When I open a cookbook, I usually have some sort of intent, a hungry ambition so to speak. I’m either looking for a very speciﬁc recipe or at least a speciﬁc course (ok, let’s be honest, I’m usually looking for the three magic c’s: cookies, cakes and candy). I decided to go a diﬀerent route with Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs’ The Food 52 Cookbook. This time, I decided to let the cookbook guide me. This is the second volume from Food 52 (a collaborative online cooking community) team and the book’s theme is “seasonal recipes from our kitchens to yours.” The book is a compilation of recipes from home cooks—the every day kitchen crusaders. What better inspiration than my fellow home cooks?
My absolute favorite feature of this cookbook is that it is segmented by season. Fruits and veggies are their best when they’re local and fresh so of course they make the best recipes! I am lucky enough to have a winter farmer’s market that recently had beautiful butternut squash so I snagged one, conﬁdent that there would be a delicious recipe in The Food 52 Cookbook. After many mouth watering perusals through the book, I landed on Caramelized
The recipe was simple, straightforward and for the very ﬁrst time in my entire life…wait for it…my ﬁnal product looked like it did on the cover of the cookbook! How cool is that? The ﬂavors were a perfect combination of sweet, spicy, salty and nutty; everything I could ever want in a squash recipe. Not to toot my own horn but really, I was very impressive. I can’t take all the credit though; the recipe came from Melissa V. a fellow home cook, lawyer, and member of The Food 52 community. As with all of the recipes in the book, it opens with a “who, what, how, and why we love it” about the home cook and their recipe. This fun little introduction makes the food feel familiar and it reminds you that someone else has stood in their own home, clumsily peeling a butternut squash, sniﬃng the sage leaves and sneakily stealing a taste of the ﬁnal product before anyone sees you.
At the end of each recipe, there is a spot for “What the community said” and “Tips and Techniques” where a selection of Food 52 member quotes sing the recipe’s praise and put in their two cents from their own experience with the recipe—I took a little advice from member ABCDelicious and made the pesto again to put over butternut squash ravioli-yum! We all need a little help and inspiration from our online community of foodie friends every once in a while and I can’t think of a better cookbook and compilation or recipes than The Food 52 Cookbook.