Friday, October 14, 2016
Good Taste: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Family and Friends by Jane Green
I signed up to review Good Taste: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Family and Friends, today, but neglected to block off a quick jaunt taken this past weekend on my calendar. As a result, I won't be able to cook from the book until this coming weekend, since it's really my husband that does the bulk of the cooking and he has been gone for the better part of the last 5 weeks. When we cook together, I typically read the instructions aloud and he puts me to work chopping while he does most everything else. Having said that, I have to tell you that I want to cook absolutely everything in Good Taste, which is highly unusual because I'm kind of a picky person.
Here's what I love about Good Taste:
1. It's beautiful. The cover is, in my opinion, way too easy to walk past. But, open the book and flip through and you'll find at least one full-size photo for every dish, sometimes several smaller, decorative images, as well. I have learned my lesson about cookbooks that don't have photos of the finished product: we don't use them. So, the photos are not just great to look at, they're crucial.
2. The word "simple" is not an overstatement. While a few of the recipes have a longish list of ingredients, only one that I recall required the preparation of a second item to use in the recipe (and that ingredient is available at Trader Joe's, if you have one). Most ingredients are easily obtainable, even in our location, which is sadly lacking in options. So, the list of ingredients is almost always all you need. The curry shown above has one of the longer ingredient lists. Most fall closer to 8-10 ingredients.
3. My husband wants to cook just about everything, too. He'll eat just about anything once, but he very seldom finds a cookbook that he thinks is up to snuff, primarily because so many of them involve too many ingredients or complex preparation. After I gushed to him about Good Taste, he spent an hour or so flipping through the book and reading recipes. He was completely sold and is looking forward to cooking out of it, too. He's the chief cook in this house but I often foist recipes on him. If he's not interested, he won't budge. I also have let a couple other people flip through the book and they thought it looked appealing, too. We're at 100% approval, here, people. That's amazing.
4. The text is marvelous. If you've read Jane Green, that's probably not surprising. Jane Green is a novelist. She tells anecdotes about her family, her cooking history, her childhood, etc., in Good Taste, and they make the book just as fun to read as it is to flip through for the photographs and recipes. If you like a little extra material that goes beyond recipes, you'll enjoy the text.
Highly recommended with a side note - I've already mentioned this but it bears repeating that I have not yet cooked a recipe from Good Taste. However, the lists of ingredients are on the minimal side (always a plus) and I found the recipes easy to visualize preparing. Because I seldom cook, anymore, I often have a lot of questions about preparation -- I don't always "get" the instructions -- so that bodes well for less experienced cooks. I even want to try the meat recipes. Husband got a good belly laugh when I told him I even want to try the ribs because I'm one of those weird people you've heard about who don't like messy food -- you know, the ones who use a knife and fork on pizza? Yeah, I'm that weirdo. I don't like messes and I'm not a fan of meat. So, it's pretty weird that I want to try a rib recipe.
I may not do a full review of any recipes we cook this weekend, but I will definitely let you know the results in one of next week's posts.
UPDATE: I talked about the 4 recipes from Good Taste that we cooked over the weekend in my Monday Malarkey post. Scroll down to "In other news" toward the bottom to read what we cooked and what we thought (in brief: we liked everything).
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