Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Review: Giada's Family Dinners.

Yesterday I received a Zooba package in the mail. Yippee! I ripped it open to find a glossy new copy of Giada De Laurentiis latest cookbook, Family Dinners. I was elated. If you've been following this blog for a while, you will remember my constant swooning over recipes from her first book- Everyday Italian. It's still one of my favorites. Simple Italian food that is unpretentious. So I was beyond anxious for her new one. So I set the book aside, promising myself that after my workout, I would allow myself to indulge. I grudgingly did my workout, and then rushed to the kitchen to grab my book and a glass of water before heading to the back porch to slowly savor in the sunshine.

I was not disappointed. Nearly every page turn had me making a mental checklist as far as when this recipe will be tryed out. There are a few recipes that seem to be a little more time committal, but the end results certainly appear worth it. Every other page has a gorgeous color photo of the completed dish. It really is a beautiful cookbook. I do have two bones to pick with this cookbook however.

The first bone is for timing. While there is a chapter devoted to grilling, a vast majority of the recipes in this book are family dishes, comfort foods. Pasta dishes and casseroles and slow cooked meats hardly scream warm weather to me. Most of the dishes in this book are screaming to be made...in October when the weather has us reaching for the comfort of a warm gooey baked ziti. I am trying to figure out the reasoning for an April release for this book. I will certainly be trying a recipe or two before cooler weather, but unfortunately, most will likely wait until the comfort season arrives once more.

My second bone to pick with this cookbook is that almost all of these recipes can also be found on FoodTV's website. As I was reading through the book, most of the recipes I could see her making- I've seen her dive in and take a bite of that big beautiful timbale before. Now for someone like me, who loves cookbooks, I would rather have them hardbound and in my possesion than online where I can look at them. But for someone who is maybe a little more discretionary with their cookbook purchases, this may not be the book for you.

Overall, I am thrilled with her new book. Caveats aside, I intend this cookbook to get plenty of use in my kitchen. My advice to others who may be considering this book is to wait a few weeks until the price goes down a little bit. It's definitely a must-have for my kitchen, but it's not so much an urgent must-have.


purplecupcake said...

Oh, how I want that book. However, it wasn't too long ago that I bought her first book and have yet to make something from it. I will, trust me, I will. Probably by next week. Until then, I'm holding off buying her second book. I saw it at the bookstore and read thru it and yup, you're right, most recipes are on the foodnetwork site. It's not a problem for me because at least I have her collection all in the palm of my hands...lol
I love Giada and hope you make and post some of her recipes...Any suggestions from her first book?

Erika said...

Oh gosh, there are so many...off the top of my head, some standouts are Lemon Spaghetti, Chicken Parmesan, Caponata, Both the Basic Marinara and the Bolognese- with the polenta to go with it. Oh, and her turkey meatballs are very good, as is her Manicotti... I really could go on.

I like your blog btw- when I have more time I'll have to drop by for a closer look!