I love cookbooks. Cookbooks are my addiction, my kryptonite if you will. At one point I had collected over 500 cookbooks since 1988. In 2019, when we were relocating to Texas, I paired down to my top 50. Those cookbooks all have a place in this food bloggers heart for one reason or another. Now they sit on the shelves in my pantry.
Cookbooks inspire me. I love to learn the authors story and what that dish means to them. It fills my heart with joy. It is a way for me to explore different cultures, both in and out of the United States, through the beautiful lens of food.
Now, I have purchased numerous cookbooks this first half of 2023, but I will only review the cookbooks that were actually published this year. I have had the joy of cooking from them recently and can’t wait to share with you.
Alison Roman’s new cookbook, “Sweet Enough” came out in March of this year.
I own all three of Alison‘s cookbooks (“Dining In” and “Nothing Fancy” are her previously published books). I am a huge fan of how she views food. She can be a bit controversial, but I’m OK with that. I don’t think we need to agree with 100% of everything that people in the public do or say to admire their recipes.
That being said, I also receive her newsletter that I enjoy cooking those recipes also.
I like eating dessert, not love. Also, I’m a diabetic, so unless I’m having company, I don’t usually make dessert. In purchasing this book, I was intrigued by Alison‘s use of pastry in creating savory dishes.
One of my favorite things about how Alison writes, is her ingredient list. She includes ounces and grams along with the cup, teaspoon or tablespoon which is helpful. Over the past few years, I have grown to embrace using my kitchen scale whenever flour is involved.
Her Creamy Cauliflower Galette is a dreamy dish for this cruciferous lover. The combination of cauliflower, leek, and Gruyere cheese is a heavenly combination.
She has a wide variety of recipes that include fruit. My husband loves a good strawberry shortcake, so I decided to give her Old-Fashion Strawberry Cake a go. One thing I loved about this cake, even though it has both granulated and light brown sugar in it, is it wasn’t overly sweet. It let the strawberries sing on their own. You can substitute other fruits in this recipe, like pitted cherries, peaches, or blackberries. I admit that I ended up eating a strawberry cake for breakfast more than one time. It was perfect with a cup of joe in the morning.
If you like to bake, I suggest you give this cookbook a try. I do not think you’ll be disappointed.
Earlier this spring, I was asked to be a part of a gumbo cook-off at a local winery. I am a Midwestern girl with a southern soul, so gumbo is not something that is in my repertoire. I needed something that was a little different to beat out the competition.
So of course, I hit Google search like everyone else does. The result popped up that grabbed my attention. It was a new cookbook just released. Toya Boudy’s “Cooking for the Culture: Recipes and Stories from the New Orleans Streets to the Table”. Add to cart, thank you very much.
I had to try her seafood gumbo and even though I didn’t win, I really think this recipe is off the charts fantastic! I admit, I did make it for some friends to come over for dinner. My friend Jay, a Texas native, said it was the best gumbo he’s ever had. That speaks volumes for this recipe. (For the record since Texas is next to Louisiana they have adopted gumbo as one of their favorite things to eat).
Toya has very interesting stories to go along with her recipes that are intriguing and make you feel like you grew up in New Orleans yourself.
Her Baked Mac & Cheese is full of body and richness that she claims is unmatched. Honestly, I have to agree with her. The addition of sour cream and whipped cream cheese to the noodles and cheese accomplishes that goal.
Toya was on the TV show “The Next Food Network Star”. She shares the story of what happened after she was eliminated and she experienced Buttermilk Roasted Chicken with Black Truffle Potatoes in NYC. Her take on this dish is outstanding and I have to admit this dish rocks! (sorry you didn’t win Toya!).
“Everyday Grande: Soulful Recipes for Celebrating Life’s Big and Small Moments: a Cookbook” by Jocelyn Delk Adams is as exciting of a cookbook as the cover leads you to believe. She is also the author of “Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories” that came out of her food blog she started in 2012.
If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I am all about making memories. For me food, and gathering around a table is the vehicle to get that done. I would say for sure that she accomplishes this goal with this joy filled cookbook.
The variety of recipes in this cookbook appeal to both the kid in me and the food-loving adult. From her Crispy Greek Lemon Potato Wedges to her Elote Fried Corn Pudding, she makes every meal feel like a celebration.
“A Cook’s Book” by Nigel Slater was a complete surprise to me. He introduces himself by saying that he is a cook, who writes. He has written numerous other small volume cookbooks that are more “seasoncentric”.
Mr. Slater is home cook and that is some thing that I admire as a hopeful cookbook author myself. Saying that I am a home cook is how I would identify myself. While being a caterer for over 30 years, I still think a home cook is how I view my style. While I might have some expertise and knowledge based on catering but good old home cooking is where it’s at.
People who are not comfortable in the kitchen, can overthink things and make them out to be a lot more difficult in their mind than they really are. Nigel does a great job sharing “straightforward every day stuff you want to make when you come home after a busy day”.
As a lover of all kinds of soup, I was excited to see his first chapter. It is called “A Bowl of Soup”. From a Spicy Red Lentil Soup to Gazpacho, his soups are all exciting and interesting, but not overly difficult.
As a lover of all things vegetable, his chapter titled “Everyday Greens”, I find amazingly creative. Recipes for Potato Wedges with Burrata to Spiced Parsnip Gratin makes me want to eat it all.
The Grilled Chicken with Za’atar and Tahini is perfect for warm summer months while his Steak with Cream Spinach is a twist on a classic.
The chapter titled “A Slice of Tart “ is one that I can’t wait to dive into when the weather cools a bit and I can turn my oven on for a longer period of time. There are both savory and sweet recipes in this chapter.
I love all four of these cookbooks and look forward to diving deeper into each of them. If you purchase the book or kindle version of any of these cookbooks utilizing the links provided, I will earn a small amount of money from that sale. Thank you for your support.
I hope you will spread your cooking wings and give one or all four a go as well.