Review: Food52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

9781607747970A rough recap of my first 5 minutes with Food52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore:

  • “Oooh, that cover looks classy. Can I have some pasta?”
  • The main categories listed in the index (Breakfast, Snacks & Drinks, Soups & Salads, Meaty Mains, Meatless Mains, Vegetables, Desserts) are clear, concise, and yet, inviting.
  • “Look at all those famous food people names”
  • Fried Eggs with Wine Vinegar: I want to try these
  • Chocolate Muscovado Banana Cake: Yum!
  • Touch of Grace Biscuits: Meh… (turns page) Oh, those look good with the jam.
  • English Porridge: I’d eat this oatmeal
  • Roasted Applesauce: I need to remember to open this book up in September
  • Olive Oil & Maple Granola: This looks like a perfect homemade granola recipe to play with

This goes on and on. Basically, every photo made me hungry. Better yet, every recipe made getting to that deliciousness seem really straightforward. Not always easy, but something I could do.

And that, I think, is the true “genius” of this compendium. 100 recipes – from applesauce to Brisket of Beef, from a Kale Panini to Ratatouille, from Pumpkin Pie to Purple Plum Torte – that are fit for family dinner or a foodie dinner party. Even better, these aren’t new takes on the classics, or unnecessarily enhanced recipes to fill a celebrity’s cookbook. Instead, they are tried and tested recipes from the Food52 community. That includes not only beloved recipes from well-known chefs, but also recipes from the homes of members of the Food52 user base, regular folk who happened to perfect a recipe and share it with the world.

Overall, I enjoy this cookbook’s strategy of collecting recipes from many sources and organizing them in one place. Limiting the quantity to around 100 was a smart idea as well – this doesn’t have the encyclopedic breadth of a “How to Cook Everything” – this is a book I will go to when looking for an idea.

Finally, I want to throw my response into the mix regarding the most common complaint I’ve seen about this book: “you can find almost all of these recipes online already – right there on the Food52.com!” Yes, this is true. However, while I can go to the Food52 website and search for Green Lentil Salad, and ultimately find Patricia Wells’ version as featured in the book, it is one of 50 recipes matching my search, and I have to know that I want to have a salad with lentils in it. On the other hand, if I was hungry for a meatless dinner, that would be relatively quick to prepare, but I needed some inspiration? Well, leafing through the pages of Genius Recipes would very potentially get me craving this salad. So, to that detraction, I would say, if you are only interested in a cookbook containing brand new recipes, pass this one by.

If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to have Food52 Genius Recipes in your collection, as a companion to the website, and as an inspirational resource.

For more info about this book, be sure to check out the official page at Penguin Random House.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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