"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
I asked my IRL and Goodreads friend who has a lot of cookbooks on her GR list how she decided that a cookbook had been "read" -- did she read it cover to cover? She said her criteria was that she had looked through the whole thing and cooked at least one recipe from it. Those seemed like sensible criteria to me, so I shall adopt them as my own when reviewing cookbooks.
Although I did not read every single word in this cookbook, I did page through all the recipes (diligently page-flagging the MANY I want to try), read a lot of the tips and anecdotes and sidebars, and cooked two recipes from it over the weekend (which both earned a "very good" rating -- my recipe rating system is "average" (realistically, something I will never bother cooking again), "good," "very good," and "excellent.")
I honestly love this cookbook for so many reasons. I think the best cookbooks should inspire you to want to cook what you find in their pages immediately, and make you feel excited about the many culinary possibilities that lay before you. This cookbook does just that, and it has the added advantage of being full of time-saving tips and a variety of recipes that truly are quick and easy without being too bland or predictable. Although it is not a vegetarian cookbook, it is not overly meat-heavy, either -- even skipping over the meat recipes, I found plenty of meal ideas. It's organized in a way that makes it easy to find what you want based on your own style of cooking, and I learned some important general cooking tips from the various notes and sidebars. There are no photos of the food, which I prefer -- photos tend to intimidate rather than inspire me. It's just all information, all the time, and it's almost all good.
With all this praise, it may be puzzling that I gave this book four stars instead of five. It lost one star due to its "big batch" (i.e., freezer cooking) chapter being somewhat disappointing. As a veteran freezer cooker (it's how my household has been eating since 2013), I disagreed with some of her tips and thought she left some important methods and overall techniques out. It's clear this is not her particular area of expertise, which is OK -- she does provide additional resources for those who find the idea appealing after an initial introduction.
Overall, though, I expect to use this cookbook a LOT in the coming months, and I'm looking forward to it!