You May Need Seven Spoons for Your Family…You May Need Twenty for Some Guests, Too

Seven Spoons

I just fell in love with a book. A cookbook called Seven Spoons.

I know it may sound silly, but the first inkling I noticed of my affection for this book was the cover page. Somehow, the beautifully intricate border around the page and the waxy feel of the paper itself grabbed my attention. Even the material quality of a book, I suppose, bears merit.

While I have read several cookbooks recently (some of which quickly made their way off of my bookshelf), this one is by far the best that I have seen in awhile. Why? Because I am a practical cook, and this cookbook is the home of everyday, practical dishes. Photographs of “Baked Irish Mash” and “Slow-Baked Slamon and Butter Beans” make my mouth water every time I see them. Plus, who can go wrong with a few Indian food recipes, right?

As if all of this weren’t enough, Tara O’Brady has a certain way of writing–a warm, thoughtful way of writing. As Molly Wizenberg writes, “Tara O’Brady could write a book about re-grouting bathroom tile, and I would still want to read it.” Why? Because she presents her story–and her recipes–“with warmth and grace.”

I recommend this book for the average homemaker, home chef, and home eater. In my opinion, this book will be an asset to any home, even if it serves as a coffee table book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

What to Make for Supper?

20Dinners

My mom has one continual problem: the daily dilemma of what to make for supper. A few years ago, I tried to solve the dilemma for her by creating a “supper zupper”–a collection of supper ideas on a key chain. That has helped some.
But the book Twenty Dinners might be another great gift for my mom and the other home-chefs who, like her, dread that nightly debate over food.

Recipes like Spiced Carrots and Harissa Yogurt, Apple Tarte Tatin, and Israeli-Style Tomato Cucumber Salad with Fried Soft-Boiled Egg sound (and look) delicious. But some other recipes in this cookbook are more for the adventurous. Overall, this book has a hipster feel to it–not in a bad way, however. The book has an environmentally friendly feel to it, embraces a minimalistic design, and relies on a unique combination of flavors and uncommon main dishes.The fact that nearly every dinner ends with an alcoholic beverage strikingly marks this book as one for adults or couples without children.

While this cookbook does not fit within the eating habits of my family and will not make its home among my more-favorite cookbooks, it might be helpful to cooks looking for a break from their routine of recipes. I recommend Twenty Dinners for cooks with access to unusual ingredients and the bravery required to try new novel foods.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Hmmmm….What’s a Milk Bar?

Creative. Artistic. Different. Delicious.

These are all words that one might use to describe the recipes in Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi.

You may be wondering, as I was: What is a milk bar? Apparently, it is a restaurant–and a unique one, just like the cookbook that comes from it. The Momofuku Milk Bar in New York bakes and sells cookies. That’s right: cookies. Now if that isn’t unique, I don’t know what is. And I think that uniqueness is on purpose. The restaurant’s owner, Tosi herself, says, “I think quirks are what make the world go ’round, just like dogs, dessert, quilting, jumping rope, bad movies, and great music” (10).

The very title itself should make it obvious that this is no ordinary cookbook with to-be-expected recipes. Whether Cookie-Dough Cookie, Kimchi Quesadilla, or Eggs in Purgatory, the foods in this cookbook are truly unique. Yet twists on classics–Haute Dogs and Grilled Cheese a la Pauly Carmichael–have their due place, too. And so do unique photographs ranging from “cookie doctors” to glam shots with cookies.

This cookbook is divided into sections: tried-and-true hand-me-down recipes, supermarket dishes (which, surprisingly, are not cookies), family meals, craft night and sleepover treats, etc. There is even a section on the lingo specific to a milk bar.

Overall, I would recommend this book for cooks who need to step outside of the box, hipsters who want something fun to put on their shelves, and white-elephant gift-givers. Some will love its recipes; some couldn’t care less about them. It all depends on how creative–and quirky–you are.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.