22 June 2019

Weekend Cooking: Recapping the Abrams Dinner Party 2018-2019

All about Abrams Dinner Party 2018-2019As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I've now finished introducing you to the entire food and drink list published by Abrams Books since fall of last year. I've felt very privileged to have been invited to the Abrams Dinner Party and thrilled to have shared my experiences with their cookbooks over the last year.

Abrams is already looking forward to next year, and they've recently posted the application form for the 2019-2020 edition of the Abrams Dinner Party. If you're interested in having a seat at the table next year, be sure to fill out the form, which is found on the Dinner Party website.

The Power of Sprinkles by Amirah KassemI encourage all of you to fill out the application. On the website, you'll find testimonials from some of this year's guests, including one from me. Abrams makes it so easy to spread the word about their cookbooks, and--in case you're wondering--they expect Dinner Party members to be honest about their opinions. This is not a paid gig, but you will receive all the food and cooking books Abrams will publish next year.

Just for fun, I thought I'd recap some of the Abrams cookbooks I reviewed this year. I received 13 titles from Abrams to share with you, and I can honestly say there were no misses in this batch. Naturally, I related to some cookbooks more than others, but I wasn't disappointed in any of them. Each was beautifully designed and fully met the expectations of its audience. My favorite photo of the year, the Fairy Toast recipe from The Power of Sprinkles by Amirah Kassem, is shown above.

Instead of using the publisher's images of the cookbook covers, I took pictures of my personal copies so you could see the sticky notes marking recipes that I've made or that I plan to make. Yeah, I should buy stock in those things. Note that the links lead to my full reviews.

Cookbooks That Surprised Me

All about the Abrams Dinner PartyI admit I was feeling a little neutral when I found Cali'flour Kitchen by Amy Lacey and Pescan by Abbie Cornish and Jacqueline King Schiller in my mailbox. Don't get me wrong, we love cauliflower and eat it quite often. We also eat fish and are what I think is now called flexitarians, meaning we eat about 50 percent vegetarian. I was worried that I wouldn't find enough recipes in these books to suit our tastes and needs.

Boy was I wrong--big time! Once I began looking through and reading the cookbooks, I found tons of appealing recipes. I was excited to learn how to make our own cauliflower rice (saving money and controlling ingredients) and was amazed at all the ways cauliflower can be transformed to mimic other ingredients. As for Pescan, well, I fell in love with an awesome bean, pesto, and grilled shrimp dish and discovered our new favorite way to eat carrots. As you can see, I found way more than just two recipes to add to my repertoire.

Cookbooks That Are More Than They Seem

All about the Abrams Dinner PartyBased on just the titles, you might think you know exactly what both Icing on the Cake by Tessa Huff and Homemade Christmas by Yvette Van Boven are all about. So did I. But the truth is that each of these books offers home cooks so much more than just cakes and holiday cheer. All you have to do is start flipping through them to get the picture (and, yes, they are full of gorgeous photos!).

Icing on the Cake turns out to be an accessible instruction cookbook on how to decorate cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes, and more. Photographs and lots of hand-holding give you confidence to make the prettiest desserts on the buffet table. Hey, if I can make a lattice crust slab pie, so can you! The bonus of Homemade Christmas is that the recipes aren't not just for Christmas. Instead the book contains dozens of appealing dishes for fall through the first spring thaw. I learned new ways to serve Brussels sprouts and made a delicious pear salad, super yummy potatoes au gratin, and one of our new favorite rice salads.

My Three Favorites

All about the Abrams Dinner PartyIt was really hard to pick my top three cookbooks from this past year's Abrams Dinner Party titles. I still feel bad that I didn't include The Modern Cook's Year by Anna Jones, because I've cooked out that book a ton. Instead I went with three that will keep us company all summer and the ones my husband was particularly fond of. Yeah, I had to pick the meat and pizza cause it's always good to bring a smile to the family dinner table.

BBQ&A by Myron Mixon has totally upped our grilling smarts. As I said in my full review, we just can't get enough of the spice rubs and sauces. I don't think I'll ever go back to buying grocery store BBQ sauce; the homemade versions in this book are just too good (and too easy to make) to pass up. We feel as if we've barely scratched the surface of this book.

One of the major hit recipes of the Abrams Dinner Party season is found in The Bacon Bible by Peter Sherman, and I shared that relish in my review. I'm not quite sure I'll ever be tempted to make my own bacon from scratch, but I sure am glad to have recipes for bacon-infused cocktails, soups, salads, burgers, chilis, and more. We've loved every single thing we've made so far. And that apple-bacon relish! Swoon!

All about the Abrams Dinner PartyWe love, love, love making our own pizza from scratch. We often grill it, but sometimes bake it in the oven. Thus it should come as no surprise that Genuine Pizza by Michael Schwartz made it to my favorite list. What you might be surprised about is that this book contains the other major hit recipe of the year. And it's not pizza. It's the small-batch recipe for chocolate chunk cookies. As the Dinner Party guests discovered, these cookies can be stuffed with pretty much any kind of chocolate or chocolate candies that float your boat. I'm making some tomorrow!

Finally, I want to take this moment to thank Abrams for inviting me to the Dinner Party. I have so many more recipes to try and to share with you, and it's all thanks to the good people at Abrams Books. If you're interested in joining the fun, be sure to visit the Dinner Party website and fill out the application form. You never know, there may be a seat at the table with your name on it.

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.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.


rhapsodyinbooks 6/22/19, 6:32 AM  

Excellent recap! I'm sure Abrams is pleased they chose someone for last year who did such a thorough job testing and reviewing their cookbooks! You were lucky to be chosen, but they were also lucky to have chosen you!

Mae Travels 6/22/19, 6:40 AM  

Trying recipes and reviewing 13 cookbooks has been a very impressive project for your year. I'm sure all your other readers are as impressed as I am, and also as well-informed about these new books. I've resolved to cook more from recipes than I have been (as you can see from my maybe-too-numerous posts this week) and so maybe I'll apply for next year.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Jackie McGuinness 6/22/19, 6:52 AM  

You did a great job with this (unpaid) assignment!

I am tempted, but know I couldn't keep up!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 6/22/19, 7:16 AM  

I thank you for this wonderful blogging event that you host each week. I look forward each week to your post at Weekend Cooking, and I love to visit all the blogs who link up here. It's a wonderful cooking party each week.

Claudia 6/22/19, 11:28 AM  

Yes, you do host your very own cooking party every week, and I'm happy to join in when I can. The Abrams gig may be unpaid, but it looks to be worthwhile.

Deb in Hawaii 6/22/19, 11:46 AM  

I have really enjoyed reading your reviews and experiences with the Abrams Dinner Party and you have introduced us to some fantastic new cookbooks. You also made me really hungry this morning recapping them! ;-)

Abigail Pearson 6/22/19, 2:21 PM  

My cookbook TBR just got a whole lot bigger! :D

shelleyrae @ book'd out 6/24/19, 8:52 AM  

Sadly I’m not eligible to join the Abrams table, but I’ll continue to enjoy a place at yours with your reviews.

Marg 11/28/20, 2:04 AM  

That's a good looking fairy bread cake!!

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