Reviewed by Katy Killilea
When Cookie magazine folded, I didn’t mind the loss of the mother/toddler fashion spread. But the loss of Cookie‘s excellent cooking columns was a blow. They were perfect! Fantastic! Realistic, delicious, and they utilized just the right combination of nice ingredients and ordinary cupboard crud. So hooray for this cookbook from the Cookie people! Co-authors Pilar Guzman, Jenny Rosenstrach, and Alanna Stang created this book while Cookie was still going strong. As such, it has the same feel as the magazine’s food writing–not just recipes, but smart recipes that take typical family challenges (picky eaters, exhausted parents) into account. Recipes here use top-notch ingredients that with small, sincere efforts become, no doubt about it, a genuine family dinner.
Favorites from the magazine are all here (meatball grinders baked in a muffin pan, sesame noodles with doctor-up-your-own-bowl options), and lots of new ideas are included as well: How to season a salmon fillet with a juice box; using a cedar grill plank indoors; making sushi in an ice-cube mold. Pushing this over the top of workaday fabulousness are photography and design that suck you right in. You can practically feel that bubbling, crisp pizza burn the roof of your mouth.
Chapter headings tell it like it is: If I Could Just Make it to Wednesday; I Want Something Simple, Fast, and Hard to Screw Up; and I Want to Use What I Already Have are just three of the chapters that have me convinced: This book will save my life. It’s all here: Definitely gonna-make it recipes (even a handful dedicated to replicating your child’s restaurant favorites); info on feeding a small person her very first bites; and sage words of wisdom: If there’s food on the table and everyone is eating it, call it dinner.
Time For Dinner
By Pilar Guzman, Jenny Rosenstrach, and Alanna Stang
$25 Chronicle Books