I am not usually one to use cookbooks. When I cook, it is usually something that I learned from my mom, who learned from my grandfather or adapted from one of the other relatives, like her lasagna which she based on my Aunt Millie's lasagna. Recently, I decided to expand my cooking horizons and since my food-based posts tend to be well liked (or at least well viewed), I thought I'd review some of the cookbooks I'm trying out. The first one is Too Blessed to be Stressed by Debora, M. Coty. If you can't guess from the title, this is a Christian cookbook (apparently, Christians need Jesus's approval on what foods they cook), but aside from a few quotes and one very judgmental anecdote (more on that later), you wouldn't know this is written by a Christian for Christians.
One of the things that drew me towards this specific cookbook was that the meals are supposed to be quick. Upon reading the book, that is not the case. There are some recipes that require a slow cooker and a good 8-10 hours to cook. I don't own a slow cooker as I don't particularly like slow cooked foods. They always come out looking like dog food and tasting like something scraped off the bottom of a kid's shoe, which if the anecdotes in this book are to be believed is something the author did when her toddler stepped on the cake she baked for a church function. That's just gross.
I did like Ms. Coty's writing style. She didn't talk down to readers, who like me, are probably just starting out learning how to cook from a cookbook. She explains what recipes can stand substitutions (such as using margarine instead of butter) and which ones cannot. She also assumes that everyone has cooking disasters, recounting the time she turned her chili into a rubbery, inedible mess (on Christmas, no less).
One of the things I really liked was that the recipes were written in a way that was easy to understand and I cannot wait to try her banana pudding (I need to do some shopping first).
I also liked that the recipes run the gamut from breakfast to desert, from Breakfast Quesadillas to French Chocolate Cake. The only problem is that the ebook doesn't have a Table of Contents to take you from section to section, so if you want to find a particular recipe you need to figure out where in the book it is located and guesstimate how far into the book it is. That, unfortunately, is stressful.
As I mentioned above, for the most part, you wouldn't know that Ms. Coty was writing this for the Christ Crowd. Although she includes quotes from the Bible, she also uses quotes from Roseanne, Julia Child, and Charles Schultz as well. I also mentioned however, that there is one very judgmental anecdote and I feel like I need to address it. One of the kitchen disasters she recounts is about making a cheesecake off of a recipe in a magazine. It was made with low fat and guilt free ingredients and looked amazing. Then, everyone tried it and realized that it tasted like soggy cardboard (now, many people would ask how she knows what cardboard tastes like, but having grown up in the Catholic Church, I can attest to a certain integral part of the mass that does in fact taste like cardboard). I was laughing as I read this right up until I got to the end, where Ms. Coty compares her less than stellar tasting desert to Christians being tempted by nice looking religions. She says that on the outside the other religions look pretty, but once you delve deeper into them, they're flat. Excuse me?! Who the hell are you to judge other religions? How would you like it if a Jew or a Muslim said that your Christian denomination looked pretty, but couldn't compare to their glorious religion? I bet you'd be spitting nails and calling for their heads on a platter. Personally, I'm an atheist and I find all religions lacking in logic, but I don't go around telling people that they're morons because they see logic in what I don't. That's because I know how offensive that is. Not everyone thinks the same way you do, Ms. Coty (and seeing as you mentioned being married slightly longer than my parents have, you're old enough to know better than the criticize people based on your religious beliefs. Shame on you.)
Even if I screw up the banana pudding (as I tend to have issues baking from scratch), my rating for this cookbook will stay the same because I know that I have a history of screwing up the easiest deserts and that in no way impacts the author's skills.
(4 If you can ignore the old fashioned Christian Judgement)