Book Reviews,  Cookbooks,  Non-Fiction

Book Review: Cook As You Are

Cook as You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks, and Messy Kitchens: A CookbookCook as You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks, and Messy Kitchens: A Cookbook by Ruby Tandoh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think by now we all know that cookbooks filled with glorious food photography, recipes written in country-cute fonts, and scatterings of anecdotes from the author about how easy it is to whip up a Black Forest Cake for a dinner party for twelve while Zooming with the office gang and bouncing a toddler on one hip can make for amusing reading, but are those the cookbooks you pick up when you really need help getting a meal prepared? Of course not.

When you’re low on emotional spoons, when your energy is spent, when you haven’t shopped but need to pull something together, you need a cookbook that meets you where you are. This is that cookbook. And the recipes aren’t just mac and cheese (though there is an amazing cauliflower version), this is gourmet stuff! The recipes are international and wildly varied. And you *can* make them, thanks to plentiful advice on how get a meal on the table without exhausting yourself.

The recipes are written with a good balance between a friendly conversational tone and no-nonsense detailed instructions. The friendly blue-edged boxes containing “Variations and Substitutions” advice is included with almost every recipe. Not only are you told what you can substitute, you’ll learn what you cannot – if a recipe won’t turn out well with gluten-free flour, for example, you’ll be told about that here.

Novice cooks, cooks with fatigue issues, or mobility challenges, cooks who can’t easily get to the store all the time, cooks with eating disorders, dietary restrictions or allergies – this cookbook will empower all of you. And guess what? No glossy, gorgeous food photography to make your personal efforts seem unworthy! Instead, there’s friendly cartoonish drawings of everyday folk making their food in regular, sometimes messy kitchens. They could easily be any of us.

My thanks to Ruby Tandoh, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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