Woops. Here we are again at the end of a month with another cookbook and I didn’t write a single article about a single dinner I made out of the book. The god’s honest truth? The simplicity of the dishes I tested made it difficult to write about. I have a few paragraphs about each, so what better way to discuss the book at the end of the month than to string them all together? Cook this Book from Molly Baz, I have found, is an exercise in simplicity, accessibility, and fun.
Brown bacon that you’ve cut into small bites. Boom. Snap peas in the bacon fat. Boom. Orecchiette done boiling? Drop it in the pan with the bacon and the snap peas and a few spoonfuls of ricotta. Boom, dinner done. Hit it with some pepper. Eat good tonight.
Orzo al limone is another of her simple pasta dishes that I’ll whip up for myself now as a simple carby lunch when I’m working from home. So simple, it’s just a cup of boiled orzo pasta with some lemon zest, seasoning, and cheese. This is one I didn’t get a picture of even if I made it like three times this month. Woops.
The good news is that most, if not all, of these recipes are made with ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store. We didn’t order a single ‘exotic’ ingredient from Amazon. There was no seven stop journey to different grocers looking for a special spice or cut of meat. I cannot stress enough how important that is in a cookbook these days. So many of the ones we review on this website wind up requiring extra effort during shopping. Cook This Book was not that book.
Accessibility - 5 out of 5
Cook This Book doesn’t have a fancy ingredient problem. It’s also accessible for the budding home cook through QR codes scattered throughout the book that will lead to videos of Molly showing you how to perform a certain technique if you’re new to cooking. Equipment is very rarely an issue to overcome, the exception of which for some starting cooks may be a good size dutch oven that’s called for in a few of the recipes most attractive to myself personally.
The front 50 pages of the book are full of tips and tricks useable for almost any skill set, but especially for people just starting out. From reminders to always be seasoning your food to whole lists of pantry ingredients that she always keeps on hand, it provides an excellent framework to prepare you for the recipes that follow after the introductory portions of the book.
Difficulty - 4 out of 5
Like many cookbooks, the difficulty is what you make it. Not all of Molly’s recipes come with the useful QR code buddy to show you how to do something a little tricky. Her cookbook contains many separate categories for you to sink your teeth into, and within those sections are recipes ranging from very simple and quick to somewhat complex and time consuming. Her instruction on each keeps the difficulty low for an experienced home cook and makes the process easier for a new home cook.
This book makes a great housewarming present for just this reason.
Originality - 4 out of 5
Molly’s writing style is somewhat irritating for an middle millennial that never got into the unnecessarily shortening words trend, but the actual content of the recipes is solid. There are different ways to cook a whole chicken in this book that I haven’t yet encountered in others, even if some of the techniques are reminiscent of her other former Bon App colleagues. I remain pleasantly surprised by the recipes I’ve tried and other that I’ve only read. There is a lot of promise in this book and a lot of fun to be had.