Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cookbook Review: A Year in Lucy's Kitchen

Am I a bad Canadian if I admit I'd never heard of Lucy Waverman before I got this book? Because, honestly, I didn't have a clue who she was and had to do some research in order to figure out that she's actually pretty well-known in certain Canadian circles. Lucy is a prominent Canadian food columnist and food writer, and she's famous for her articles in both The Globe and Mail (one of Canada's national newspapers) and the LCBO's Food & Drink Magazine.

OK, I'm in BC. I neither read The Globe and Mail nor have access to the Liquor Control Board of ONTARIO's periodical. Sue me!

It doesn't matter because Lucy's new cookbook, A Year in Lucy's Kitchen, has made me fan!

We are all surely familiar now with seasonal eating, but Lucy actually takes the concept further and provides recipes & menus on a monthly basis, using local, seasonal ingredients appropriate to each particular month. I really enjoyed this approach, not only because the recipes were broken down even further from seasonal to monthly, but this made for a much more interesting structure for a cookbook. While I do love cookbooks, don't get me wrong, as a writer (with a degree in creative writing), I often get bored with the structure of your average cookbook: appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, veggies & side dishes, desserts. Etc. Sometimes I feel like I'm reading a mystery novel I already know the resolution for. In the case of A Year in Lucy's Kitchen, I was delighted with her approach to the structure of the book and it made it a much more interesting read for me.

The chapters, one for each month, do indeed focus on seasonal fresh ingredients, and with the added bonus of simple, easy-to-use menus for great meals that are quick and delicious. What I also loved about this cookbook was the variety in cuisines: Thai, Indian, Chinese, Jewish - to name a few. I love cookbooks with varied themes!

As for the recipes, they are great! They are not fussy, not complicated, and don't involve huge lists of ingredients. I made two recipes: Spinach, Apple, and Avocado Salad on page 273 (substituting romaine lettuce for the spinach, and cashews for almonds, as that's what I had on hand) and the Plum Pizza on page 208 (substituting apples for plums as I don't like plums). In the case of the salad, it had nice, refreshing dressing I'll definitely use again. As for the Plum Pizza, which was more along the lines of an apple tart in my case (I'll do an upcoming post on this soon), it was spectacularly simple and delicious, and something I'll definitely do again.

I have bookmarked over a dozen recipes to try from this book, and I can't wait! A total recommend!

12 comments:

highlandsranchfoodie.wordpress.com said...

How fun to find a cookbook that you admire. I'm going to put it on my Christmas list. Sounds like a great find. I really liked your analogy of the mystery novel that you already know the ending. How true.

Helene said...

Her recipe are usually good. I am waiting for this cookbook to come at the library.

Nat said...

SO TRUE ! I too am so tired of the same old same old layout of cookbooks...the only other book I have come across with a unique layout, is Jamie at Home, which is segregated by the type of produce, although, its not that user friendly as the ingredient list is HUGE, I just can't stand it, I don't like investing in unique ingredients I will use for one singled out dish. This is a great review WC, and I too am adding it to my xmas wish list...! Thank you so much for the recommendation, coming from a trusted source like yours really helps !

girlichef said...

I've never heard of her...course I'm not Canadian (does that count for anything)...but your review makes me want to check out the book, for sure!

Coleen's Recipes said...

Thank you for the review!! I love the title.

Palidor said...

I can one-up you... I'm from Ontario and read the G&M but haven't heard of her either! :-P I'm looking forward to seeing the recipes that you cook!

Donna-FFW said...

Looking forward to see what you make out of here:)

Cathy said...

Thanks for the review! I've been eyeballing this one to buy.

Pierce said...

I've never heard of her but this sounds like a "must check it out" book.

I especially like what you wrote about her breaking up recipes by season. Don't you just love browsing cookbooks? Fun stuff.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I'm so glad you loved it too.
I guess Lucy Waverman is more well known here in Ontario.
Love your reviews!

Shelly W said...

I've never heard of Lucy either, but sounds like she makes some great stuff! I love the seasonal cooking concept, and it's a plus that she cooks a variety of cuisines. Sounds like a winner! Thanks for reviewing :)

Mam said...

Lucy and I go way back, at least I've been a avid fan of hers for years, as G&M is part of my weekend reading. Most of the recipes I've clipped out of newspapers over the years have been Lucy. This book is on my Christmas list as well.

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