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Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen Hardcover – March 3, 2009
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Well writing, nice pictures. Good recipes.
You will not be sorry for the purchase
I NEVER see myself making my own sourdough bread by creating natural yeast from grapes. Nor will I probably ever make homemade ricotta cheese or marshmallows. I will not can my own bread-n-butter pickles or cure my own bacon. I MIGHT make homemade pasta, chicken stock or whipped cream, though.
The vast majority of the recipes in this book are much more approachable, so don't let these examples scare you off. The breads and pastries section features recipes including lemony lemon bread, cinnamon-sugar donuts, raspberry custard tart, pizza dough and overnight cinnamon rolls. The dairy section features recipes for cheesy lasagna, cheese fondue and golden broccoli gratin. The fruit section features recipes for banana-brown sugar muffins, toasty almond-cherry turnovers, homemade lemonade and pint-sized peach cobblers. There are other great recipes throughout the book for things like BLTA sandwich, homemade orange-cream pops, roasted butternut and bacon pasta, creamy risotto and chocolate souffle.
Overall, while parts of this cookbook are a bit ambitious for me, it certainly motivates me to get back to a fresher, more natural approach at cooking. Had all the recipes been like the homemade ricotta cheese, marshmallows, and dry-cured bacon, there's no way I'd ever pick it up again. Since the vast majority of the recipes are much more approachable, I absolutely will use this as a starting point for a nice Sunday dinner or a good meal for a snowy day at home. Even though I am a busy working professional, I strive to cook more home cooked, natural foods and this book is a wonderful introduction to that goal.
If you find baking a loaf of bread to be too much of a time commitment, you need to overhall your mindset about cooking or skip this book. This book is about relationships, slowing down, and savoring the bountiful food we have available to us in season.
You will be enchanted by the photos (of which there are tons) and impressed by the fact that the author, her husband and her two children grace all the pages. You get to see them in action, cooking, engaging each other and making homemade stick to the ribs food.
I wouldn't call the recipes hyper healthful, and on the flip side I wouldn't categorize them as decadent and unhealthy. This book is all about seasonal comforts, tried and true delicious food. It spans a wide range of tastes, flavors, and food moods.
There are some rich foods, some light and fresh foods, and some strange and welcome recipes- such as marshmallows! I was sold when I saw the star shaped marshmallows bobbing around in a cup of hot chocolate.
I think the most impressive aspect of the book (and unique!) is that the author builds on each recipe. For instance when she addresses dairy products she teaches you how to make yogurt and cheese. Then she follows with recipes using the yogurt and the cheese, which of course you can always just go buy if you're pressed for time.
She continues on in each different food area giving us a homemade recipe (berry jam) that can then become an ingredient in a cookie. Or make homemade ice cream and from there make homemade orange vanilla pops. I think that's really neat. She's got us making mayo and tarter sauce, fridge pickles, sourdough starter, natural egg dyes and weaving each of these into delightful recipes and meal plans. It's just organic and natural and all laid out so beautifully.
I'm most excited about the homemade tortilla lesson. This is real usable information in a beautiful and gorgeous package- with a message: Children need us, they need to be taught, nurtured and families need to slow down, sit down and eat....together!
If you want to teach your children to cook real whole foods this is your book.
The children's plates have been cleaner since buying this book, and their willingness to try food has increased dramatically.
I heartily recommend this book, it could change the way you cook, eat and relate to your children.