When I first moved out on my own, I lived on a diet of Mr. Noodles, rice and chocolate bars. That lasted a year, until I convinced myself I did want to live past the age of 30 and taught myself how to make a couscous salad. Calculated out correctly, I could manage to buy all the ingredients for less than $30 and make a gigantic batch that would last most of the week and use the remaining money to buy the real deal: books.
When Jay and I moved in together, I feared for our health. He had hardly cooked at all, and I couldn’t make anything elaborate to save my life. Once, when I was younger, I watched a Rachel Ray show and convinced myself that I could make a delicious pasta dish for my family. I spent a crap ton of money on the fancy cheeses that were called for. When I put the dish in front of my family, I smiled proudly at its glorious appearance, then watched as everyone dug in. Expressions betrayed them and I knew I had messed something up. It was tasteless. A few years later, Jay and I decided to make an Indian dish together for one of our anniversaries. I pulled my mini table into the middle of the room, dressed myself up and got ready for our date. We each took a few polite bites before admitting defeat and ordering pizza.
All this to say, if I can do it, so can you!
I began collecting cookbooks a few years ago; passing judgement almost immediately after my first recipe. My two go-to’s have always been Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen and the Martha Stewart Meatless cookbook. But now, another has joined their ranks. Based on the very popular and beautiful blog, Love & Lemons, The Love & Lemons Cookbook is my new favourite kitchen tool.
I love so much about the book, but the most important things are as follows:
- There are helpful images. There are some step-by-step photos, and always pictures of the finished dish, which I need to make sure I did everything right! Also, I love that though the cookbook is by a husband/wife duo, it is not filled with pictures of them looking cute and cuddly in the kitchen. I know Gwyneth and Ella are pretty people, but I don’t care about what they look like in the kitchen. I’d like to see the food, please and thank you.
- These are combinations I wouldn’t think of by myself! I hate seeing all the healthy cookbooks that have pages dedicated to “Green Beans w/ Lemon” followed by a cute picture of the cook sprinkling lemon on green beans, with the recipe beneath: “Sauté your green beans, sprinkle with lemon, enjoy!” How much did I pay for this?
- It is flavourful! I made the Cauliflower, Chickpea and Coconut Fried Rice and holy smokes, it was delicious! Everything I have made so far (5 recipes) has been absolutely delicious, different and have been good portions – enough to save for lunch tomorrow!
- The basics section! The end has a great section where you can learn the basics to smoothies, guacamole, salsa, hummus, but then also all the fun add-ins to make it special. I love being able to reference this whenever I want a little twist on a classic treat.
- The commentary is great. I don’t often read the cookbook commentary, but this one has playful, fun stories and actual helpful information. Jeanine & Jack genuinely love food and it shines through every page.
I’ve used this cookbook every few days since I bought it a few weeks ago, and compare notes with a coworker who is also working his way through it with his girlfriend. I love knowing I am eating flavourful, healthy meals and learning to be a better home cook in the process.
I highly suggest checking out the blog and if you like the looks of it, totally pick the book up for yourself. I foresee many more spice-stained pages in my future!