“The Happy Cook” Review
I’m going to start doing cookbook reviews! I love books and food, so I wanted to combine my two favorite things. I was also inspired by just how many cookbooks are available. How can you know, out of so many, which are the good ones? I am here to help.
I have a hefty collection of cookbooks that I haven’t fully explored, and my local library also has a great selection. If you have any cookbooks you’d like me to review, please let me know!
Daphne Oz’s book The Happy Cook: 125 Recipes for Eating Every Day Like It’s the Weekend really is a beautiful book. Every photo in the book is absolutely gorgeous, both the lighting and the composition.
But a cookbook needs to be judged by its recipes. The pictures made me very excited to cook with this book, but looking at the recipes gave me pause. Oz emphasizes that this book is for cooking every day like it’s the weekend; basically, cooking healthy meals that taste decadent. The problem with this is that I don’t like healthy foods. For example, in the Breakfast section, I loved the idea of Shirred Eggs with Bacon and Kale, but I would have made it without the kale.
My philosophy is that I almost want to keep tasty food and healthy food separate. You can enjoy your bacony, cream-loaded eggs, and then have a kale salad, rather than trying to combine them and making everyone unhappy in the process.
Anyway, healthy-food chip on my shoulder aside, the recipes are pretty solid. I really loved her Balsamic Onion and Pear Grilled Cheese. It’s a concept that I’d seen applied to pizza before, but not grilled cheese, and it turned out beautifully.
Oz’s recipe for Crispy-Crunchy Honey Thyme Granola was also quite good, especially if you’re a granola lover.
I didn’t get the chance to try them, but the apricot-rosemary glazed lamb chops, the roasted plums with tahini dressing, and the baked cider doughnuts also look like fantastic recipes.
In short, the pros are that The Happy Cook is gorgeous, aspirational, and has a wide selection of healthy and Turkish-inspired recipes. It has a lot of ingredients that might be hard to find for the beginner or rural cook, but the techniques are fairly easy, and this cookbook is a great one to expand your palate with. Overall, I give it 3.5 out of 5 sticks of butter. It’s a solid cookbook, but not one I would buy.