Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings

I have about four hours to write this review while I'm still a teen or 20-something (obviously I fall into the latter category), so here's a quick review of Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings, in bullet format.

First, the negatives:
  • I think the cover is sorta stupid looking.
  • I think teens and 20-somethings really don't have much in common, so I'm not sure why they're clumped together into a single cookbook. Maybe to someone in her 40s or 50s (the age range I imagine Susie Fishbein, the author of the cookbook, falls into), teens and 20-somethings are the same. She'd probably criticize me for saying that people in their 40s and 50s are the same, so I guess we're even. But really, for a cookbook, there's a big difference. Mainly, teenagers live in their parent's home and have access to all the wonderful kitchen gadgets and endless ingredients that go along with a well established kitchen. 20-somethings, on the other hand, are either single in college with few appliances (if any) and little money, or are "young professionals" (the new term for single people) who maybe have slightly more of those things but not much, or are perhaps young married couples who are likely paying a full rent for the first time and probably don't have much money either. So, not that the recipes in this cookbook are super expensive, but I'd like to see a budget cookbook that would better reflect the needs of 20-somethings.
  • As a pretty lazy 20-something, I found a few of the recipes to be a bit long. However, in general, the recipes were easy and straightforward, and I appreciated that.
  • As a 20-something and NOT as a teenager, I was offended by some of the recipes. Like do I really need a recipe for hot chocolate or for popcorn? I think I can figure those out on my own. Also, I don't generally keep Cap'n Crunch on my cereal shelf.
  • In the introduction to Homemade Chickies, Fishbein writes, "If you are lucky enough to live in or near Teaneck, NJ..." This made me feel bad because I am not lucky enough to live in or near NJ -- instead I live in the holy city of Jerusalem. I wish I had known about these Chickies before making aliyah; maybe then I'd have moved to Teaneck and would be able to count myself among the lucky ones.
And now for the good part -- I'd say every single recipe that I tried from this cookbook (and I've already made quite a few) was absolutely delicious.
Here are a few highlights --
  • The pizza soup and the beef and barley soup rocked. I will definitely be making those again and again and they were quite easy and quick to prepare.
  • In the chicken department, I made the teriyali mushroom chicken, shwarma chicken, sticky orange herb-roasted chicken, and the Amalfi chicken (minus the powdered lemonade -- I doubt that's how they make it in Italy) -- each was excellent, especially the shwarma chicken, which I've made a few times.
  • The eggplant parmesan  is one of the recipes that took FOREVER to make; it was, however, the best eggplant parm I've ever made, maybe even the best I've ever eaten.
  • Spicy carrot sticks -- oh so easy to make and oh so delicious. A great substitute for french fries.
  • I'm horrible with salad dressings, so I appreciated the simple salad recipe.
  • Chocolate chocolate  chip sticks -- yummy and easy.
  • Blondies -- I burnt them, which is not Susie's fault. People still ate them, though. All of them.
Overall, it's a good cookbook, maybe even an excellent cookbook, food-wise. Theme-wise, I think it could have used some tweaking.

P.S. Kosher By Design Short on Time is still my favorite.


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