You might want to cozy up to these recipes on a leisure day first......
Reviewed in the United States on 2 September 2018
One thing for sure, my Tuesday nights—and all my week nights--are way different, and busier, than what Christopher Kimball and his Milk Street team members are experiencing. And my local grocery stores are not as well stocked as theirs. And I can’t make trips to my grocery stores as often as they do. And I’m pretty sure their pantry is twice the size mine is. I do my own prep and clean up, too….. And I’m not sure what they mean by saying “Make Tuesday nights the new Saturday night”…..
And, I’m not quite sure why Mr. Kimball has so badly short-changed American food, and foods from other North American and South American countries and cultures in this cook book. But he certainly has! Even European foods have been shunned. I came looking for quick, easy, new and redux, week night recipes. That is not what I found in these pages.
That all being said, I think Christopher Kimball and his group have put together a very interesting group of recipes: Challenging, unique, varied and tasty. Well worth the time and energy they take to make them. And--contrary to many recently-released cook books that feature 100 recipes or less--there is quite a large selection of recipes from which to choose. Too bad for me that not all that many appeal to me, and they don't appeal to my family members either.
And for how “easy” the authors claim these recipes to be? Well, maybe for the experienced among us…… And when I think deeply on why these particular recipes seem intimidating to me (and I have thought deeply on this), I have come away with this thought: The ingredients—not the techniques—are not those I usually use. And the fact that Mr. Kimball assures me that I should make these recipes on a busy weekday evening makes me apprehensive! And what if my family doesn’t like these flavor combinations? Do you really want to spring new flavors on your family members when they are exhausted and starving? What happens when they don’t like that new flavor? Let them starve?
The fact that many of these ingredients are not found often on my grocery list is a challenge in itself—and it will take extra time running up and down the grocery store isles.
(And I don’t think Mr. Kimball considered all this when developing and writing this book. He and his team must be too busy traveling and trying new dishes, (made by others the first time around…..), to bother with understanding the realities of mothers and fathers working and coming home to school-age children, grass that needs mowing, news to be watched, clothes to be washed…….)
For instance, most of the recipes showcased in the large chapter of “fast” recipes—require you full attention for 45 minutes or more. For the most part, these are fairly involved recipes that usually utilize 10 or more ingredients, a good amount of prep work, several pans, your food processor, maybe the microwave, measuring cups and spoons, fresh herbs and an assortment of spices. Your counters will be filled and you will refer back to the recipe book often. If you stop to greet spouse or children or answer the phone or take fill the dog bowl, you won’t be finishing in 45 minutes….. When I changed my frame of mind, and renamed this chapter “Leisure Day Recipes”, I became much happier with them…..
SO: Here is my tip for handling this particular cook book and for getting the most out of it. Do not baulk at these recipes! Embrace them! Do NOT try to make them first on a week night, when you and your family members are tired and starving and rushed! Try them on a weekend first. Cozy up to them gently and get acquainted with them on a slow day. In fact, come to think of it, that is great advice for any new recipe. Don’t try something new when you are distracted. Wait until you can give the recipe your full attention.
When you have made the recipe once or twice, when you’ve kind of memorized the directions, and know where to reach for that new spice on your pantry shelf, then bring it to your very busy Tuesday Night.
Personally, I’ve been on the lookout for new ground beef and ground pork recipes, and I’m happy that I found some in this book. And I will be incorporating some of the recipes using sumac into my repertoire. But in general, I had higher hopes for this book.
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