Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Milk Bar Life" Cookbook Review

I actually passed on reviewing this book for a few weeks.  I review a lot of cookbooks and so I was a little "cookbooked out."  Then I saw David Chang (chef and founder of Momofuku) on the Tonight Show and he talked about Christina Tosi (the author of Momofuku Milk Mar and Milk Bar Life) and her absolute brilliance.  After that, I decided to give this cookbook a look-see.  And let me just tell you, I was SO WRONG to pass on this one for so long!!!  I haven't loved a cookbook as much as this one in a long time!!!

So what was it that made me fall head-over-heels in love with this cookbook?  In one word: ORIGINALITY.  This book is an original!  I can't remember the last time I picked up a cookbook and thought, "Wow!  This is brilliant!"  From the pictures, to the recipes, to the humorous stories, this book stands out!  To begin with, the pictures are great!  Christina includes fabulous photos of her food, but she also includes pictures or her and her friends and family making food and eating it.  These pictures of real life really draw you in.

Even the Contents page is an original!   Instead of the usual "main dishes," "appetizers" "desserts" divisions, she's divided this book into such genius sections as "Hand-Me-Downs" (recipes passed down from her family) and "Weak Nights" (recipes to make when you literally have no time and not much in the pantry).

I loved these sections!  At the beginning of each one, Christina gives you a quick - and usually humorous - explanation as to why she's included that section and what types of recipes make it up.  Then each recipe has its own little explanation of where it came from, who she adapted it from, or how she created it.  I loved reading about her obsession with seven-layer salad recipes, and her friend Francisco's rice and beans. I loved reading about how they have "family meal" at the bakery and how everyone takes turns making wonderful dishes.  And I laughed out loud when I read about her Spaghettio Sammies!

What really impressed me about this cookbook was its honesty.  I often think of chefs coming home from a long day of cooking or baking for others and whipping up an incredible, gourmet meal for themselves.  But Christina is honest and truthful in her book.  There are times when she cooks up something "chic" - like Lime, Yogurt, and Olive Oil Cake.  But there are also times when she comes home exhausted and throws some Tang drink mix on a slice of toast with margarine.  (That's right folks, there's a recipe for Tang Toast in this book!)  I love that she wasn't afraid to share these crazy concoctions!

If you want a great cookbook full of fun and creative recipes - a cookbook that's also a great read - this is the one for you!

I received a copy of this book, free of charge, from Blogging For Books, in exchange for my honest review.

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