Ina Garten * Clarkson Potter * October 25, 2016 * 272 Pages
I don’t normally review cookbooks, but I’ve actually cooked a lot of dinners and snacks from this one, so I figure why not share my thoughts?
This is yet another book of recipes from the uber-popular Ina Garten. All of the recipes in here relate to Garten’s husband, Jeffrey, in some way or another. Mildly entertaining stories about their courtship and marriage are sprinkled throughout the book. But the recipes, of course, are the most important part.
The book is divided into six sections: 1) Cocktails, 2) Soups, Salads, & Lunch, 3) Dinner, 4) Vegetables & Sides, 5) Bread & Cheese, and 6) Dessert. There is also a list of “Jeffery’s Favorite Dishes” in the back, followed by a section on Garten’s basic pantry items (i.e., a few pages of fancy Williams-Sonoma-type pictures that make you think you desperately need a food mill, a juicer, a knife sharpener, and every single ALL CLAD pan in existence, even though, psst, you absolutely don’t.)
I’m not gonna lie: the recipes in here are delicious. I still haven’t found one that is even a hint of gross. Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel…da bomb. Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken…delish.
Herbed Goat Cheese…get out of here with that goodness.
The problem is, the reason all these foods taste so good is because they are LOADED with cream and butter and oil and cheese. It should be illegal to cook like this. And somehow I always end up feeling guilty when I eat her food–like there are going to be consequences for all that tasty. (Oh wait, there are. It’s called heart disease.) Sometimes the food is so rich I feel like I can’t even finish it. After a few bites my body’s like, “Hm, I don’t know about this next one. I just don’t knoooow.” But then I cram it down my throat anyway. At which point it becomes an intestinal issue. Another good title for this book would be Totally Worth-it Diarrhea. Or maybe How to Gain Five Pounds of Stomach Fat in Three Days.
Anyway, there are a lot of good recipes in here. The woman knows how to cook, straight up. But just prepare yourself for significant stomach discomfort and third-trimester-level bloating. I spent about a month cooking from this book and then decided the pleasure just wasn’t worth the pain. I still think about that goat cheese, though…