Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wrapping Up How to Eat, and Up Next

 Nigella Lawson's How to Eat perfectly demonstrates why I shouldn't allow the design of a cookbook to factor into my expectations of the book's quality. I do maintain that this book is not laid out in a user-friendly fashion, and there is way too much chit-chat for my taste. I don't mind intros to recipes, and I don't mind essay-type writing at the start of chapters, but this book has big chunks of chatter in between the recipes. It's distracting, and hard to find what you're looking for. There are recipes, like the Exceptional Salmon that we loved so much, that don't appear in the contents, since it's in with the chatter instead of broken apart as a separate recipe. In the paperback version, at least, there are no pictures.

HOWEVER, nearly every recipe I tried was good, if not great. I was worried that Nigella was just an English Rachael Ray, with her emphasis on quick cooking. She's not. Nigella's recipes never feel cluttered. She uses fine ingredients and cooks them simply, to maximize their flavor.

I'm not bored with this book after a month, and there are lots of recipes that I still want to try. There's a treacle tart with my name written all over it. Trying to cut back on the desserts, so I didn't get around to making it this month, but I will. Oh, I will.

My only other minor complaint is that there are a lot of recipes for game and wild fowl that I just don't have access to. If you don't have access to them either, this may not be the book to start with. I'm trying desperately to control the urge to order all of her books. Santa brought me Kitchen for Christmas, and I can't wait to jump into it. Later.

For now, I'm very excited to start my next book. I've bitched and moaned often enough here about Corpus Christi's nonexistent Indian food offerings, that I'm guessing you've figured out that I really like Indian food, but am intimidated to cook it. Well, it's time to conquer that mountain, because from what I understand, Naples doesn't have a whole lot to offer in terms of non-Italian food. If I want Indian food without having to drive a few hours to get it in the next few years, I'm going to have to make it myself. For the next month, I'll be cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking. 
Doesn't she have kind eyes? I trust those eyes, and the recommendation of my friend Brigit, who steered me toward this book. I bought myself another coffee grinder for spices and a mini food processor, since a number of her recipes involve small amounts of onion puree. I stopped at the organic store yesterday and picked up whole spices and dry beans. I'm ready. Now can someone tell me how to quarter a nutmeg?? Blood shall be spilled this night! Nah, I'm better off quadrupling her garam masala recipe, even though she says to just make a little at a time.

Fingers crossed that I'm not totally sick of Indian food by the end of the month. The recipes look pretty diverse, so I think I'll be okay.


  1. Yay, I'm so happy to hear that you liked Nigella. She's the best.

    And very excited that you are going to test a Madhur Jaffrey book. Her ''Curry Easy'' arrived in my mailbox just last week (I love Amazon) and I am looking forward to dipping into it.

  2. Looking forward to your adventures with this Indian cookbook!

  3. I love Indian food too - I'm looking forward to seeing how you go with Madhur's book XO

  4. Yay! I'm sure you'll find some great keepers in this book. I could never cook good fluffy not sticky rice until I tried her recipe. We eat curry at least once a week. It's delish. Also glad you found a keeper in Nigellas book. There is an hilarious you tube video called Nigella Talks Dirty that is well worth a watch.

    1. Oh NOOO...that video is so right and so wrong, all at the same time. HA!