Thursday, April 19, 2012
Everyday Food... Three Versions From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living
You can love Martha, Inc.or hate her (it?) but the formula used to create the Everyday Food franchise is so very appealing. The subtitles for these three cookbooks are Great Food Fast, Fresh Flavor Fast and Light (all recipes under 500 calories).
For the most part, the recipes are flavorful, well written, beautifully photographed, with readily available ingredients. These are fast recipes, but not fast food. For me, the real test with any cookbook is: how often do I use it? These are cookbooks I go back to again and again just because of their "everydayness." To tell the truth, I rarely follow a recipe exactly, but I know folks who do, and have enjoyed using this cookbook because the recipes work well. Another bonus for those who care, nutritional information is included with all the recipes.
Great Food Fast came first, and it is divided by seasons, then by course, with soups & salads, main courses, pasta, sides and desserts in each season. It ends with an excellent section of Basics. I made the Spicy Paprika Rub from the Basics section just last week to cover a pork roast which I grilled. Delicious!
Next came Fresh Flavor Fast which broke away from the seasonal approach and is divided simply into courses, with a helpful Basics, Tips & Techniques Section. The tips in this book are not the standard run of the mill stuff... just looking through it as I was preparing this blog post, I learned how to pit an olive. The nutritional information for Fresh Flavor Fast is not with the recipes, but it is included in an addendum. A favorite recipe from this book is the "Hot Spinach Dip" which is an easy, crowd pleasing appetizer for any party and it uses fresh spinach!
The newest addition, just in time for bathing suit season is called simply Light. Each healthy recipe includes calories, nutrition breakdown and helpful intros which include "Why It's Light", "Good To Know" and "Flavor Boosters." Light goes back to the seasonal approach, dividing the recipes into season friendly chapters. To me, an advantage of this approach is that I have fewer recipes to choose from when they all look delish!
I would recommend any of these cookbooks to a friend and have purchased them as gifts. You don't have to love to cook, to love these books!