Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Mac + Cheese Cookbook

Authors: Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade
Genre: Cooking
Type: e-book advanced reading copy
Pages: 128
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Expected Publication: August 20, 2013
First Lines: "Hi!  We are Erin and Allison - and together we own a restaurant in Oakland, California, dedicated to the best food on earth: macaroni and cheese."

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description from GoodReadsA fun and playful cookbook featuring retro, decadent, and kid-friendly mac-and-cheese recipes from the popular Oakland restaurant Homeroom.

Think Outside the Box!

Macaroni and cheese is one of America’s favorite comfort foods, beloved by kids and adults alike. But there’s no need to rely on prefab mixes—all you need is a handful of kitchen staples, some tasty cheese, and a little insider advice courtesy of Homeroom restaurant. This perennially popular Oakland, California, eatery—with its entire menu devoted to mac and cheese—now shares its secrets for the best-ever mac recipes.

These inventive dishes offer something for everyone: nostalgic homestyle recipes like Tuna Mac, international varieties like Sriracha Mac, decadent delights like Truffle Mac, and even the logic-defying Vegan Mac. You’ll also find recipes for quick veggie sides like Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and old-school desserts like frozen Peanut Butter Pie. With a basics section on perfecting mac sauce, choosing the best noodles, and customizing add-ins and toppings, plus an emphasis on quality ingredients and simple techniques, this fun, playful cookbook shows cheese-loving readers how to take this comfort-food staple to creative
new heights.

My Thoughts: Macaroni and Cheese, good homemade mac'n'cheese and all its creamy, cheesy goodness, is so comforting that it can soothe my weary soul even on the bleakest of days.  Add a crunchy Panko crumb topping and I'm in gastronomical heaven!

I'm not the only person in my house that is an avid mac and cheese addict.  My kids and Brad enjoy diving into a bowl of gooey, cheesy goodness too.  Typically, I use the same recipe to make my homemade mac and cheese.  It's a good recipe and I've used it so much and for so long that I know it by heart.  And that gets a little boring after awhile, if I'm being honest. So when I saw that Allison and Erin had written an entire cookbook about one of my favourite comfort foods I knew I had to give it a try.  My beloved mac and cheese with a few twists?  Count me in!

Allison and Erin know more than a thing or two about mac and cheese.  They own a restaurant in Oakland, California which is dedicated to their love of the curved noodle and fromage.  We're not talking about only serving the standard cheesy sauce over macaroni noodles.  Oh no, my friends.  These two gals offer up 10 different kinds of mac and cheese every day and dress up my favourite comfort food with simple, yet delicious, add-ins.

I will admit that sometimes reading a cookbook is about as riveting as reading an encyclopedia.  They can be a little dry and lacking in personality but I'm happy to report that this is not the case with The Mac + Cheese Cookbook.  Allison and Erin's personalities come shining through as they begin the book by giving their readers a tour of their restaurant, Homeroom.  It's a unique restaurant and their lucky customers get to keep track of all of the delicious Mac + Cheese varieties that they've tried at Homeroom in an old fashioned card catalogue. My inner book nerd totally loves that!!  How cool is that?  Seriously?!

They follow the tour of their restaurant by starting their readers off at the beginning of the Mac and Cheese journey, the constant in all of their creations -- a basic cream sauce, or "Mac Sauce".  You've got to start with good building blocks and a good cream sauce will put you on the path to a delish mac and cheese creation of your very own.  Once you have your Mac Sauce you can then transform standard, yet delicious, mac and cheese into so many different, unique pasta dishes depending on what you want to add in. 

Their recipes aren't hard to make (clear and concise instructions are given) nor are they really finicky or ultra 'chi-chi' either.  In my humble opinion, Mac and Cheese shouldn't be a complicated affair but I do adore the fact that they've given a new life (and different flavour combos) to a well-loved dish.  They also surprised me by having wine and beer pairings with their different Mac + Cheese variations.

They also give helpful hints and explanations regarding ingredients (when to use certain cheeses/noodles, differences in salt) as well as trouble shooting common Mac + Cheese mistakes (lumpy sauce, thin sauce, lacking in flavour ...).  Ultimately, they want to help their readers to experience a truly phenomenal Mac + Cheese.

The only thing that I wish that were different with my experience reading this book is I really wish I had received a hard copy of this book instead of an e-copy on my Kindle. Please don't get me wrong, I love and appreciate receiving this cookbook from the publisher but I think, given the choice, I would have much preferred to review this book (and other cookbooks in the future) with a paper copy.  There's just something about reading a e-cookbook that just doesn't do it for me.  It's harder to skim through and the black and white of my Kindle didn't do their pictures justice.

Overall, I really recommend this cookbook.  Allison and Erin have created a unique, interesting and totally tantalizing cookbook that showcases one of my favourite go-to comfort meals.  Mac and Cheese isn't meant to be a complicated dish and I love that they're not trying to reinvent Mac + Cheese.  It's fabulous in its simplicity.  They're tweaking the fabulousness by giving their readers some new takes on a tried and true favourite by suggesting add-ins, like Panko crumbs on top, blue cheese or even my beloved goat cheese.  With a few simple staples and perhaps a couple of unique add-ins you can make a very common dish extraordinary!

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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