I work in publishing and receive a fair amount of swag, most of which is crap—chick lit, thrillers, stuff I won’t ever read. But today I got an unusually heavy envelope from HarperCollins, and in it was this cookbook. Wow! For once, something free that I might actually have been interested in paying money for!
On the subway ride home, I put stickies on all the recipes I wanted to try, and there were many. Then I started reading the nonrecipe portions of the book, and I’m attracted by Rubell’s approach. The premise is that breaking bread with friends is more important than blowing them away with your entertaining prowess, so the recipes are all for simple dishes that taste good but don’t keep you chained to the stove. She encourages you to be casual—ask guests to help set up and clean up, serve foods in the dishes they were prepared in, use paper towels for napkins, and don’t worry about matching dishes.
My only complaint is that the menus are rather meat-centric, which doesn’t really work for my set of friends. Most are omnivores, but the few vegetarians and vegans are not to be iignored. A lot of the side dishes sound good, though—and look it. The photography is copious and handsome. I also like the typography, though the overall design is a bit cluttered. (It’s designed by Vertigo, a firm in NYC that doesn’t seem to have a Web site.)
Anyway, I’m thinking maybe I will try to make something from the book for tomorrow’s family dinner.