Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking by Mary McCartney
Sterling Epicure - Cookbook/Vegetarian
I'm going to abandon the standard format for this review. You saw what happened when Food by Mary McCartney arrived at our house, right? My husband immediately snatched up our new copy of Food and hogged it for days. In fact, I'm surprised we've managed to take turns without any fights breaking out. We love it that much.
We've tried at least 5 of the recipes. To be honest, I've lost track of the number but I've liked everything except "Leek and Pea Risotto" and that was because the recipe is heavy on parmesan. Parmesan cheese is one of those "less is more" ingredients for me so we're going to adapt the recipe a bit. Husband loved it. The recipes tend to be low on ingredients (very important to us) and have few ingredients that are difficult to obtain (also crucial) and most that are may easily be substituted. They're simple dishes to put together, so Food would make a super purchase or gift for a novice and there's plenty of interesting variety.
I got a copy of Food when I commented on a tweet by a publicist at Sterling who said it's good for picky eaters. I'm going to have to agree that, for the most part, that's true. I'm a picky eater -- not as bad as I used to be but still pretty picky because I have too-sharp senses. There was a time when I couldn't even sit across the table from someone who was eating bleu cheese and I meticulously removed onions from anything and everything. When I flip through most cookbooks I'll find a handful of recipes that interest me, to this day. Jamie Oliver (who wrote the cover quote for Food) is one of the rare exceptions. I'll eat anything by Jamie Oliver.
Well, let me tell you . . . Food is so gorgeous and the recipes so appealing that I don't think there's anything (unless it has bleu cheese in it) that I wouldn't try. Kiddo's girlfriend is an extremely picky vegetarian so we're looking forward to cooking for her between semesters, when she'll no doubt be hanging out with us regularly. My personal favorite, so far, is the egg salad. Basic, delicious, no strong flavors to offend a sensitive palate -- definitely the kind of recipe I plan to try on Kiddo's girlfriend.
The best thing about Food, though is the photos. It is the most freaking gorgeous book, with beautiful photo spreads interspersed between the recipes. And almost every recipe contains a photo of the final result.
In fact, my husband said I should make a special effort to let people know that the photos are so gorgeous you'll be tempted just to sit and admire them and never get around to cooking. He's just being silly, though. The truth is that the sheer beauty of the book inspired us both. We've kept Food propped up in the cookbook holder (usually open to what we want to try next) when we're not reading it, since the book arrived on our doorstep.
There's some nice text about the author's childhood and there are some photos from her youth. The author is Paul and Linda McCartney's daughter -- something I failed to notice about the book when I gushed about how perfect the book sounded for us on Twitter. The author talks about why she cooks the way she does, how she was convinced after years of friendly nudging that she should write a cookbook, how cooking goes hand-in-hand with friends and family for her and some extra cooking notes, but the text is minimal. Still, the opening bits will satisfy McCartney fans who, like me, have always admired the family's surprisingly simple, clean lifestyle.
Even Isabel likes Food. Honestly, it's hard for me to imagine anyone not falling in love with Food, if only because it's lovely enough to set on a coffee table. You don't even have to like the recipes. But, we do and we're beating the heck out of our copy. It's going to be one very well-loved book for a long time.
Highly recommended - I can't praise Food enough. A cookbook with simple, quick but tasty recipes that are especially great for a vegetarian with a sensitive palate and the most gorgeous photos in the history of ever. I'd honestly recommend this book to everyone, if only for the photos, but it's too terrific to do that. Food would be a great book to keep on-hand even if you've got no interest in a vegetarian lifestyle. Say you occasionally need ideas for dishes everyone will find appealing so that when you entertain you have a delicious spread that won't leave out the friends who don't touch meat -- perfect. The recipes are also great for picky little ones. If you're not a picky eater and desire a bit more flavor, it's easy enough to adapt these recipes by tossing in a little paprika or pepper sauce here, some onion there, a bit of dry mustard . . . whatever. Perfect for gift-giving because it's so beautiful.
And, that's your Fiona Friday photo, above. I wasn't expecting Isabel to walk into the frame when I was snapping interior photos and have some much better images to share but I'll save those for another time.
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