Queezle_Sister's Profile

From: Salt Lake City, UT USA

Joined: March 29th, 2010

About me: I enjoy cooking, and my favorite internet COOKING community is the one here at cookbooker. If you want to connect about my other non-academic passion, you can find me as QueezleWeaver on Ravelry, and mostly Warped Weavers. But I've miss you cookbooker, and so here I am again, and happy to contribute.

Favorite cookbook: Savory Way

Favorite recipe: roasted anything (most recently grapes)

Latest review:

August 23rd, 2019

Stuffed Zucchini with spiced beef or lamb from Zaitoun

When it is zucchini time, it can be difficult to find something interesting. But this was both different and a total delight! Zucchini are scraped out and roasted. The "meat" from within the zucchini... read more >

recipe reviews (1403)
book reviews (39)
useful review votes (961)

Queezle_Sister's Reviews

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Cookbook Reviews

39 books reviewed. Showing 1 to 39Sort by: Rating | Title

America--Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers

By Mario Batali, Jim Webster
Grand Central Life & Style - 2014

February 7th, 2016

This book is only about 1/2 recipes - the rest is a series of spotlights on farmers. As a plant biologist, I appreciate any and all strategies to increase awareness of agriculture and farmers. That said, I do not really want this stuff in my cookbook.

I had a meal that was entirely cooked from this cookbook. it was good - not amazing - but good. However, come summer many more recipes will be doable, and in that season, I think it would be more useful, and a meal produced from the cookbook would be more interesting.

The carrots and the carrot cake (both reviewed here) turned out the be unusual and excellent.

The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook: A New, Healthier Way to Cook Everything from America's Most Trusted Test Kitchen

By America's Test Kitchen, America's Test Kitchen, America's Test Kitchen, Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine, America's Test Kitchen
America's Test Kitchen - 2010

April 10th, 2012

This is an excellent basic cookbook. It is in a loose leaf binder format, and major dividers include poultry, meat, fish & shellfish rice and grains, pasta, stirfries & curries, pizza & tarts, etc. It covers all the meals (not dinner focused).

While I find this book to be suitable for me, someone who has spent 40 years cooking, I believe it would also be an excellent first cookbook, for example for someone in their first apartment. The book provides excellent instructions on basic cooking techniques, and many include photographs depicting each of the steps (e.g. biscotti is well illustrated).

I've had some challenges baking the cakes in this book, but I attribute that to my altitude. The cakes do have grams/ounce measurements for the dry ingredients.

Finally - I really appreciate that this book's recipes use less fat and sugar, but do not sacrifice flavor. Its only slightly lower fat, always focused on the final product. I'm pleased to have this book on my shelf.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Our Year of Seasonal Eating

By Barbara Kingsolver
Faber and Faber - 2008

October 6th, 2012

Reading this book took me a long time (similar to @sturlington's experience). It is inspirational - eating locally, and discovering that if you eat local, eating meat might become really important. It paralleled an experience I had many years ago. I was living in NE California, in a very small town in the high desert (Canby, CA). I was vegetarian, and the vegetable and fruit were delivered to the store only once a week, and even then it was not so good. I slowly realized that the cows that surrounded me were a more environmentally sound choice.

What really amazed me what that Kingsolver's children enthusiastically took up the cause. I do not know how she did that!

I agree with @Sturlington that some parts were too preachy for me. I also kept feeling "yea, done that...". But for people just discovering eating local, it could be a true inspiration.

Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours

By Dorie Greenspan, Alan Richardson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - 2010

August 27th, 2011

This is a lovely cookbook - big with beautiful pictures and lovely recipes.

The chapters are organized around a dinner plan - with hor d'ouvers, soups, salads and starters, then different sorts of mains, and ending with dessert recipes. An especially useful chapter at the back gives instructions and recipes for fundamental components, such as pesto, tart dough, and lemon curd.

The photography in the book is stunning. Its inspiring to read, and I love its organization. Recipes are typically accompanied by "bonne idee" - variations - and storage and serving suggestions.

Are the recipes reliable? I've had a bit of mixed success, however the highs are so very high that I'm keen to try to cook the entire book.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

By Jeff Hertzberg MD, Zoe Francois
Thomas Dunne Books - 2007

September 22nd, 2013

This is an excellent book for the beginning bread baker. Its strategies are also useful for the old, but busy, bread baker. The book takes a relaxed attitude, and allows one to cut some corners, and gives the reader/cook some confidence in the kitchen. That said, I think I've baked some better breads, and I think there could be more careful instructions. For example, before baking, the final rise is suggested to be 40 minutes, regardless of environment. Sometimes my kitchen is hot, but its also often quite cold, and so more instructions would help some bakers.

I understand a new version will come out soon (late 2013) that includes weight measurements. That would also be a good addition to this book.

I like that the book includes not only breads, but also various spreads for breads, or uses for breads to prepare other dishes. If I owned this book (instead of just borrowing it) I am sure I would dig deep into these other recipes.

Baking: From My Home to Yours

By Dorie Greenspan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - 2006

November 1st, 2014

This cookbook has a wonderful assortment of recipes and the instructions are like having an old friend at your side. Moreover, the book is studded by luscious photographs. However, the ingredients are provided in volume measurements (e.g. cups) instead of weight. Published in 2006, it probably came out on the cusp of the change in American baking, when the greater accuracy of weight measurements was embraced. Its my only disappointment, and hopefully Dorie Greenspan will update its measurements.

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

By Ina Garten, Martha Stewart
Clarkson Potter - 1999

November 3rd, 2011 (edited 4th November 2011)

This is the first Barefoot Contessa cookbook that I've used, and I have to say I'm glad I did not purchase. The recipes are lovely, they seem to work, but most had so much fat, and made such a quantity of food that they did not motivate me to cook.

I know I'm in the minority - Ina Garten's books are very popular, very well liked, and many people have good success with them. But this one is just are not the cookbook for me.

The Beginner's Guide to Preserving Food at Home: Easy Techniques for the Freshest Flavors in Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Relishes, Salsas, Sauces, and Frozen and Dried Fruits and Vegetables

By Janet Chadwick
Storey Publishing, LLC - 2009

October 1st, 2011

This is a very good reference book. It covers a diverse array of food preservation techniques, including drying, freezing, blanching, canning, making pickles, jams, jellies, etc.

I have only prepared the Spicy Salsa recipe, but it worked really well. The explicit instructions for canning were a useful reminder, and even more important, they would be easy to follow for a novice.

One thing I really like about this book is that it is written for busy people. The author (Janet Chadwick) gives advice for streamlining food preservation so it fits a modern lifestyle.

This isn't a sexy glossy book with color pictures. However, there are line illustrations to show techniques, and they are effective.

The Best Vegetarian Recipes: From Greens to Grains, from Soups to Salads: 200 Bold Flavored Recipes

By Martha R. Shulman
William Morrow Cookbooks - 2001

November 5th, 2012

This cookbook seems geared toward helping the vegetarian to prepare a well balanced meal. It does this with not only great recipes but also specific menu advice and myth busting about vegetarian diets and health.

The book has the typical sections - salads, soups, grains and beans, etc. In addition, it does have a nice dessert section.

There are no photographs, but the book has excellent descriptions. Martha Rose Shulman is a deft food writer, and her recipes are easy to follow.

The recipes I tested from this book all worked well, and I especially enjoyed the pear, arugula and walnut salad.

Beyond Oatmeal - 101 Breakfast Recipes

By Carlene Duda
Cedar Fort, Inc. - 2007

April 16th, 2012

This is a cute little cookbook with a diverse array of breakfast ideas. The four recipes I've tried were all excellent, suggesting a high degree of reliability.

I borrowed this cookbook from the library. I considered purchasing - based on how much I liked these recipes - and I would recommend this to anyone who takes the time for special breakfasts. My daughter loves a warm home made breakfast, and we were sad to return it before we'd tried all the recipes we had bookmarked.

Big Small Plates

By Cindy Pawlcyn, Pablo Jacinto, Erasto Jacinto
Ten Speed Press - 2006

January 13th, 2013

An amazing diversity of appetizers are gathered together in this tome. The appetizers come from a variety of cuisines - south american, mexican, european, and asian. The book divided the appetizers based on mode of presentation - for example chapter 1 is "sticks, picks, and with fingers", chapter 3 is "bowls and spoons", and chapter 4 is "on a raft".

In some places the instructions might be a bit thin - but the flavor profiles and generally excellent and the resulting appetizer is rich and lovely. So rich and lovely, though, that perhaps 2 or 3 would have been a better dinner than 6 or 7!

I wouldn't hesitate to return to this book for appetizer recipes for a special party.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse

By John Stage, Nancy Radke
Ten Speed Press - 2009

October 8th, 2010 (edited 6th April 2011)

This is my go-to cookbook for awesome BBQ and sides. We make gallons of the Mutha sauce. Some recipes are a bit fussy (lots of ingredients and steps), but every one that I've tried has been great. For the guacomole recipe alone, it is worth owning this book.

DK Children's Cookbook

By Katharine Ibbs
DK Publishing - 2004

January 30th, 2011

This cookbook is great in the way that is can give great instructions with pictures for young people that can not read. I only gave this book a four because the chapters go breakfast, light meals, main dishes, desserts, and then baking. I think that they should not have made a baking section because you bake in the other sections too. I liked this cookbook because if you don't know what a certain tool is then you can go to the back of the book and see a picture. I also liked this book because I could see what tools I needed without having to look at the instructions. I have made two recipes from this book and I love it except the organization.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century

By Amanda Hesser
W. W. Norton & Company - 2010

July 21st, 2013

This is an impressive book. While not being encyclopedic, there is so much territory covered, its overwhelming at first. It took me a couple weeks to start using it, as the lack of pictures means that you've actually got to read it to select recipes. However, I just love the time lines, I find it fascinating to try recipes that are truly old, and I have come to really enjoy the organization.

How does it work? Check the reviews, nearly every recipe I tried worked perfectly. Some were fairly typical recipes that represented a time in my own past, and some were very exotic. I found much to love here, and look forward to trying many more.

To me, one important criteria is a good index. This book passed this test with flying colors.

I would have been unlikely to try this book had it not been selected for a cookbooker challenge. Thank you everyone for the fun of getting to know Amanda Hesser and try these great foods.

Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California

By Giada De Laurentiis
Clarkson Potter - 2010

April 3rd, 2011

This is a lovely cookbook - with fantastic pictures, and clearly written recipes. The recipes cover a broad expanse of food, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, beverages, and of course, desserts.

I've found the instructions to be both clear and accurate. I've also found the resulting food to be really delicious. Its also not a "fussy" book - which to me means that the ingredients can be found in most common grocery stores.

My one complaint is that there is a lot of fat and a lot of sugar used in these recipes. I am trying to cut down on eggs, butter, etc, and these delicious recipes are not helping me at all!

I was very fortunate to receive this cookbook as a prize for winning the challenge centered on "high flavor, low labor". I probably wouldn't have looked twice at it otherwise - I have no idea who Giada is or why I should care - except that now I know that Giada is a great cook. I have recently seen this cookbook at Costco, and so I know its widely available. I encourage you to take a look at it - it could be a good addition to almost any library.

High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking

By J.M. Hirsch
Ballantine Books - 2010

November 21st, 2010 (edited 16th February 2011)

This book has a really good goal - rapid and flavorful meals (dinners). The book succeeds, and is interesting, because the author has been really transparent about his approach. Flavor is pumped up by the liberal addition of a few key ingredients, for example balsamic vinegar and prosciutto. I have tested recipes from most sections of this book, and in general they are very good.

My only gripe is that maintaining nutrient dense and low fat (or low calorie) food is not a goal here. When fat is no limit, its not so challenging to be delicious. Nevertheless, there are some low fat, and many moderate fat, meals that are off-the-scale delicious.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food

By Mark Bittman, Alan Witschonke
Wiley - 2007

March 14th, 2011

This cookbook is an excellent reference, and I keep it right next to my copy of Joy of Cooking.

This book's chapters cover basic technical information (e.g. equipment, techniques, ingredients) and the recipes are organized into salads, soups, eggs & cheese, vegetables & fruits, pasta, grains, legumes, tofu etc, breads etc, sauces, and desserts.

What I like the most about this cookbook is that each basic recipe is followed by a list of suggested variations. I think this cookbook empowers the home cook to become comfortable enough to follow their instincts and be able to go into the kitchen and simply cook (without recipes).

I requested this book as a Christmas gift to encourage me to cook with more grains. I've found the recipes to be somewhat variable, but generally dependable and very good.

Jamie's Great Britain

By Jamie Oliver
Michael Joseph - 2011

February 26th, 2012

This is a British cookbook, designed for the european market. In fact, as of this review, it is not carried by Amazon's US store.

Perhaps because of its design for a different market, my group of Americans cooking from this as our cookbook club selection for Feb 2012 was at first put off by the book. Terminology seemed odd (we don't think of zucchini as courgettes, for example), amounts were typically provided as weights (and most club members do not have scales), and some ingredients were difficult to find (e.g. Lyle's golden syrup). However, once these initial difficulties were overcome, I think we were all delighted with the book. The five dishes we tried were all great, but the hand-down winner was the minted courgette soup.

The book covers a wide range of foods, including Indian foods and new takes on old standbys (Haggis, oat cakes, scones).

The cookbook is very appealing visually, too. Lovely whole-page photographs accompany the text. The recipes are laid out in an easy to follow manner, and the cookbook feels very friendly.

Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Real Live Fire Cooking

By Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby
W. W. Norton & Company - 2002

August 18th, 2011

This is an excellent book for someone grilling with charcoal. An introduction gives detailed information on igniting, banking, and manipulating the coals, and each recipe also tells you how to lay out your coals for that specific food. But not as useful for the gas grill user (like me).

The book is divided into Appetizers, Main Courses (with sections on beef, port, lamb and veal, seafood, poultry, and pasta), Side dishes, Flavor spikes (e.g. chutneys, Catsups, Spice rubs), and Desserts and Drinks.

I have tested recipes from most sections of this book. Each recipe is well developed (including some with complicated sauces), the flavors are diverse, and I really enjoyed almost everything I tried. The instructions were detailed and clear. This would be an especially good book for someone who likes to entertain at their grill.

If I were using charcoal (instead of my old gas grill), I would buy a copy of this cookbook. We particularly enjoyed recipes with fresh figs and the salmon.

Lobster at Home

By Jasper White
Scribner - 1998

October 19th, 2011

This is a beautiful book, written for a niche market. The author, Jasper White, is a winner of the James Beard Award, and so I suspect that all the recipes work well.

The seven chapters cover basic cooking techniques, a primer on lobsters, soups etc, appetizers and small dishes, salads and sandwiches, main courses, and recipes from famous chefs.

For me, the primer was the most interesting part of this book. It covers the biology of lobsters (a bit), catching, how to buy them, considerations for selecting a good lobster, and anatomy.

Buying lobsters is an investment. This cookbook encouraged us to use a new cooking technique, and gave us enough information to go to extra lengths to cut the lobsters in half (alive!).

If I lived in New England, and purchasing lobster was something I did occasionally, this would be an excellent book to own. As it is, I'm pleased to have it reside in the house where I stay when I visit.

Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine

By Martha Rose Shulman
Rodale Books - 2007

November 5th, 2012

This cookbook has lots of recipes! Chapters are centered around meal courses, such as "little foods: starters, snacks, meze and more", "pasta", "savory pies and gratins" and what is missing from Shulman's big book - "sweets and desserts". This cookbook lacks color pictures, but Martha Rose Shulman's written descriptions describe both the look of the dish and how its prepared. She is a fairly no-nonsense writer, and I liked the focus.

What makes this a good cookbook (lots of recipes) also makes it a bit overwhelming. I would find myself reading and reading, but then being fairly indecisive on recipe selection.

In addition to the recipes, there are green pages and green boxes that focus on either an ingredient (e.g. parsley, p.96) or a type of dish (ratatouille & company, p. 295). These sections give both preparation advice (parsley) and both historical and regional information about the food (ratatouille).

There are lots of Mediterranean cookbooks. This one is special in that it is vegetarian, and it covers a wide breadth of recipes.

Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven: Over 200 Recipes for Uncommon Soups, Tasty Bites, Side Dishes, and Too Many Desserts

By Mollie Katzen
Hyperion - 1997

August 27th, 2011 (edited 27th August 2011)

This cookbook presents us with many delicious ways to prepare vegetables.

The book is laid out with a focus on dinner - with chapters on openers, soups, sides, mains, pastas, sauces, and desserts. No photographs (as with other Mollie Katzen cookbooks) but there are cute little drawings.

There is also an excellent table with volume/weight and ˚F/˚C conversions.

I have prepared recipes from many of the chapters, and in general they are very good, reliable recipes.

I really like the layout of this book. Each page is divided into thirds, the center part is white and it gives the instructions, maybe some background, or suggestions on substitutions or menus. The ingredient list in on the outer third, which is a different color for each chapter. Because each chapter is color coded, its easy to thumb through, and its also easy to know where to look for the ingredient list.

I like this book very much, and hope to cook my way through it some day.

Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day

By Moosewood Collective
Fireside - 1994

June 13th, 2011

I love this book - its my favorite of the Moosewood series. The recipes have proven to be pretty reliable (I've prepared nine dishes, and have many more marked to try), they are easy, and they tend to not require too many specialized ingredients. Many of the dishes take 30 minutes or less, and they taste great.

The book has a dinner focus - with soups, salads, grains, beans pastas, etc. But there are also some egg dishes, a few pancakes, and some sandwiches and pizzas.

Each recipe has a side bar that suggests what can be added to make a full meal. The time requirements listed are close (probably we are a bit slower than most). The cookbook also has a detailed section on ingredients and cooking techniques.

This book would make an excellent gift for anyone starting out on their own. Its equally good for the experienced cook.

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

By Beth Hensperger
Harvard Common Press - 2004

January 8th, 2012

This cookbook has a big collection of recipes. Its strength is the diversity of dishes covered, and I bought it mostly for its breakfast recipes (lots of porridge, grains, even jook!). However, I have a large crock pot, and do not need that much porridge! Other than the usual sort of crock pot recipes (soups, stew, and chili), this book includes chapters on puddings, cakes, and breads, another chapter on fruit desserts, and yet another on fruit butters, jams and chutneys.

The pizza sauce recipe is excellent, and some of the pasta sauces have been memorable. However, some of the dishes are rather bland, and most are not memorable. It would be a good book for someone who is unfamiliar with slow cookers and somewhat new to cooking, but I don't think these recipes rise to the level of gourmet.

This cookbook has a long first chapter with detailed slow cooker instructions. It even includes high-altitude adjustments.

Not Your Mother's Casseroles

By Faith Durand
Harvard Common Press - 2011

March 21st, 2011 (edited 21st March 2011)

This cookbook. from TheKitchn's Faith Durand, uses a liberal definition of casserole to bring us a wide assortment of baked dishes. I especially like breakfast casseroles, and there is an interesting assortment here.

Many recipes are familiar - e.g. gratins and chicken and rice, while others are quite interesting - e.g. Baked Avacados with Tomato and Crab and Breakfast Barley with Pistachios and Dried Apricots (I haven't tried these yet).

Including a baked dish for your dinner can be quite liberating - freeing up your hands to prepare the other meal's dishes. The wide assortment of recipes means its also easy to find a recipe that will complement your planned meal and that uses ingredients you are likely to have on hand.

My experience has been a bit mixed. Half the recipes I've tried have been unequivocal hits, but we didn't so much care for the other half. That said, a few have already become family favorites (luscious creamed corn and German Apple Pancake), and none of them are fussy (difficult techniques or hard to find ingredients). This is a great addition to my library, and I find myself reaching for it often.

The Olive and the Caper: Adventures in Greek Cooking

By Susanna Hoffman
Workman Publishing Company - 2004

April 1st, 2013

This book will bring you on both a culinary and a cultural journey through Greece. I love the stories from the author about living on Santorini, and her interactions with the locals. The recipes cover a broad range of Greek cooking -- not just those things we know about from Greek restaurants. Although not every recipe worked perfectly, it is a delightful book, and one that I'm very likely to buy for my own personal library.

Favorites of my family include the little herbed meatballs, the Greek salad, the Walnut cake, and the rice pudding.

Perfect Recipes for Having People Over

By Pam Anderson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - 2005

December 9th, 2012

This book appears to have reliable recipes, but its unique attribute is that it helps you entertain. Each recipe is accompanied by a side bar that includes headings such as "when should I serve it" (eg buffet parties); "what should I serve it with" (easy menu planning, with the accompanying recipes being in this cookbook); "how far ahead can I prepare it"; "what about leftovers?"; and "how can I vary it".

The index of this book is good, it has some nice photographs (but not every dish is pictured), and the recipes are diverse.

Entertaining is also considered in a broad sense, not just dinner parties, but also outdoor meals and breakfast for company.

I have borrowed this book from the library, but its excellent and I would be happy to have it on my cookbook shelf.

Pillsbury Best Desserts: More Than 350 Recipes from America's Most-Trusted Kitchen

By Pillsbury Editors
Wiley - 1998

October 20th, 2011 (edited 20th October 2011)

Beautiful to look at, diverse recipes, and according to my mother (who has prepared many of the dishes), most dependable!

This dessert cookbook has chapters devoted to various types of desserts - cakes and frostings, pies and tarts, frozen desserts, and many more. The first chapter, called "dessert basics" is a thorough treatment of ingredients, how to measure, and low-fat and high-altitude tips.

I cooked from my mother's copy of this cookbook. There are many notes in the margins, nearly all reporting excellent success, and my mother considers this one of her most dependable cookbooks. My much smaller sample size attests to the soundness of the recipes.

This is a cook book I'd be happy to own! In addition to the many recipes, the beautiful pictures, and the well laid out instructions, each recipe also has advice for high altitude and nutritional information.

The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook: Big Recipes from the Smallest State

By Linda Beaulieu
Globe Pequot - 2005

February 13th, 2011

This is a sweet little cookbook designed for a niche market: those people with a tie to Rhode Island. Having grown up in Rhode Island, but now living in the western US, this cookbook is a treasure for me. Inside this cookbook are some black+white photographs (Rhode Island landmarks, food, people) and each recipe is easily read, and generally one recipe per page.

This book is organized into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Desserts & Beverages. Dinner is the largest section, and it is subdivided into Appetizers, Pasta, Meats, Seafood, Sides, and Breads & Pizza. By far, seafood is the largest section, as is entirely appropriate for Rhode Island.

I've found the recipes to be general good and interesting. They are authentic recipes - that is - many of these recipes are for things I experienced in my childhood, such as the drinks with coffee syrup.

If you miss Rhode Island, and have a tender spot in your heart for Rhode Island's food, then this cookbook is for you.

Put 'em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling

By Sherri Brooks Vinton
Storey Publishing, LLC - 2010

October 13th, 2012 (edited 13th October 2012)

This is a beautiful book with lots of information for storing foods. I've never before reviewed a cookbook I didn't use, but let me explain why I've made an exception. I borrowed this book to help me in jam making. It has many lovely recipes, and if they require pectin, they specify Pomona's Universal Pectin. This differs from other pectins in that it is activated by calcium, supplied as a separate liquid in the package. I went to about 5 stores looking for this special pectin, but to no avail. Next year I might mail order some prior to fruit jam season!

The cookbook also includes information on freezing and fermentation storage methods. It looks lovely, and the recipes seem very reasonable. There are detailed instructions for canning, so probably good for the novice and experienced alike.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

By Lucy Knisley
First Second - 2013

October 10th, 2013 (edited 10th October 2013)

This lovely graphic novel is a memoir, a coming of age novel, and a cookbook, all in one. I found great delight reading this; the drawings were sweet, the obvious love for the author's parents was refreshing, and I even relate to the the sometimes embarrassing moments. The love of great food, and guilty pleasure in junk food is all glorified here. The end of each chapter has a recipe, in graphic novel format. I found that I liked this format - as a highly visual person, I think I would make fewer mistakes with a cookbook using that format.

This is a sweet book that would make an excellent gift to someone who perhaps doesn't need another cookbook, but who would love to travel along with the author and be reminded of their own stories. Note that my teenage daughter has also loved this book.

Salty Sweets: Delectable Desserts and Tempting Treats with a Sublime Kiss of Salt

By Christie Matheson
Harvard Common Press - 2009

March 3rd, 2012

If you are in need of a dessert cookbook, you could do far worse than to buy this.

8 chapters of recipes are accompanied by interesting chapters on methods, salts (wow are there ever a lot of different types!), and measurements.

The recipe chapters includes "little treats" which has things like salty-sweet s'mores, hot cocoa, and granola, Cookies and bars, cakes and cupcakes, puddings and more fruits ice creams and sorbets, and a final chapter on sauces. The recipes might be very similar to ones in other cookbooks, but with a tad more salt. I did, however, find the peanutbutter cookies to be rather different from any I had made before (much less flour, very delicate and light), and they were delightful. The sauces look amazing, and the thought of a salty s'more seems delightful.

The two tested recipes worked well, and the titles of others are very tempting. However, if you already have plenty of dessert recipes, you can probably figure out on your own how to amp up the saltiness.

13 Daughter pointed out to me that the first chapter, "little treats" can all be made without an oven - and so perhaps that is also useful information.

Savory Baking

By Mary Cech
Chronicle Books - 2009

November 19th, 2011

This lovely cookbook features largely non-sweet baked products using a variety of different techniques.

Although I have prepared only one recipe, this is cookbook is a delight to read, and there are many recipes I'd love to try. Among them are pot pies with curried vegetables and dried fruit, and the onion, fennel, and orange upside down cake.

I review this cookbook while we are deep in the Pie and Pastry Bible challenge. This baking book is not the detailed instruction for making the very highest quality flaky pastry. Instead, it emphasizes the additions to the pastry to make a wider range of baked goods. In fact, I think this cookbook would be especially useful for someone who has developed his skills with pastry, but wants something a little different.

The physical cookbook is very nice. Soft cover, but with a solid binding, lovely color pictures, and an easy to read layout.

The cookbook is organized into chapters on quick breads, flaky pastry, rustic (e.g. cobblers and bread puddings), puff pastry, cookies, and then a final chapter with sauces, spreads, salads, etc.

This is a cookbook I'd be happy to have in my collection. And its worth it for the pear-goat cheese scones alone.

The Savory Way

By Deborah Madison
Bantam - 1990

February 22nd, 2011 (edited 27th February 2011)

This is a wonderful vegetarian cookbook that has a broad range of recipes that, in my experience, seem to work well. It has a well laid out table of contents (an important attribute in my opinion), with sections on quick bites (including sandwiches), spreads, salads, soups & stews, pasta, stovetop vegetables, baked & roasted vegetables, grilled vegetables, rice & potatoes & beans, morning foods (for day & night), Finishing touches, desserts, and sweetmeats. I've tested recipes from several sections, and in each case, I found innovative ingredient combinations, or a fresh take on an old standby, that always led to an outstanding dish.

Some cookbooks do not hold up well over time, but this cookbook (published 20 years ago) still seems fresh today. Some might find the look a bit dated, as there are no colored pictures, or even drawings. However there are lovely 2-color prints (that look like blockprints) for each chapter and at the bottom of each page. I think its quite elegant.

The stated goal for this cookbook was to write something useful for the home cook - that is - something that does not require the equipment available to a fancy restaurant. While mostly not plain food, these recipes were straight forward, and not too labor intensive.

Each recipe has an interesting forward, not too long, with interesting anecdotes. There is advice on cooking techniques, and on ways to vary each recipe.

Having challenged myself to use all my cookbooks by testing at least 3 recipes, I am having trouble tearing myself away from this one. I'm in love with this cookbook, its a gem and has many, many more great sounding recipes to try.

Scandinavian Classic Baking

By Pat Sinclair, Joel Butkowski
Pelican Publishing - 2011

February 7th, 2016

A feast for the eyes as well as a wonderful assortment of recipes. A breakfast bread and a cake recipe produced wonderful results. The rest of the book includes many tempting recipes - rye bread, lefse, Swedish pancakes, and rhubarb tarts all caught my eye.

This unusual recipe collection would be a welcome addition to my collection.

Smitten Kitchen


May 16th, 2011

I love the way this this blog make me feel as if Deb is one of my closest friends. I enjoy the banter and background -- its just the right amount. I enjoy looking around for the link to see the picture of her son, and about how her and her husband's food choices drive what she makes (and doesn't make).

And the recipes -- they are divine. The cookbooker challenge led me to explore many more than I would have. So many categories - soups, breads, breakfasts, fruits, etc. And so many unexpectedly great combinations (roasted carrots and avocados - I'm thinking about you).

My only complaint is that I wish her dishes had less butter, and were a bit more calorie conscious. But perhaps if you are smitten, the sky is the limit.

Vegetarian Epicure

By Anna Thomas
Vintage - 1972

April 6th, 2011

For the past 20 years, this has been my favorite cookbook. The sight of the cover still makes me happy. Recently, I prepared 6 recipes as part of my personal challenge to cook from all of my cookbooks. The Russian Vegetable Pie is still an all-time favorite of mine, but some recipes now seem a bit too sweet (e.g. Mushrooms Berkeley). I will still revisit this cookbook, as it holds memories in addition to recipes, but for fresh ideas, I am likely to look elsewhere.

The Very Best Of Recipes for Health: 250 Recipes and More from the Popular Feature on NYTimes.com

By Martha Rose Shulman
Rodale Books - 2010

November 5th, 2012

This well crafted cookbook has one outstanding attribute that I've not seen in other cookbooks. Each recipe has a nutritional analysis. There are many nutritional concerns, e.g. vegan, low-calorie, low-fat, etc, and Shulman has carefully indexed each recipe to tell us whether it fits in the following categories:

high in omega-35

Not only is this information give on each recipe, there is a special index in the back of the book that allows you to look for, e.g. high-protein, and find the corresponding recipes from each chapter. In addition, there is also a standard index that works well.

Lest you think this book is only a nutritional guide, the recipes themselves appear generally well tested. I tried many of them (more than a dozen), and they were reliable. The best among the ones I tried was the Indonesian Style Chicken Salad.

The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Restaurant

By Judy Rodgers, Gerald Asher
W.W. Norton & Co. - 2002

January 17th, 2011

This is a beautiful cookbook that reads like you are cooking with an old friend. I love what this cookbook tells us about shopping, about learning about your ingredients, and about basic cooking techniques. My advice is to treat this cookbook like a set of cooking lessons.

After preparing 35 of the recipes in this book, I have to say that the recipes are somewhat uneven. Some of the recipes are outstaning (the biscotti and mock porchetta come to mind). However some of the recipes do not work, at least for me. These include the roasted polenta and ricotta gnocchi.

I think nearly all cookbooks have some recipes that do not work for everyone. With cookbooker to help guide you to the best recipes, and help you with the ones that are problematic, this cookbook can truly help make you into a better, and more thoughtful, cook.