Before you read any further, it is necessary that I explain that I am not renowned for my prowess in the kitchen. My qualification for food-writing lies in the fact that I am a dedicated foodie who loves eating "not wisely but too well".
My cooking skills have definitely improved since the time that my Bolognese sauce imploded showering the walls of our kitchen and our avocado green appliances (that dates this event!) with a burst of red speckled sauce that Jackson Pollock would have admired. However my meal prep these days tends towards baking salmon and chicken or occasionally barbecuing steak or sausage.
With the introduction of Cookbook Critiques on ReviewFromTheHouse.com, I decided it was time to get back in the kitchen, sharpen my knives and restock my herbs, spices and condiment shelves.
But if the results of my cooking do not look like illustrations in a cookbook, it's not necessarily the fault of the recipes but my partly my kitchen skills and also that I am not a "food stylist." My food photos are all WYSIWYG - 100% authentic, unstaged and taken by my "point-and-shoot" camera.
Piece of Cake!
by Camilla V. Saulsbury
Publisher Robert Rose Inc.
Well I confess that from sheer metabolic necessity ( I put on weight just thinking about food) I rarely eat cakes or desserts but the picture of a luscious Cream Cheese Frosted Red Velvet Cake on the cover of Piece of Cake! was not to be denied. I paged through the book looking at more mouth watering pictures and reading recipes. Who can resist the thought of Mocha Cake with Coffee Buttercream or Butterscotch Blondie Bundt? I just had to try some of these cakes.
So with the help of my SASSY Supper Club, I persuaded some of my friends who regularly bake to produce some cakes from this book as desserts for a dinner in which we would evaluate two cookbooks.
From time to time I receive offers of new books to review. Recently my attention was captured by the titles of two new cookbooks from Ontario publisher Robert Rose Inc., and I thought that as a natural expansion of our SASSY Suppers, undertaking practical evaluations of recipe books would be a useful new feature in the Sipping and Supping food-writing section of ReviewFromTheHouse.
Our SASSY (Serious About Sharing Suppers, Yeah) group's supper themes have included Moroccan and Spanish, and after I became determinedly (but intermittently) "Low Carb", we also tried recipes from Karen Barnaby's 2004 book on low carb cooking, a moussaka recipe and cauliflower fried "rice". So when I approached my fellow SASSYs about trying out recipes from these and other new cookbooks, I got enthusiastic agreement.
So enthusiastic in fact that our kickoff SASSY Cookbook Critique evening has morphed into a 16 person supper. We will be tasting tagine entrees and appetizers from Pat Crocker's "150 Best Tagine Recipes" and cakes from Camilla V. Saulsbury's "Piece of Cake!". For this special evening in addition to 6 of our 8 core SASSY group members, we have enlisted 5 couples, all enthusiastic foodies who enjoy baking and experimenting with new recipes.