"Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well without Spending a Lot" -- yes please! That is exactly what I need. This is the promise that Melissa D'arabian makes on the cover of her recent cookbook "Supermarket Healthy." This book came out of the desire for D'arabian to feed her family of 4 healthy without breaking the bank at all those fancy health food stores.
Something dangerous happens when you pick a cookbook to review from a small snippet of a description and a well worded sub-title. You take the chance that there is nothing in this book your family will eat. The struggle is real with 2 picky eaters in the family. And no I am not referring to the kids. Little Mr. is rather picky and I am in a high sensitivity season where 90% of what I eat sends me right into stomach aches and other delightful things that a lady does not discuss.
When I received this book from Blogging for Books I jumped to flag all the pages of things that we might be willing to try. Let me tell you there are several. I go to make the grocery list to add some of these items to the list to try out some new recipes to find out that The Mr was let go from his job. Grocery budget just went from having some buffer to barebone basics, no extras not trying nothing new. If it is not something we know we will eat, it cannot be purchased.
So I held off on reviewing thinking he might land something soon and we could try out a recipe. Well, he is still looking ...
Seeing this beautiful book sitting there I just had to re-open the pages. I happened to open to a page called "Blue Prints". These are pages that tell you how to do make xyz without giving you the actual ingredients. So you can step out of recipe box. I could used things I had and still make something newer.
So I tried out one of these blue prints and they are great! You just follow the 2 or 3 steps and you are done.
Here are some of my highly scientific and completely quirky ways that I look at cookbooks - and how "Supermarket Healthy" stands up against them.
1. Is it pretty? Do you want to open it? Do you want to hug it, love on it and treat it well?
Yes. The cover is what drew me in.
2. When you open it ... How many pages do you need to turn to find pictures? Just a few (yeah!)? Are all the pictures in the middle of the book (boo)?
When I opened the book I happened to land on a dual page recipe, but I turned the page and there was a beautiful picture of "Soba Noodles with Garlicky Clams and Fennel" smiling up at me -- not that this picky eater would ever consider putting that in my mouth.
3. Are the recipes easy to read and follow?
Now although I have yet to make one I have read several of them. Very easy! Now, I am somewhat of a natural in the kitchen. I like to be in the kitchen. I like to cook. So ... would my sister who can bake, but ask her to make more than dessert and she might have a bit of an anxiety attack, be able to make these? Definitely! There are no fancy terms or difficult directions.
4. The real test -- would we eat the majority of the recipes?
No. To be honest, I flagged things that we would try, but of the over 150 recipes I would venture to say we wouldn't even eat more than 50 of them. My mom made a good point, the author is from California and they have a different style of eating than we do here in the midwest. That shows in this cookbook.
You can tell that Melissa D'arabian really started this cookbook to take care of her family. Very few of the recipes take more than an hour from start to finish (according to prep and cook times) -- that is good for busy moms, but the recipes are fancier than I would make on just "any night".
Overall, I think this is a good cookbook and worth the investment if you are looking for healthier options while still only shopping at your local supermarket. I also think you have to be more open minded to the things you are eating and preparing for your family to really enjoy this book.
I mentioned it above, but I want to make it clear. I did receive this cookbook from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are 100% mine.