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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Newlywed Cookbook - Review

Product Details

Happy Valentines Day! Here is low-down on a new cook book aimed at couples.

I was recently sent an advance copy of The Newlywed Cookbook (3rd Edition) to review.  I had no idea what the purpose of it was, but figured it would be recipes to serve two people, rather than the standard 4 for most recipes.  Turns out, its focus is on quick, simple to prepare dishes and meals, which I may have figured out if I'd researched the author beforehand.  Robin Miller is the host of the Food Network's Quick Fix Meals.

I knew, since there was no focus on nutrition, that this book wasn't going to be for me, but I was interested to see what made it unique anyways.

The book definitely gives you breadth and variety, with chapters for:
1. Pizza and bread
2. Pasta and risotto
3. Chicken, turkey, duck and game birds
4. Beef, pork, veal, venison and lamb
5. Seafood and shellfish
6. Side dishes, salads and salsas
7. Desserts and other sweet treats
8. Special occasion recipes and menus

It also has glossaries of the back for ingredients and cooking techniques, which makes it ideal for novice cooks.  I'm guessing that's what makes it intended for newlyweds, since todays' youth seem to practically live at home with their parents until they get married, I wonder if that is one of the many factors that has led to a decline of from-scratch cooking: people simply never learn to cook for themselves because they're parents are doing it for them well into their adulthood.

Most of the recipes have just a few steps, and each one features a list of the items needed, which includes not only the ingredients, but the cooking vessel, appliances, etc.  This helps you get everything assembled and ready ahead of time.  There are no pictures at all though, so this might not be ideal for new cooks who need visuals to guide them.

Anyways, while I appreciate her emphasis on making cooking accessible to those who are inexperienced and those who think they lack the necessary time to cook, I'm not overly impressed with the recipes themselves.  First off, they are pretty generic and don't emphasize nutrition.  Virtually all the baked items use refined flours and sugars, which, of course, ticks me off.  It's also not suitable for anyone on any kind of restricted diet.  Most recipes are not particularly novel, while some are downright weird: Chicken Marsala with Jack CheeseChicken Curry with Lemongrass and Figs?  A few are sort of interesting: Seared Tuna with Anchovy-Olive Crust and Roasted Fennel sounds nice.

Except for making a cutsie wedding shower gift, I can't really think of a good reason to buy this book.