A relieving aspect of these bigger recipes is that Weissman does provide options for some of the stranger ingredients he calls for. An example of this comes in his mojo braised pork recipe that mentions seville oranges, but he also allows for limes. Nobody is getting seville oranges in their neighborhood grocery store. You’re a lucky person if you do. This lowered my concerns about the accessibility of the book a lot. Thank you, Weissman.
When it comes to actually cooking from the rest of the cookbook, there are a lot of options. Weissman addresses many commonly purchased proteins in the modern american household, including those dreaded chicken breasts that strike horror into so many cooking personalities. He isn’t scared, and you shouldn’t be either. If you want to go big, you can of course try his bougier recipes such as his duck breasts.
There are plenty of pasta dish recipes mixed into their own section with some of Weissman’s sandwiches from his youtube show and a few we haven’t seen before. This is a good place to start if you’re shorter on time. A nice BLT made with the sandwich loaf that we cooked out of the starches from scratch is among the easiest and most identifiable. The pasta recipes all contain call backs to the pasta recipes earlier in the book as well, but fitting in your store bought pastas here likely won’t impact the taste.
As the weather gets colder across the country, the soup section in these recipes is most attractive to me. The mushroom soup can be entirely sourced from our local producers in Green Bay. Our winter markets are just around the corner, and Produce with Purpose has most of the mushrooms he asks for if you’re not a morning person on the weekends.
The book is capped off with a small dessert section, but let’s face it, I didn’t exactly buy this book for dessert. There are some promising recipes back there that are of products I’ve never tried to make before-- such as Russian Tea Cakes. There are also chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies, two of the most common cookie types in the USA. We’ve all got our favorite recipe, and maybe you could do the hard work of dueling your favorite against Papa’s cookies. I did not.
Your options here are endless, and as with the earlier sections of the book, there are both simple recipes for beginners and more advanced, time consuming ones for folks that fancy themselves budding chefs or very practiced home cooks. You’ll often have to pull out premade ingredients of some of the earlier recipes to cut some time off for yourself.
This is a book for the fans. The photography is gorgeous and makes me hungry every time I turn the page. It’s also been a NYT bestselling cookbook every week since it came out. If you’re still thinking about if you want it for yourself, look no further than our ratings below.
Accessibility - 4 out of 5
Joshua Weissman is still a fancy man with fancy ideas about cooking that often don’t line up with the typical home cook’s idea of how they want to cook. Including many from scratch condiments, cheeses, etc. is just his way of life. It’s not mine, and it’s not the way of a lot of cooks. That’s okay. You CAN use premade of the ingredients that his later recipes refer you back into the from scratch areas from. Very few ingredients are difficult to find in the regular grocery store, but some recipes do struggle with Fancy Ingredient Syndrome. There’s something to cook even if you’ve got the most bare bones grocery store, but you may miss out on the chance for the good stuff.
Difficulty - 3 out of 5
Like I said, he’s still a fancy man with fancy ideas. If you cook through this book as he intended by making every single from scratch ingredient referred to in his major recipes from scratch and then do the actual recipe, the sheer amount of time will keep you in the kitchen all night depending on your choice. This book is a challenge to treat it as the chef intended. Less so if you allow yourself the grace to cook with premade anything.
Originality - 3 out of 5
A fair amount of the recipes in this book are available through the chef’s youtube channel and website prior to the publication of the book. You don’t need to buy the book for his most famous recipes, like his milk bread rolls, etc. I have six different books on my shelf teaching me how to make mayonnaise from scratch, and about four that have some of the same pasta recipes albeit with their own spins. An Unapologetic Cookbook is a testament of Weissman’s style and a great gift for a fan. Collectors like myself might not find a ton of new stuff to try.