If you poll Americans from coast-to-coast about their favorite foods, you'll see some trends: chicken, pork, cake, and casserole dominate. There are seasonal preferences and trends for things such as ice cream, broccoli, cinnamon rolls, and bacon too. These are the foods we crave, the ones we want on holidays, birthdays, game days, and snow days. In Savory Sweet Life, local food blogger Alice Currah offers classic dishes and fresh variations for these and other foods we love.
The book is divided into chapters by occasion, while the index organizes recipes by category. Occasions include holidays such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. There are also chapters for celebrating other occasions with food, like game day, potlucks, block party, and family game night. Chapter introductions include ideas for making these occasions memorable for kids and adults alike. Like the chapter for a tea party, inspired by Currah's young daughter, but with recipes grown-ups will love like jam thumbprint scones, cucumber mint tea sandwiches and biscotti.
Th recipes in this cookbook are simple and concise. These aren't multi-day cooking projects, but rather, cook-something-delicious recipes--most of which can be made on a weeknight. There are a few ingredient shortcuts such as using pudding mix in the banana cream pie and buying pre-shredded cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. Otherwise, ingredients are fresh and readily available at the supermarket. Recipe footnotes offer variations and substitutions, and tips for serving, storing or using leftovers.
Currah's own photography graces the pages, and while the completed dishes are lovely, the step-by-step photos included for a handful of recipes are most useful. Stuffing French toast, frosting a cake, breading and frying chicken tenders, and assembling bacon-wrapped shrimp all are easier to describe with photos, and thankfully they're included in this book.
Savory Sweet Life includes recipes for crowd-pleasing foods, but also dishes with a gourmet twist--suitable for a dinner party with friends or Valentine's Day dinner. Scalloped potato leek gratin, Nutella molten lava cakes and crab lemon basil pasta are extraordinary enough for a special occasion, but ordinary enough for the average home cook to succeed in making. And kid-friendly treats such as root beer floats, oven-broiled s'mores and caramel corn, are great for little ones, or even adults that just want to feel like a kid again.
Meet Alice Currah on Tuesday, June 5 at 7 pm. at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. She will also be hosting "Mimi's Tea Party" at Book Larder in Fremont on June 24 from 11 a.m. to noon. The $10 event includes a demonstration from the book about how to throw a tea party, with tea and nibbles such as cucumber mint sandwiches, thumbprint jam scones, and marshmallow pops.