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Cook the Book Series

I'm excited to kick off a fun new cooking series on 'Sage & Serendipity'! Each Wednesday I'll be "cooking the book" and posting a new recipe from a particular cookbook. Part review and part recipe, each post will help shine light on the strengths/weaknesses of the cookbook, as well as assess the functionality of having it on your bookshelf. The series will run for eight to ten weeks, or long enough to pull together a good variety from the recipes. 

I'm cheating a bit as my first cookbook pick is one I've owned and cooked with for a few years; "My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness" by Gwyneth Paltrow. 

From Amazon:

"The Academy-Award winning actress and avid foodie shares a sumptuous collection of recipes and gorgeous photographs celebrating the joy of preparing food for loved ones, a passion she learned from her beloved father. 

As an actress, author, trendsetter, creator of goop.com, and host of the popular PBS series, Spain: On the Road Again, Gwyneth Paltrow is an icon of style and good taste around the world. As a young girl eating and cooking with her father, Bruce Paltrow, she developed a passion for food that has shaped how she lives today and strengthened her belief that time with family is a priority. Now in My Father's Daughter, Paltrow shares her favorite family recipes along with personal stories of growing up with her father, Bruce Paltrow. She discusses how he has influenced her in the food she loves, how she involves her kids in cooking, and how she balances healthy food with homemade treats. And, for the first time, Paltrow offers a glimpse into her life as daughter, mother and wife, sharing her thoughts on the importance of family and togetherness. 

Complete with 150 delicious ideas for breakfast, sandwiches and burgers, soups, salads, main dishes, sides, and desserts, this beautifully illustrated book includes full-color photos throughout, many featuring Paltrow at home with her family and friends. My Father's Daughter is a luscious collection that will inspire readers to cook great food with the people who mean the most to them."

Overview: “My Father’s Daughter” is to me the perfect size for a cookbook. It isn’t overwhelming (150 recipes; 272 pages) and it has a nice range of recipes. The recipe sections are:

Soups

Salads

Burgers & Sandwiches

Pastas

Main Courses

Side Dishes

Breakfast

Desserts

Overall Gwen has her eye on health which is something very important to me. It’s nice to be able to rely on her recipes to be well balanced and good for you!

Layout: After the standard introduction, Gwen takes a few pages to lay out her pantry basics. This is a feature of cookbooks that I like, because it will indicate to the reader what common ingredients will show up throughout the recipes.

This definitely is a good starting point for getting familiar with some of the things that will be listed in the book. Before reading this cookbook I hadn’t heard of certain ingredients, or they weren't common items I kept in my pantry. Along with these essential food items, Gwen presents a handy chart that shows common ingredient substitutions, along with the health benefits of sticking with her original suggestions.

Content: While some of the recipes are a bit common (i.e. lemon spaghetti) I feel that overall this book presents delicious and attainable cooking for individuals. As I previously mentioned, there is a nice range of recipes in this book. From a simple breakfast frittata to a fancy duck ragu, there are options for whatever kind of meal you are looking to prepare. 

Recipe Presentation: I love the font and page layout of the recipes. For the most part, Gwen’s recipes do not require a huge amount of ingredients. On several recipes there are multiple variations offered. I love the thought process that reading these recipes kicks off; my philosophy with cooking is to not be too attached to a recipe. I always love tweaking recipes and playing around with the ingredients based on what's in season (or what ingredients I have in my kitchen). 

A fair share but not all of the recipes include pictures. I’m fine with this (more pictures would mean more pages), however I am more visual and enjoy having an image to compare to while I am cooking something new.


Stay tuned next Wednesday for the first "CTB" post which will cover a recipe I make from "My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness" by Gwyneth Paltrow!