14 November 2020

Weekend Cooking: This Will Make It Taste Good by Vivian Howard

Review of This Will Make It Taste Good by Vivian HowardI’m a cookbook freak, and I get especially excited when a cookbook has a unique twist. That’s what Vivian Howard’s This Will Make It Taste Good offers. Thanks to the Voracious Ambassador’s Program for the copy of the book.

You may recognize Howard’s name from her Public Television shows, earlier cookbook, or her restaurant. In this cookbook, Howard concentrates on base recipes (like sauces and spiced nuts) and then shows you how to use those ingredients to amp up your everyday cooking. The recipes are for down-to-earth, easy, busy-day dishes that are also fairly quickly put together.

And great news for those of you who are vegetarians or who follow a gluten-free diet: “more than half of the food I this book” will suit you on either or both accounts. Many others can easily be tweaked with easy substitutions.

At the core of this cookbook are the base recipes, what Howard calls her recipe “heroes.” Among them are an herby-olive sauce, pickled cabbage (kraut), spiced nuts, and a peppery tomato sauce. These recipes are designed to be fairly flexible, and Howard explains the important elements, how to make substitutions, and how to store the finished product.

Review of This Will Make It Taste Good by Vivian HowardThe easiest way to explain the structure of This Will Make It Taste Good is take you through a chapter. “R-Rated Onions” starts out by giving us detailed, chatty, and very clear directions on how to make a big batch of caramelized onions and then how to store them for future use. The next page, gives us 10 quick ways to use the onions in our everyday cooking: to top baked potatoes, to add to burgers, to stir into a pot beans, and so on.

Next, Howard provides the following recipes that use the R-Rated Onions: onion soup, baked eggs and spinach, cream cheese dip, topped tomatoes, pork sandwiches, grilled eggplant, steak, vegetable soup, and roast chicken. Each recipe starts with an introduction that tells us something about the dish, why Howard likes it, and possible variations. Throughout This Will Make It Taste Good, Howard adds stories and tips, making the cookbook fun to read.

Review of This Will Make It Taste Good by Vivian HowardSo far, I’ve made two of the hero recipes and several of the accompanying recipes. First, I made a batch of Howard’s Community Organizer, which is a kind of New World sofrito. I used it to make baked nachos and then black-eyed peas, which I served over rice. I also made her version of spiced nuts, which amped up a quinoa salad and then a butternut squash soup.

Recommendation: I was really intrigued by Howard’s hero recipes, and love the idea of having a stash of homemade sauces and flavorings in my refrigerator or freezer to perk up my day-to-day cooking. I suggest you put Vivian Howard’s This Will Make It Taste Good on you library list. Read it, cook from it, and then decide if you want to add it to your permanent collection.

It’s really hard to share a recipe because I’d also have to share the base recipe. Instead, I’ll link you to three YouTube videos that feature Vivian Howard and recipes from This Will Make It Taste Good. I didn’t imbed them here because they (1) are long and (2) were filmed for virtual book tour events and I’m not sure of the videos’ copyrights.

Note: The scans were cropped from photos in the cookbook and used in the context of a review. All rights remain with the original copyright holder.

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


gluten Free A_Z Blog 11/14/20, 8:21 AM  

Sounds like some very helpful ideas in this book for making things easier in the kitchen.. The library suggestion is a good one. Will check it out.

Mae Travels 11/14/20, 8:28 AM  

That sounds like a really challenging way to get organized! I am too chaotic and don't plan what I'm going to do with the foods I have on hand so I couldn't make it work. You must be much more disciplined than I am.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 11/14/20, 9:44 AM  

You had me at Carmelized Onions.

I missed hooking up with cooking posts and I think I will come to it. Thanks for the inspiring book review here :-)

Deb in Hawaii 11/14/20, 11:44 AM  

I will look for this one. I love making up sauces and things and using them to flavor whatever I make. Nice too to do a big batch of caramelized onions (or sometimes I make a big batch of pickled onions or roasted garlic) so you invest the time and effort less often. ;-)

Jackie McGuinness 11/14/20, 11:52 AM  

I never used to make sauces but this year I have conquered several!
I just whipped over to the library and added this book to my wish list.

(Diane) bookchickdi 11/14/20, 12:49 PM  

This book sounds like a keeper. I like the versatility of it, base recipes to build upon.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 11/14/20, 6:41 PM  

This sounds like a book I would enjoy! I will have to keep my eyes open for it, thanks.

Laurie C 11/22/20, 10:24 PM  

I wasn't familiar with the author, but I like the sound of this cookbook! I'll keep an eye out for it.

Jackie McGuinness 11/23/20, 1:46 PM  

I think you will like Recipes for a Perfect Wife. I wasn't happy with the ending though.

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