As an avid cookbook collector I can often find myself identifying with the author. After all, even if the cookbook is full of dishes I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) cook for religious, dietary or various ick factors, I still buy the book because something appeals to me. I feel like Carine Goren is a long-lost sister, can so get into the geekiness of Alton Brown, and I want to be Nigella Lawson when I grow up. So when the nice people at Feldheim Publishers asked if I would review a book called Quick & Kosher: Meals in Mintues I thought, hey, that’s me!
Well, it’s not.
This is the second book by Jamie Geller. Her first book, Quick & Kosher: From the Bride Who Knew Nothing, would never have been a book I would buy. When I got married (the first time) I was a twenty year old bride who knew everything. At least, I thought I did. I certainly did know my way around the kitchen (thanks, Ma). I was putting meals on the table even in my single days. I even helped cook for my own sheva brachot, hosted by The X’s clueless single friends.
Jamie Geller, on the other hand, claims that when she first got married she prayed under the chuppah,
“that even though I had never cooked anything in my life, somehow I would be transformed into a savvy balabusta.”
This second book comes five years and four children later, where Jamie once again has to learn how to put dinner on the table, once more
“magically cook up something impressive, despite the fact that the kids are clutching your skirt, scraps of lunch are still on the table and chocolate syrup is dripping from the counter onto the floor.”
There’s just no way I can identify with Jamie, this book is so not for me.
Well, it is.
First, this is a big book! Big, burgeoning with recipes, and beautiful! Kudos to the food stylists and photographers, who elevate this from cookbook to food porn strata.
Almost every single recipe is one I would want to try. Almost, I said. Remember, there’s still the ick factor I was talking about earlier. So while each recipe is kosher, and takes either 20, 40 or 60 minutes to make, you won’t find me rolling up my sleeves to make Chicken Fiesta (there’s a mango in there, a WHOLE mango), or Lamb Meatballs in Pita. The dreaded lamb has an avocado relish, a double ick factor for me.
But there are so many other recipes I would want to try, among them:
- Red Leaf Lettuce with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
- Greek Style Chicken with Lemon and Dill
- Thai Chicken Soup
- Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Basil
- Cranberry Walnut Salmon on a Bed of Spinach
- Carrot Cupcakes
And not only are there interesting recipes in here, Jamie has them in menu format, so if you are really going headless chicken on the way home from work or gymboree, or, like me, are having a series of brain farts (I did not just say that, did I?) and can’t think of what to serve with what, Jamie has solved your problem for you down to the bottle of wine.
So my lesson learned here? Never judge a book by its publicity. Jamie writes,
“…unless you join the circus, nobody teaches you how to juggle…”
Jamie will get you there if you give her half a chance.
Are you a fan of Ready Steady Cook? Or maybe 30 Minute Meals? I used to watch these shows all the time but always had issues with the fact that a lot of unkosher ingredients were used and I had to improvise. Now Jamie Geller does all that work for you, and has written a cookbook on how to get supper (or lunch, or Shabbat) on the table in 20, 40 or 60 minutes. She’ll even tell you what wine goes with the meal.
I’ll be reviewing this book early next week, after I’ve had a chance to go through the huge amount of possibilities inside. In the meantime, I’ve got a copy to give away to a very lucky Miriyummy reader. All you have to do is just comment on this post that you want your name put into the hat (or the Tupperware bowl, which is what I used in the last contest).
I’ve been looking through this book, there’s some really cool stuff in here. This week I’m going to try the Mexican Burgers with Flour Tortillas and the Bowties with Salmon and Peas in Lemon Dill Sauce. I guess I can start my diet next week… I seem to be saying that all the time now.
So don’t forget to leave a comment; I draw the names out of the Tupperware bowl on Thursday evening, November 4th. Good luck!