Before I review Cristina Ferrare’s cookbook, Big Bowl of Love, I should make it clear that I don't do cookbook reviews. First, it would mean having to read one, and that's an exercise I've never acquired a taste for. Oh, I'll flip through one; I'll flip through one with the best of them, but I'd be lying if I told you it was anything more than to look at the photos, and skim some of the text.
So, when publishers pitch me to review the new hot cookbook, I usually decline politely, not wanting to waste their time and inventory (unless it's near the holidays and I need a couple of things to re-gift - hey, we've all been there).
This request was different for one, actually two, reasons; Todd and Diane. They are the dynamic duo behind the fabulous feast for the eyes that is White on Rice Couple. You've seen some of there amazing video work here before, and when I heard they had done all the photography for this cookbook, I couldn't say, "please send me one," fast enough. Predictably the pictures were gorgeous – technically excellent, and beautifully composed.
Then, something very odd happened. I started reading the cookbook. Not just glancing, actually reading and examining the recipes carefully. It seems as though Christina and I have very similar tastes, and it was apparent that this book was full of simple, delicious, and easy-to-make recipes that would actually come out as described and shown.
This is not always the case with celebrity chefs. I don't want to name names (like David Chang), but many times these big name books are long on style and short on performance. One read through Cristina's "Chicken Roasted to Perfection" recipe (pictured here), and I knew we were kindred spirits.
So, I'm giving this book an enthusiastic thumbs-up. It's user-friendly, has a casual, relaxed feel to it, and features a nice collection of great-sounding dishes, presented beautifully. Anyway, don't take my word for it, go and check out the book for yourself, and as always, enjoy!
Images from Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love (c) 2011 by Cristina Ferrare. Photography by Todd Porter and Diane Cu