A collection of basic recipes to guarantee a full belly and an empty plate.



Bestselling cookbook author Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels—A Love Story, 2011, etc.) returns with another compilation of mouthwatering recipes.

The recipes are designed to “win friends, influence people, garner marriage proposals, foster friendships, mend fences, and make you the most popular person in town”—or to fill the comfort-food needs of the non–weight-watching crowd. The average cook will have no trouble duplicating these easy-to-follow recipes. Drummond’s step-by-step instructions are illustrated with photographs at each stage in the recipe, leading readers from beginning to end. Covering all types of meals from breakfast, lunch and supper to party foods, beverages and desserts, many recipes are similar to what our mothers might have cooked before recipes became more health and calorie conscious. Familiar dishes such as ranch-style chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches and fancy macaroni and cheese will appeal to the reader’s desire to cook hearty foods with a modicum of expertise, time and money being spent in the process. Drummond makes exotic-sounding dishes such as “Italian Meatball Soup,” “Caprese Salad” and “Honey-Plum-Soy Chicken” as simple as frying an egg for breakfast. Interspersed with the recipes are more photographs of the author’s life on her ranch. Some readers may delight in Drummond’s down-home way of speaking directly to the reader, while others may find the interaction a bit snarky and annoying.

A collection of basic recipes to guarantee a full belly and an empty plate.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199718-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012



Wilson’s debut cookbook carries the same exuberant, humorous tone as her popular blog, coupled with beautiful photographs of her one-of-a-kind recipes.

As a celebration of butter and sugar, this cookbook is not for the faint of stomach or high of cholesterol. Recipes feature peanut butter and bacon cookies, avocado fries, strawberry cookie dough ice cream and coffee bacon. Displaying easy-to-follow recipes, Wilson believes that “(b)aking isn’t about high-tech gizmos. It’s about stepping into your kitchen with a monster sweet tooth and coaxing something beautiful out of the oven.” With an upbeat, quirky tone, the author comes across as the perfect friend with whom to spend an afternoon baking cookies. But with quirkiness comes occasional disorganization, and the chapter contents seem a bit random at times. Wilson also includes important extra information about the recipes, including how long they will keep, what texture to strive for and when to let imperfections pass. In a chapter of kitchen tips, the author provides advice about whether you really need to sift that flour, what size eggs to use and why, and how to get the most out of fruit zest. Wilson offers surprising but delicious combinations: parmesan seaweed popcorn, peanut butter and jam milkshakes, vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes, chocolate black pepper goat cheese truffles, and sweet potato chocolate chip cookies. You have to love a cookbook that features an incredible one-person chocolate lava cake that is easy to make and dubbed the “single girl melty chocolate cake.” A joyful, entertaining cookbook.  


Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4013-1060-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011



The icons of hip vegan cuisine tackle the heavyweight champ of American dessert: pie.

Moskowitz and Romero (Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, 2009, etc.) are the force behind the fantastic vegan website The Post Punk Kitchen (theppk.com); among their long list of credits, the authors have reinvented both the cupcake and cookie formats for vegan bakers. Here, bursting with an “anyone-can-do-this” approach and a defiant “non-vegans-won’t-be-able-to-tell-the-difference” attitude, they provide dozens of recipes for classic fruit pies, cobblers, crisps and cheesecakes. Vegan cooks can look forward to whipping up a pear and cranberry galette that will even have their carnivorous relatives scarfing down a second slice at the next family gathering. Before getting started, the authors concisely cover all the basics, from ingredients to equipment, in the aptly titled chapter “How to Create the Universe or Bake a Pie from Scratch.” All the ingredients used are now easily available at most health-food stores or your local Whole Foods. And don’t miss the recipes for vegan toppings like “Rad Whip,” a vegan version of Cool Whip that will please even the staunchest dairy advocates. More than just a niche guide, this mouthwatering collection of desserts will satisfy even the most reluctant reader.


Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7382-1274-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

A straightforward approach to providing healthy meals at home.



A basic cookbook for the novice cook.

With the premise that children can be fussy eaters and that working parents can often be too harried to think of cooking a healthy meal, Workman, founding editor-in-chief of cookstr.com, provides readers with simple recipes to cover all meals. The recipes are basic and their equivalents are easily found in other cookbooks, but the author provides readers with a go-to book for those who “need a simple mom-and-family-friendly recipe, and don’t have the time or energy to sift through dozens of sources.” Workman has the solution at hand for those who don’t know how to make scrambled eggs or granola for breakfast or tacos for supper, or who need a quick brownie recipe instead of reaching for a box mix. “[W]e need to figure out how to capture some joy in the kitchen, because guess what? We get to make dinner just about every night!” With this in mind, Workman’s recipes are mostly comfort foods like spaghetti and tomato sauce or macaroni and cheese. Other dishes include fish, chicken, baked vegetables and salads. The author also adds useful sections to bring the kids into the kitchen, as well as tips on making parts of the recipes in advance, and how to divide a dish: part for the kids, part for adults with a more sophisticated palate. For parents who are too tired or stressed to even think of cooking a meal, this book provides simple solutions to the everyday question of what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

A straightforward approach to providing healthy meals at home.

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7611-6603-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012



McCosker and Bermingham (4 Ingredients: More than 400 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Recipes Using 4 or Fewer Ingredients, 2011, etc.) apply their four-ingredient recipe format to gluten-free cooking.

These are not gourmet meals, but quick, easy-to-assemble recipes for everything from dips to desserts. The four-ingredient recipes often rely on shortcuts using processed foods, mixes and prepared sauces, but experienced cooks can improve on these recipes with a few more ingredients and creative spices. While the book is pitched to mothers and families, it will also serve the busy single person or empty nester. The authors begin with sections on food to avoid for gluten sensitivity, how to stock your cupboard and healthy food substitutions. The 400 recipes that follow are broken down by meals, and the recipes are simple but appetizing: lamb, rosemary and chorizo skewers; Tandoori salmon; peas with mint and garlic butter. Each recipe includes the serving size, the four (or fewer) ingredients and quick instructions. There are no photographs. The authors also include gluten-free recipes for children (BBQ chicken pizza, potato bake), lunch-box ideas and baby-food recipes. The back of the book is an odd mix of household tips (how to fix scratched CDs and keep hair dye from staining your skin), an excerpt of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” and a good discussion of cooking oils and herbs. This book is not a go-to reference on gluten-free cooking, but it offers a list of websites and a bibliography of resources and gluten-free cookbooks. A basic cookbook that works for busy gluten-free families or those who are just embarking on a gluten-free diet.  


Pub Date: March 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-3571-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

An endearing twist on the super-chef cookbook, geared toward creative home cooks who want to explore new tastes.



Rediscover the joy in home cooking along with star chef Vongerichten (Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges, 2007, etc.).

To celebrate his 50th, chef and restaurateur Vongerichten gave himself weekends off to spend at his country house. During that time, he rediscovered the pleasures of cooking at home—something he hadn’t done in years. Far from the high-concept French-Asian fusion for which he is known, this collection focuses on meals that can be easily prepared in any home kitchen. It’s not about impressing guests or finding quick shortcuts to get dinner on the table; it’s a celebration of cooking family meals. Vongerichten writes of the importance of quality ingredients, shares information about his vendors and advocates shopping at local markets for seasonal produce. He includes photographs of his family and anecdotes about their favorite recipes, including his wife’s deliciously rich Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Readers can share Vongerichten’s pleasure in creating new flavor combinations for everyday meals. His Fiery Grilled Shrimp with Honeydew Gazpacho is simple yet intriguing, mixing chilies with mint and sweet melon for a cooling summer lunch. Snacks like Rosemary Popcorn and cocktails like Ginger Margaritas round out this cookbook, giving readers a picture of daily life in the country, Vongerichten-style. 

An endearing twist on the super-chef cookbook, geared toward creative home cooks who want to explore new tastes.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0307717955

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011



Batali (Molto Gusto, 2010, etc.) offers a collection of recipes focusing on simple, delicious, seasonal food. 

The author presents 12 exquisite meals in traditional Italian style: a soup, two pasta dishes, a main, four vegetable dishes and a dessert, with each meal intended to feed 8-12 people. “This represents the way I think we should eat with less reliance on proteins at the center of the plate and much more emphasis on a bigger variety of vegetable and grain courses at the table in our daily diet,” writes the author. Despite his best intentions, however, Batali readily admits that readers will unlikely prepare all the components of the meals he outlines; however, the possibilities for mixing and matching individual dishes are endless. His pleasantly conversational prefaces to each set of dishes, paired with the gorgeous full-color photography of Quentin Bacon, highlight the purity of his ingredients and the simplicity of Italian cuisine. Standout recipes include: Green Garlic Soup; Bucatini with Crayfish, Jalapenos and Basil; Porcini-Rubbed Prime Rib Eye; Wilted Arugula with Pine Nuts and Lemon; and Brown Sugar, Almond and Sour Cherry Torta di Uova. A quarter of the profits from the sale of the book will benefit the Mario Batali Foundation, whose mission is to provide hunger relief and nutrition education to children. Exciting recipes and meal-planning advice from an institution of classic Italian fare.


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0062095565

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

This could have been a fine book if the author’s writing matched his energy.



From July to October 2011, Horan (Seeds, 2011, etc.) traveled to 10 owner-operated farms to take part in the harvesting of their crops; this is his flawed but enthusiastic and highly detailed report of that experience.

Though he began his travels around the United States expecting the worst, the author found reason for optimism about the future in the farmers he met. In his view, they are a source of pride and democracy, and he genuinely admires their strength of character and work ethic. During his trip, Horan helped harvest wheat in Kansas, cranberries and vegetables in Massachusetts, potatoes in Maine, raspberries and Brussels sprouts in Ohio, blueberries in New York and walnuts and grapes in California. The author provides in-depth descriptions of each farm’s layout and furnishings, the meals he was served, the bed he was given, the hired help and all the family members. Best of all, he describes each crop’s harvesting process. Readers interested in knowing how cranberries are pulled from bogs or what it takes to turn wild rice into an edible grain will find the answers here. Horan’s love for imparting information leads him to include a host of footnotes, only some of which are relevant. By the end, readers, whom he addresses directly from time to time, may know as much about Horan as about harvesting. He reveals himself as a man of firm opinions, and he leaves the readers in no doubt about where he stands on various environmental, economic, social and political issues. Unfortunately, he also has a solid command of clichés.

This could have been a fine book if the author’s writing matched his energy.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-209031-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

A slim but tasty addition to the long list of Jefferson’s accomplishments.



Craughwell (30 Days with the Irish Mystics, 2012, etc.) chronicles Jefferson’s obsession with all things agricultural.

When Jefferson was appointed as minister to France, he took along his slave, James Hemings, with the intention of having him trained by the best French chefs. He promised Hemings that when they returned to Virginia and he had trained a successor, he would be freed. France did not recognize slavery within its borders and James could have sued for his freedom, but he chose to stay with Jefferson and complete his training. Jefferson used his new chef to host storied dinners in Paris, successfully negotiating political and economic agreements as his guests dined. With only two servants, Jefferson set out from Paris in 1787 to explore the bounty of France. Nearly four months later, he returned with cases of wine, fruit tree saplings, seeds for unusual vegetables and rice smuggled from Lombardy in northern Italy. Instead of the promised freedom, Jefferson retained Hemings as chef during his term as secretary of state. We can thank Jefferson for not only the appreciation Americans developed for champagne, but also the techniques and dishes that Hemings introduced to his guests. Pasta, sauces, fried potatoes and even macaroni and cheese were served along with new types and strains of vegetables America had never seen. Craughwell provides a delightful tour of 18th-century vineyards still in production, a look at French aristocrats just before the Revolution and the France that paid little attention to the color of a man’s skin.

A slim but tasty addition to the long list of Jefferson’s accomplishments.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59474-578-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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