"Alana Chernila takes a realistic approach to cooking with pleasure... The fact that the photography is stunning, the layout elegant, and the recipes themselves somehow modern and rustic at the same time doesn't hurt... THE TAKEAWAY: Hearty, flavorful, and occassionally healthy recipes in gorgeous packaging that will put some pleasure back in your kitchen."
Paging through Chernila’s comforting and satisfying book feels like having a cup of tea with a good friend. Equal parts narrative and recipes, her offering is as much a philosophy of life as it is a collection of dishes. She puts the reader at ease from the beginning with her brand of doable domesticity: “Homemade food is the opposite of perfection. It holds the stamp of its maker.” Chapters are organized according to a collection of phrases she has taped to her fridge. “Be a Beginner” encourages readers to try anything once, even jam-making, with a versatile master recipe that adapts to any seasonal fruit. A chapter called “Use Your Scraps” proves the endless virtue of stale bread with recipes for stuffed tomatoes, panzanella, and broccoli rabe and sausage bread pudding. “Slow Down” emphasizes the importance of finding a pocket of time each day for yourself, with recipes for cold-brew concentrate and a rhubarb snacking cake. Although Chernila strives to eat local, sustainably sourced food when she can, in a chapter entitled “Do Your Best, and Then Let Go,” she acknowledges how her family really eats: “Organicish. Locenough. Homemade when I can. Fresh. Good. Mine.” This honest and beautifully told account of one family’s way of life will inspire readers to forge an equally delicious path. (Oct.)
Massachusetts-based writer Chernila (The Homemade Pantry) approaches home cooking with a can-do attitude, and under her tutelage, tasks such as baking bread, making tofu, culturing kefir, and rolling sushi become approachable and entertaining. Her latest includes a balance of recipes for seasonal pantry staples and meals, which readers can use to prepare minimally processed foods every day of the week. Even though they're simple, these dishes are special. Queen garlic with chèvre and tomatoes, spicy pumpkin hot chocolate, platter salads, and easy coq au vin with buttermilk spaetzle are just a few of many recipes you'll reach for when you want to impress. VERDICT Never preachy or prescriptive, Chernila's most recent offering is sure to please anyone who loves unfussy, from-scratch cooking.