whether cheaper and ""store"" brands of canned goods are always ""just as good"" as any others (including ""fancy Italian plum tomatoes""), and we find the authors regrettably slapdash in their offhand suggestion, without any warning as to the difference, that jalapenos, chiles, or tabasco peppers can be substituted for the familiar, far milder chile powder. Optional.