Blogging For Books: Everything Beautiful

My most recent Blogging for Books order was a little different this time around. Rather than my typical novel or cookbook, I went with a new adult coloring book titled Everything Beautiful, by Waterbrook.

There is nothing that makes this one stand out from others, however, I found that it provided a relaxing form of entertainment most people expect from an adult coloring book.

The artwork is beautiful, and coloring the simple yet detailed pages helped me decompress from built up stress I had harbored from a long day. The messages formed into the pictures were encouraging, and overall I felt good after spending even just a few moments coloring a page.

Again, Everything Beautiful is not especially unique. It is yet another adult coloring books you find in, say, the book aisle of a grocery store. However, it serves it’s purpose and would make a beautiful gift for someone you love.

Blogging For Books: The Amazing Make Ahead Baby Food Book, by Lisa Barrangou

Although I am no longer dealing with baby food, I really wanted to request a copy of Lisa Barrangou’s The Amazing Make Ahead Baby Food Book from Blogging For Books. I don’t recall ever buying a single jar of baby food for my son, and I absolutely loved making all of his meals. During that time I relied heavily on another book, and wanted to check out more resources for future reference.  I really enjoyed having the opportunity to read over Barrangou’s book, and will keep it in mind for round two (whenever that may be!).

Overall I thought her approach was simple and too the point. If someone is looking to use a particular method of making homemade baby food, she takes one of the more convenient routs. Personally I really enjoyed the way I did things when my son was younger, and will probably only implement some of her suggested methods. That’s not to say I didn’t find value in her book. Even if you’re not looking for directions on how to create a system of making baby food, the book is still great for recipe ideas and extra information regarding nutrition.

Blogging For Books: Bitter, by Jennifer McLagan

I recently received the cookbook Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavors, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan. It is the first of what I’m assuming to be many books I will be reviewing.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I have yet to try any of the recipes (for various reasons), but I did learn a great deal about unique foods I had either never heard of, or had little to no experience with. For the average person this one may be a bit overwhelming with information and too much of a culinary adventure. For someone who proudly carries the label of “foodie”, however, I believe this would be an excellent book to pick up.

Not only does this book provide recipes that would challenge a cook to work with new flavors, but it also describes the science, history, and psychology behind certain foods and their bitter flavor (which I found very interesting). It encourages readers to not shy away from using “bitterness” in their cooking, but rather work with it to enhance the culinary experience.

The recipes provided in the book are extremely intriguing, and as soon as I get my chance I will most definitely give them a try. They require various foods that I had never thought to work with, or maybe even heard of. Whether it’s bitter alcohols, chicory, coffee, particular types of chocolate, or dandelions, most of the food in this book would be a very new experience for me, and the majority of Americans. I even came across a recipe that uses tobacco (which is very intriguing, even if I might skip that one).

There were two faults I did have with Bitter, despite finding it intensely fascinating. First of all there were a couple of foods she (McLagan) described in great detail, only to then admit that she never tried them. I found that a little disappointing, since I personally expect the author of a cookbook to have experienced the food they describe in their own writing. The second issue I have is the fact that most of the foods will require me to search through specialty grocery stores. I found very few (if any) recipes that had ingredients I could pick up at my normal everyday store. This I’m willing to forgive since the book doesn’t seem intended for the everyday cooking experience, but it still would have been nice to have at least a couple recipes that were more practical. The regular everyday housewives who don’t get out to specialty stores might want to play with bitter flavors as well!

Overall I’m very glad I have this book around, and I will definitely try a couple of the recipes here and there. Jennifer McLagan has a variety of other cookbooks that seem to be written in the same style, and I do look forward to tracking more of her work down.