28 November 2020

Weekend Cooking: 3 New Cookbooks

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to my fellow Americans. I believe this weekend also covers a holiday in Scotland (on Monday), and I think it's also the start of Advent (on Sunday). In any case, holiday or no, hope your weekend is safe and relaxing.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been blessed to receive a number of super cookbooks this fall, and I'm determined to share as many as I can with you before the year is over. Today's eclectic trio would make good gifts or additions to your own kitchen, though they're very different from each other.

3 new cookbooks for fall 2020First up is Jamie Oliver's 7 Ways (Flatiron, Nov. 10). This is a down-to-earth, practical cookbook that should have broad appeal. Here's the concept: Oliver focuses on 18 common foods (like broccoli, chicken breast, shrimp, eggs, and potatoes) and provides 7 recipes for each one. The idea behind 7 Ways is to give us new ideas for using staple ingredients. Most recipes can be made in well under an hour and use reliable shortcuts, like canned beans, store-bought stocks, and jarred sauces.

Things I love: Each recipe is straightforward, short, and accompanied by a full-page photo and nutritional information. Oliver provides two indexes: one standard at the back of the book and one at the beginning that groups recipes by type: one pot, sheet pan, pasta, copycat take-out dishes, and so on.

I've made a few dishes from 7 Ways and, as you might expect from Jamie Oliver, they were all delicious. Here's what I made: broccoli minestrone, sweet potato and chicken chop suey, sweet potato stew, bolognese (with beer in the sauce -- OMG good), and spicy shrimp noodles. Here are a few things I have marked to try: broccoli and tuna pasta, cauliflower and chickpea curry, butter chicken, mushroom risotto, sticky ginger beef, and pork and black bean sauce.

Recommended for busy cooks, those of us who need some inspiration, and inexperienced cooks who are ready for the next step. Special diets: Vegetarians will find quite a few recipes in 7 Ways, but vegans might have trouble. Lots of gluten free choices. Thanks to Flatiron for the review copy.

3 new cookbooks for fall 2020Everyone should put Marcus Samuelsson's The Rise (Voracious, Oct. 27) on their to buy or to borrow list. As the cover of the cookbook indicates, The Rise is all about celebrating Black cooks and chefs and their influence on American cooking. I probably don't need to tell you that Black cooks are rarely in the American household limelight.

Samuelsson corrects that omission by featuring more than 70 Black Americans in the food business. We learn their stories and their culinary influences, and we are also treated to their recipes. The Rise is divided into four main chapters covering the future of Black cooking, contemporary fusions, how Black dishes were changed and integrated during the Great Migration, and the way Black cooks are reclaiming their global culinary heritage. Samuelsson also includes a chapter on ingredients, sauces, and spices; a section on resources; ways to follow Black cooks on social media; and a list of other Black chefs to pay attention to.

The Rise is a book to read and to learn from as much as it is a book to cook from. I haven't yet tried any of the dishes, though plenty of recipes appeal to me. What I truly love about The Rise is the narrative text, which expanded my culinary vision of America. Marcus Samuelsson's latest is recommended to anyone who is interested in a fuller picture of American cooking. Note: Some recipes call for unfamiliar (at least to me) ingredients. Thanks to the Voracious Ambassador Program for the review copy.

3 new cookbooks for fall 2020Here's something for those of you looking for a little fun and who would like to bring some magic into your kitchen: Ashley Craft's The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook (Adams Media; Nov. 10). Inside the covers of Craft's cookbook are 100 recipes inspired by dishes served at the "Happiest Place on Earth."

Craft starts out introducing us to the different U.S. parks and kingdoms as well as the equipment needed to make the recipes. The recipes in The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook are divided by theme park, and each chapter includes a map of the park and where to buy each yummy treat that inspired the recipes to follow. Craving Cookies and Cream Mickey Cupcakes, Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches, Peter Pan Floats, School Bread, or Mr. Kamal's Seasoned Fries? You don't need to buy a ticket to make your favorite Disney treat at home.

Though most of the recipes are for sweets and snacks, Craft also includes recipes for pulled pork, carnita tacos, mac and cheese, and chili. Craft introduces each recipe with information about the dish, the history of the dish in the park, and/or variations. She also provides tips and tricks and "Did You Know?" fun facts.

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook is recommended to Disney fans everywhere. Put this on your holiday gift-giving list; it's sure to bring a little happiness to whoever is lucky enough to a get a copy. Thanks to Abrams Media for the review copy and for allowing me to share the following recipe. You may have to click the scan to make it big enough to read.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


shelleyrae @ book'd out 11/28/20, 6:26 AM  

I like the concept of Jamie Oliver’s book though I’m not really a fan of his.
I made a note of The Rise to recommend for the Food category of my 2021 nonfiction reader Challenge.
Thanks for sharing these Beth.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 11/28/20, 8:50 AM  

It's nice to focus on just a couple of simple foods that are easily attainable. I like this idea very much.

Thank you for sharing these new cookbooks.

Tina 11/28/20, 9:14 AM  

I have my eye on that Jamie Oliver cookbook. Love the sound of the recipes you tried.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 11/28/20, 9:47 AM  

The Dole whip is one of our favorites whenever we visit the parks! Jamie Olivers 7 ways sounds intriguing.

Jackie McGuinness 11/28/20, 11:28 AM  

I'm a huge fan of Jamie's, as you know by my search for his 30 minute book.
I'm off to check out his spicy shrimp noodle recipe and to add this book to my library wish list.

I am also a big fan of Marcus, having read his life story, even John read it!

Disney, I have made the Dole whip and it was very good.

Mae Travels 11/28/20, 1:31 PM  

Maybe this is finally the year when Black food innovators get more credit! One writer who is working on this is Toni Tipton-Martin, with first "The Jemima Code" and then "Jubilee," a cookbook based on the work of many Black cooks. A couple of books about African cuisine have also been published. So the Samuelsson book sounds like a very interesting addition as well.

be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Laurie C 11/28/20, 8:32 PM  

I hadn't heard about any of these three cookbooks before. The first two sound great, but not being a Disney fan, I'll skip the Disney cookbook!

Sue Jackson 11/30/20, 5:48 PM  

Mmmm...yum! These all sound good, especially the Jamie Oliver cookbook! I have been in a cooking rut lately - though we eat a wide variety of foods and I have loads of favorite recipes we rotate through, I haven't tried anything new lately. We are newly empty-nesters (again), so that widens the possibilities!

Might ask for the Jamie Oliver book for Christmas!


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