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Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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"Even the most celebrity-cookbook-skeptical reader will find it hard not to enjoy this tome from supermodel Chrissy Teigen. With self-deprecating wit and down-to-earth charm, Teigen posits herself as an enthusiastic home cook and passionate eater." --Publisher's Weekly
"Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings is a cookbook with realistic recipes for people who like it “spicy, salty, sticky, crunchy, juicy, oozy,” and if you have some kind of prejudice against supermodels who unabashedly love Taco Bell, there’s nothing I can do to help you. It’s fun to read, with a recipe for everyone with two eyes, a stomach, and a fork. Frito pie? A chapter called “Sh*t on toast”? Absurd sexy photo shoots with chicken wings? What’s not to love? I didn’t even mention the bulldogs yet. If there’s one thing we can all learn from Teigen, it’s not to judge a cookbook by its cover." -- Bon Appetit
“Maybe the best celebrity cookbook of all time.”-- SELF
“Cravings is a perfect cookbook… it’s a must-buy—never daunting, and filled with near-pornographic images of hearty, meaty, cheesy food that would make Gwyneth Paltrow explode. As a culmination of everything Teigen has built over the past few years, it’s brilliant.” – Jezebel
“Cravings… lives up to the hype 100 percent.”-- PopSugar
“We love this cookbook. It's full of things we actually want to eat.” -- Refinery 29
“[Cravings] is dripping with energy and enthusiasm and, most of all, joy. Do not discount the value of joy. It's far too rare in food writing, and I know professionals who could learn a thing or two about joy from Teigen.” -- Epicurious
“Teigen is notoriously funny, and her sense of humor comes through here, as does her self-awareness — she tackles the issue of credibility early and often, always presenting herself more as a cooking enthusiast than as an expert.” -- Eater
“When was the last time you laughed out loud at a cookbook? So long ago you can't remember, which is enough of a reason to give Chrissy Teigen's first book a spin. But it's the recipes that'll keep you coming back.” -- Saveur
About the Author
CHRISSY TEIGEN is known as many things--Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model, star of Instagram and Twitter, TV personality--but her real passion is food. Teigen has starred in a Cooking Channel special and the MTV show Snack-Off.
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One phrase review of this cookbook: Shockingly Fantastic
Like, shocked shocked. Stunned. Surprised. Unexpected feelings.
Ok, composing self to write actual sentences.
I fully expected to hate-read this cookbook. Sure, I enjoy a lot of Chrissy Teigen's tweets. She's that rare famous person who makes themselves extremely publicly accessible, but in an actual authentic way. Her online presence doesn't appear to be artfully constructed by a PR firm. She replies to trolls. She talks about buying giant bear stuffed animals from shopping TV. She talks about her husband in a normal, loving, supportive way. She's a reminder that yes, celebrity is another plane of existence, but, it's still a career, and she's still a human being.
I knew that she enjoyed cooking. Or, well, attempted a lot of cooking. Her twitter feed contains a lot of posts about failed attempts in the kitchen. It led me to believe Teigen tried to make a lot of food, but that it probably turned out kinda terribly most of the time. So, I selected this cookbook to review just to see what a mess it would be. This celebrity trying to be all cookbook-ey. I expected one of those books with a "If you're a super rich person like me, you can have your housekeeper make you gluten-free llama milk infused baby kangaroo burgers too" tone. I promised I would give a recipe or two a try, but that I was probably going to pass this book along to someone else for their amusement.
I. Was. Wrong.
This cookbook is awesome.
The recipes? They're GREAT. Accessible. Unique, but familiar. Delicious. Unpretentious. Tasty. Good. Yummy. Things I will make again. Dare I say, some new favorites even?
Wow. It's just so good. Five star rating worthy. A book deserving of early admission to Food52's Piglet 2017 tournament (even though it does not have the pedigree of the usual entrants).
Enough about my surprise about this book. Let's talk about the book itself and why I love it, why I think you might like it.
Most importantly: The recipes
As I do with most cookbooks where I start to see a recipe or two, or three, early in the book that I want to make. I started a list. All the recipes I want to try. Maybe not today, but someday. So, I started that list in the breakfast section. That Dutch Baby Pancake looks tasty. Crab Cakes Benedict - wow, I think I could make this. Bacon Hash Browns? Sign me up. I kept going. Soup. Salads. Noodles. Thai. Party. Vegetables. Supper (this one was hard - my parents call it supper - I don't - it'd dinner - but... I let it go). My list had 53 recipes on it. 53. The book only has 95-ish or so recipes, and I want to make over half of them. That's an incredible accomplishment.
So, how does this recipes perform in practice? Will our three-and-a-half year old eat them? Are the ingredient lists accurate? Do the steps make sense? Does this feel like a well-tested recipe?
Dutch Baby Pancake: Super easy to make. Beautifully random squiggly rise in the oven. Delicious. Six thumbs up. Kid/family-approved.
Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Ranch Dressing: An actual text I sent to my wife: "&^%$, this is a good salad". The seasoning on the chicken was fantastic. Just spicy enough to get a bunch of flavor out without passing toddler-acceptable levels. The charred corn was super tasty. The dressing. THAT dressing! The hard boiled eggs. That our toddler ate. That she had never eaten before. The combination. This was one of the best salads I have ever eaten, much less prepared (there are a lot of steps with this one, and there's a whole bunch of chopping, but it's an extremely well-written recipe). Family Favorite List addition.
Sesame Chicken Noodles: This is a really well-constructed recipe (you use the same water you boil the chicken in to cook the pasta). It's also really really really good. The sesame-based sauce for the noodles is lick your fingers tasty. The recipe says it serves 4 as a light dinner. Our 2.25 diners licked the pot clean.
Italian Sausage Meatloaf: This is a really good recipe - adding Italian Sausage to meatloaf is brilliant - but I screwed it up a little. I tried to make it on a solo parent weeknight, so I rushed a little and didn't mix it up as fully as I should have which led to some mushy breadcrumb only sections. It also needed more time in the oven than the recipe's "about 1 hour" step. That seems to be common with my latest meatloaf cookery though, so it's not a fault of Chrissy's. My minor related suggestion here though would be to add a "cook to XXX degrees" step. Overall, this turned out great tasting and I would make it again. On a weekend. When I can give it the proper attention.
Skillet-charred Fish Tacos: Five stars. These were just phenomenal. The spice rub for the tilapia was great. The toddler loved the fish. Kelley loved the tacos. I loved the tacos. I ate fish taco leftovers the next day. We'll make this again. Probably soon.
Literally Stovetop Pork Chops: We don't usually bread our pork chops. I've certainly never thought, "Hey, maybe let's get some Stovetop Stuffing mix and bread our pork chops with that." But, that's what this recipe calls for. And, well, I mean, broken record here, but, it's delicious. It's so good that when I asked our daughter a week later what she wanted for dinner, she said, "Hmmm.... Pork Chops!"
Pad Grapow Chicken (Basil Chicken): This recipe is from the tiny "Thai Mom" section of the cookbook and it makes me kinda hope for a future Thai Mom specific book. I'm a big fan of Thai food. Kelley is a big fan of Thai food. Our daughter doesn't know a lot about specific International cuisines yet. This recipe was soooooo good. I want to make it again with basil fresh from the garden, because it was delicious with store bought stuff, but I think it would be heavenly with some leaves pulled fresh from the stalk.
Buttery Glazed Green Beans: On to a vegetable. A side dish. A simple combination of sugar and water and green beans and butter. Easy recipe, great, slightly crispy green beans.
Warm Corn Salad: This is actually a component of the Seared Scallops recipe that I wanted to make, but couldn't find the right scallops for, so we pivoted and had Sole instead. But, I still make the corn salad. And I'm glad I did. In fact, even my not-really-that-big-of-a-fan-of-corn spouse said, "This salad is really good, I like how this corn is made." So, yeah, approved.
A couple of other review points.
The organization of the book is nice. I like having the breakfast vs salad vs noodles vs dinner type sections. I do think she got a little too cutesy with the "@*#$& on Toast" and "Stuff that Seems Complicated But Isn't" sections. I get it, I just don't think it was needed.
The recipe introductions are right in line with the tone of Chrissy Teigen. A little snarky, a little heartfelt, a lot personal. I like hearing about the background of the recipes. The stuff that reminds her of her mom, or her dad, or that thing that John Legend made that everyone loves. I also like the humor. But. In small doses. If you love love love all of of Chrissy Teigen's tweets, then by all means, sit down and read this cookbook cover-to-cover. You'll love it. On the other hand, if you just like her sense of humor, I might recommend reading the book in small portions. I find that for me, a small dose of Teigen goes a long way. In no way does this detract from the greatness of the food you will make based on this book, but just be forewarned.
Overall, I really really like this cookbook. At first I thought it was just because it exceeded my expectations so greatly, but after further analysis, I think it's because it contains really delicious recipes, the recipes themselves are very well-written, and it's obvious that the recipes have been well-tested. I could cook exclusively from this book for a month and we'd be happy family.
You should definitely buy this book if you're a huge fan of Chrissy Teigen. But, surprisingly, you should also buy this book if you simply love good food.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Since purchasing I have cooked the following recipes:
-Capon's Chrissy Burger
-John's Crispy Roasted Potatoes
-Chinese Chicken Salad
-Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
-Sweet Chili & Mustard Glazed Salmon
-Thai Pounded Papaya Salad
-Grilled Garlic Soy Shrimp
-Chicken Lettuce Wraps (served over rice)
-Pad Grapow Chicken (Basil Chicken)
-Roasted Cauliflower, Orzo & Feta Salad
-Sriracha Caesar Salad (with added chicken)
-Chipotle Honey Chicken
All but one were really good! The method of roasting the potatoes made them much crispier than usual. I would make everything again except the glazed salmon. The method of cooking didn't turn out well, and I wasn't crazy about the sauce. I made the papaya salad with spiralized cucumber (as a suggestion in the recipe intro) and it was good, but I would probably leave the fish sauce out as it was too strong for me. But the Cacio e Pepe--SO GOOD!! I would make this everyday. The sriracha Caesar was really thick--I wonder if subbing a few tablespoons of buttermilk for some mayo would help. Still good! But the little garlic toasts were too salty. Less salt next time