Cookbook Reviews from a mom (and home cook)

Almost everyone I know is bored with their usual meals and burnt out from the constant whirl of meal prep and cooking. One of the ways I stay motivated is by browsing cookbooks; new (to me) and old favorites. I hope these reviews, from one home cook to another, help you too. 

Want other sources of inspiration? See my post here. 

These cookbooks, available at your library or your favorite bookstore are worth a look. Over the past couple of months, they have helped with some inspiration.

Milk Street Fast & Slow

This is a winner! If you have an InstantPot  (or slow cooker) this truly is a standout. I have had a multicooker for several years and have tried many other books, but this one is truly a favorite of this home cook. Here’s why:

  • Depth and breadth of interesting recipes

  • Techniques and tips that will elevate other meals


I have already made a few of the items and it’s batting 100%; truly impressive. 

Earlier this year, as part of a cookbook challenge, I tried a few dishes from Milk Street: Tuesday Nights cookbook, and found that they were very good, but involved more effort than many of us have these days. This on the other hand, really was.

Pulled Chicken with Chipotle Chilies, 181  this delivered huge-thumbs up from the adults and so-so from the kids. This struck a cord between soothing and spright; a hard balance to strike. While eating dinner, my husband remarked “this would make a great soup…” and he was right—this was my lunch for many days after.

Two-Cheese Pasta with Cauliflower, 133  This was delicious and the kids did not detect the cauliflower.

Pork and Hominy Stew with Cilantro and Lime, 197

Ina Garten: modern comfort food

Ina never fails to disappoint. If you don’t have one of her cookbooks already, I highly recommend it as a gift to yourself (or adding to your own list). 

Between her chatty tone, gorgeous photos and ambitiously-attainable recipes she absolutely deserves her spot as a go-to for many home cooks.  

Her latest was an impulse buy. So far, I’ve cooked two items from it and she’s batting 50/50.

Ultimate Beef Stew, 104  was loved by 6 out of 6 tasters and has now edged out the Joy of Cooking as my go-to recipe. This is a pretty huge upset; as this was not only my go-to but one that my mom has largely been following for 20+ years.

Skillet-Roasted Chicken & Potatoes, 108 Nothing says comfort like the smell of a roasting chicken, however it is also one of those perfect (largely) hands-off meals. 

Mixed reviews on the one she features here. Though the prep married many components that I’ve used in my arsenal and created a delicious result.  However, transferring potatoes in and out of the pan didn’t yield any magical results, and certainly not worth the extra effort and dishes or two. 

So, why complicate greatness. In this case, I’ll likely keep the marinade but skip the extra work on the potatoes. 

I still look forward to cooking more from this latest one. 

Both of these are great cookbooks for any home cook looking for some new inspiration or ways to prepare old favorites. 

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