Monday, June 27, 2011

In Review: Good Food to Share

williams-sonoma loot
A little loot from our belated wedding shopping.

When I first saw this book making the rounds earlier this year, I liked what I read but didn't get too excited. Something just didn't click immediately. Recently though, we made a little trip to Williams-Sonoma to use the last gift certificate from our wedding. Since our first wedding anniversary is coming up this weekend, I suppose it was high time. Some things are best savored, eh?

I'm not in the habit of purchasing themed glossy cookbooks, especially those that feature more of the celebrity chef than they do the food, as I've found them to be mostly just fluffy interpretations of recipes which I can read about in depth in my bibles, The Joy of Cooking or Julia Child. I like the emails I get from Apartment Therapy's "The Kitchn" though, which the author of this book does, so I thought I would at least flip through it at the store. Then I fell in love. I wanted to prepare and eat everything on every single page. I don't even like seafood but even that section looked good. I was afraid the recipes might not do the photographs justice (they are impeccably styled) so I sat myself down on the floor of Williams-Sonoma so I could actually read a few pages and decide it if was a worthwhile addition to my kitchen library. Yep, I'm that person who sits down in stores to check things out.

The writing won me over as the book is chock full of well thought out recipes that focus on the use of quality ingredients and how to show them off for those we feed and entertain in our homes (and in each section a couple pages on selecting and working with different foods so you have enough base knowledge to put your own spin on things down the road). Many are quite simple, but like Italian cuisine so often shows us, some of the best dishes are those that combine simple but unique flavors and not necessarily the ones that showcase complex technique.

Good Food To Share
The back of the book gives a better idea of what you will find than the front does I think and on the left is
the recipe we tried over the weekend...a salad of radicchio, endive, and walnut, etc. with a buttermilk dressing.

Food and cooking, for me, is one of the most meaningful ways I have of showing my family and friends that I cherish them and so gifting things I make with my hands and feeding them food that is fresh and organic has just always made sense. As a kid who grew up on an small organic farm, it's nice to see people from many different backgrounds finally realizing how important it is to know where your food comes from and this cookbook has so many great ideas on how to make the most of such special ingredients. The number of conversations it has sparked about how we want to entertain as a couple and how our food choices reflect our values and beliefs have alone made the book worth it I think.

The book is of course about entertaining and so the amounts for the recipes are geared toward serving large groups. It makes me a little sad as I want to eat this food everyday. Still, you can make adjustments for smaller amounts to feed just a couple or, like we did, enjoy the same meal two days in a row. We tried our first recipe from the book this past weekend (the salad pictured above which I paired with roasted pork tenderloin) and it was one of those meals where the food was so good that we just sat there grinning at each other. Perhaps that sounds silly, but being able to eat a really nice meal together whether it is at home or at a restaurant, is definitely our favorite indulgence. If that describes you, I'd encourage you to pick this book up or request it and check it out at your local library. It's just one of those books where the pictures do the recipes justice and not the other way round!

P.S. No, I'm not being paid for the reviews I write, they are just books/tutorials/etc. that I have used and admired.


Meeling said...

Sad that you aren't getting paid to write that review...great job! Makes me want to run out and get this cookbook. Next time I'm there I'll definitely have to check it out.

Love that you're a floor sitter...made me smile...been known to do that a time or two myself! ;-)

DK said...

I actually have a small obsession with shiny cookbooks, which is odd considering I don't really cook that much. I definitely like looking at the pictures of food though ;)

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

I will definitely be checking this book out -- thanks!

I have been wanting to share recipes on my blog for quite sometime now, the whole thing makes me kind of nervous?!

thestoryofkat said...

Thank you Meeling, I think you especially would enjoy this book! And so glad I am not the only floor sitter, hehe.

Looking at the pictures can be the best part I know...if only there were a way to taste each one!

Maureen—O I bet you'd do great with some recipes! I've found that well lit photos and proper attribution for any borrowed recipe elements are a great foundation.