01 April 2017

Weekend Cooking: Feeding a Family by Sarah Waldman

Review: Feeding a Family by Sarah WaldmanWhat's my favorite kind of cookbook? One that helps me get a healthful, fresh dinner on the table even after a busy or stressful day of work. That's exactly what Sarah Waldman's Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work (Roost Books; ISBN: 9781611803099; April 11) both promises and delivers.

Waldman, who has a degree in nutrition, is the mother of two young boys and is committed to serving home-cooked dinners pretty much every night. Her real life involves work, marriage, parenting, school, a tight food budget, and small-town resources. In other words, she's not much different from most of us.

Review: Feeding a Family by Sarah WaldmanThe recipes in Feeding a Family are kid tested and adult approved. No, her kids won't eat every single dish in the book, but Waldman looks at this as a growing process. Inside the covers you'll find 40 dinner menus, arranged seasonally. Most are perfect for everyday dinners, though there are a few menus for weekend cooking.

When Waldman says her recipes are family friendly, she means it. She mentions cooking and prep tasks that children can do and provides notes for how to adapt at least part of the menu for infants. In a budget-friendly way, Waldman sometimes adds information on how to either stretch the leftovers or change them into a second dinner.

Don't skip the introductory material, which includes lists about nutrition, shopping, and food prep. You'll also find ways to get the family involved and how to feed picky eaters. Best is the list of pantry meals, what I call "desperation dinners." You know, those times when you are just too zonked to fuss. I'll be using that list a lot.

I really like the design of Feeding a Family: it's clean and easy on the eyes. A bonus are the beautiful photographs by Elizabeth Cecil. I love the mix of lifestyle and food images.

Review: Feeding a Family by Sarah WaldmanThe recipes are solid and doable on a weeknight by families with modest skills. You'll find one-dish meals, pizza, veggie burgers, slow-cooker pork, grilled vegetables, brown rice pudding, and grain bowls. The flavors are varied and the meals range from meat and poultry through fish and vegetarian. The desserts are mostly fruit based and not over-the-top rich.

One thing to remember is this is a family cookbook. So, although the menus are delicious, the food is not highly spiced. I understand this. The idea behind Feeding a Family is to satisfy everyone, including babies. I've been adding extra herbs and spices, but we're not feeding kids.

Recipe: Skillet Spinach Pie from Feeding a Family by Sarah WaldmanRecommendation: If you're looking for new ideas for healthful, fast, family-friendly dinners, you can't go wrong with Sarah Waldman's Feeding a Family. I've discovered some great ideas and yummy dinners, and I bet you'll find some new favorites as well. Note: If you're vegetarian, you'll find a lot to love here, but you might want to borrow the cookbook before buying it.

Recipe: The scan (click to enlarge and read) shows a recipe for Skillet Spinach Pie, which I made and we loved. I've cooked spanakopita many times over the years, but I really liked the addition of ricotta here. I added some garlic and cumin and probably something like oregano. I know that many people shy away from phyllo because of the butter, but this recipe uses only 6 sheets of dough and 5 tablespoons of butter for 8 servings. That's not really too bad for a treat. The photo just above, shows the finished dish.

Note on photos and scans: The recipe and photos come from an advance reader edition and may differ from the final book. Also, these materials are used in the context of a review and all rights remain with the original copyright holders, Sarah Waldman or Elizabeth Cecil.

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


Mae Travels 4/1/17, 6:25 AM  

Your review is enjoyable to read, but the book sounds a bit too much like many other well-meaning books of cooking advice. At any rate, not a book I would find at all useful.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 4/1/17, 8:17 AM  

I like reading the intros to cookbooks, you never know where a tip may come in handy. Recipes that please kids and adults? Winner!

Jackie McGuinness 4/1/17, 10:34 AM  

Like Mae, not sure I'd be sold on this book. I'm pretty picky these days about buying hard copy books. I did mention that I did buy one last week though! Pete Evans Gut Healthy!!!!!!

Beth F 4/1/17, 10:54 AM  

@Mae & Jackie: I totally get that. But if you're looking for a good gift for a young family, keep this cookbook in mind.

Katherine P 4/1/17, 10:55 AM  

This sounds like a book I'd really use and I'm curious about those pantry meals. That sounds like something I need in my life! I love that she mentions prep that children can be included in. Adding this to my library list.

Unknown 4/1/17, 11:25 AM  

Thanks for your candid review. I am trying to cook more (for two). This book sounds like it would be helpful to me. Thanks for hosting this meme, which I occasionally participate in.

Claudia 4/1/17, 11:47 AM  

I try to find cookbooks at the library first, to see if they're something I would buy. Sounds like there might be some good ideas for us in that one.

Deb in Hawaii 4/1/17, 12:15 PM  

This does sound like a great book for a young family for sure--especially with all of the tips and ideas. I also like it when cookbooks show you how to re-purpose leftovers into a second, different meal. I have several nieces that are just starting families and this looks like a great book to check out for them. Thanks for sharing. ;-)

Vicki 4/2/17, 10:23 AM  

A cookbook with recipes that adults and kids love? Sounds like a winner to me!

I love that there is other info too.

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