Home Cooked: Cookbook Review

Home Cooked by Anya Fernald with Jessica Battilana is beautifully written, and a perfect balance of food and story. Perfect for the “foodie” in your life.”  It is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I have ever seen. Inspirational is truly the word that comes to mind. The photography actually does the beautiful artistry of food and cooking justice, and I could devour each page. Yes, the pun was intended.

I want to cook these recipes, her way, and I find myself not wanting to put the book down long enough to cook. I have two “foodies” in my life who I sat at a table with and perused the pages of this book. Chatting about the possibilities, as they felt endless. Fernald has a way with food and also a way with story. One of my favorite things about the book is the way she weaves in her own story and her love of food into each and every recipe and every.single.page. is an obvious labor of love.

The images are truly remarkable. Often with a cookbook that has such great images they are few and far between. That is not the case with this book. Many of the recipes have individual images, plus she weaves incredible shots throughout the entire book that really help you envision what you are about to cook. One of my favorite images is of the pickled eggs, the vibrant pink exterior from the use of beets just made my mouth water. I cannot wait to cook more from this book. I will say the recipes are complex, especially if this is not a familiar way to cook. Bone broth, homemade sorriso – it’s a challenge. However, I will also note that you can cook these recipes using broth or tomato sauce you have on hand. I guarantee the quality will not be the same, but I also guarantee that you’ll enjoy the food!

Another real highlight to this cookbook is the simple layout. It is easy to identify what you will need ingredient wise, find the step by step process and also to dive into the story she provides surrounding the recipe. It is hard to strike this balance and Fernald has done it.  Did I mention there is an entire section of drink and cocktail recipes – LOVE!!

I also am very curious about cooking and baking from scratch these days, not that I really have the time for all that entails. But when I can and with certain things I make it a priority. This book makes some of the more intimidating things seem accessible. Never thought about making my own lard! But now I just might.
I want to be very clear about the pros and cons with this book as it would be so easy for me to rant and rave because of the beauty and inspiration I find in its pages. But there are some things I would want to share honestly before referring you to buy the book.

– incredible images
– filled with stories
– recipes are easy to read and follow
– most (or maybe I should say many) ingredients are ones I would have on hand or would not be too intimidated purchasing. OR many of the ingredients I have on hand would suffice.
– the food is delicious
– variety of recipes including cocktails, entrees, side dishes, and beautiful breads and pastas – not to mention the “basics” section in the front that really lays the foundation for this kind of cooking.
– the printing and quality of this book is through the roof and for that reason would make a beautiful gift (for the “foodies” in your life.)

– This is true “home cooking” but not for every “home cook.” Meaning it’s complicated, comes from an Italian background, is truly cooking from scratch and would be intimidating for most of todays at home cooks.
– Many of these recipes would require me to take extra time and purchase ingredients and therefore are not totally accessible for me in my every day life with 3 kids under 3.5 and a tight budget.
– This is the kind of cooking you do in a slower paced life then I live right now. That being said on the days I have napping babes or take a day for myself – cooking from this book could be just the food for my soul I need.
– The price point is a bit high for my budget (however the quality and artistry of the book is worth every penny).

I hope you’ll consider picking this up for the “foodie” in your life. I promise they won’t be disappointed!
I received this book from “Blogging for Books” in exchange for my honest review.

home cooked
“A recipe collection and how-to guide for preparing base ingredients that can be used to make simple, weeknight meals, while also teaching skills like building and cooking over a fire, and preserving meat and produce, written by a sustainable food expert and founder of Belcampo Meat Co.

Anya Fernald’s approach to cooking is anything but timid; rich sauces, meaty ragus, perfectly charred vegetables. And her execution is unfussy, with the singular goal of making delicious, exuberantly flavored, unpretentious food with the best ingredients. Inspired by the humble traditions of cucina povera, the frugal cooking of Italian peasants, Anya brings a forgotten pragmatism to home cooking; making use of seasonal bounty by canning and preserving fruits and vegetables, salt curing fish, simmering flavorful broths with leftover bones, and transforming tough cuts of meat into supple stews and sauces with long cooking. These building blocks become the basis for a kitchen repertoire that is inspired, thrifty, environmentally sound, and most importantly, bursting with flavor. Recipes like Red Pepper and Walnut Crema, Green Tomato and Caper Salad, Chickpea Torte, Cracked Crab with Lemon-Chile Vinaigrette, Veal Meatballs, Anise-Seed Breakfast Cookies, and Ligurian Sangria will add dimension and excitement to both weeknight meals and parties.

We all want to be better, more intuitive, more relaxed cooks—not just for the occasional dinner party, but every day. Punctuated by essays on the author’s approach to entertaining, cooking with cast-iron, and a primer on buying and cooking steak, Home Cooked is an antidote to the chef and restaurant books that leave you no roadmap for tonight’s dinner. With Home Cooked, Anya gives you the confidence, and the recipes, to love cooking again.”

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