Food and Friends

One of my favorite things is hosting friends at my home. The joy of cooking for others and of preparing a space for them to relax has a magic all its own.

So imagine an entire cookbook dedicated to cooking with friends. That’s exactly what Food with Friends by Leela Cyd is. Focusing on tiny tidbits of food, this cookbook contains recipes for food gatherings like tea time, breakfast and brunch, desserts, potlucks, and picnics. An entire section devoted to creating the atmosphere for a food get-together (“Secret Ingredients”) made me love this book’s effort to cultivate friendship.

As a child, I would have loved to have a book like this–simple, friend-oriented, and beautifully photographed. I recommend this book to both young and old friends.

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

Plated

A home-cooked dinner by my mom is one of my favorite things in all the world. She has a simple way of cooking and bringing together a meal that makes the hearts of her family members warm.

This is partly why I chose to review the book Plated by Elana Karp and Suzanne Dumaine. The appeal of this cookbook is its simple, weeknight dinners. Karp and Dumaine include a range of meals–from outdoor barbecues to family dinners to two-person meals.

I recommend this cookbook to mothers, couples, and those searching for classics and simple variations on meals.

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

The Basque Book

Several years ago, I asked my mom why there are not many Spanish restaurants. “Maybe their food is bland,” she replied. The truth is, besides “Spanish” Rice, my family had never knowingly tasted food from Spain. I say this not to shame my mother but to note an experience that perhaps you have shared: no reference point for what Spanish cooking is like.

That’s part of the reason why “The Basque Book” piqued my interest when I first saw it. Yes, the book has gorgeous pictures. Yes, it looks lovely. But what intrigued me was to find out what Spanish cooking is really like.

Unfortunately, when I received this book, my dad (who loves traditional American food and some foreign flavors, too) noted that none of the pictures appealed to him. If you have a similar palate, this book may not be for you. However, if you are up for a bit of adventure (hipster, anyone?), then you will find some interesting dishes in these pages.

What is most surprising about this book (more surprising even than my dad’s reaction) is how the authors describes it. Raij and Montero call it “a story of love and homecoming told through 114 recipes” (11). And–though the recipes might not appeal to everyone (sometimes not even me)–I think this creative record of a “love story” is a fabulous gem of an idea.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to savor Spain (and especially those who love seafood), but not to those are not up for a bit of a surprise and are unwilling to try something new.

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