What is it about food that brings people together? Going back to Jesus’ time, He gathered with His most trusted companions His disciples, and broke bread with them and talked about theology and life’s most important issues on a regular basis. Gatherings always call for good food and recipes tucked away for special occasions, but also for times when you just want to take food over to comfort a friend who happens to be going through something cathartic.
As the Fourth of July literally looms around the corner, people are busy making their get together menus. Most people opt for the traditional barbecue and who wouldn’t like to be around that intoxicating aroma of barbecued ribs and fat drippings off a juicy chargrilled 80/20 Angus beef burger alongside Mojo marinated chicken drumsticks sizzling and beckoning the guests? Oh and let’s not forget the desserts! I just love celebrating special days where you can eat a little bit more than you normally would without having to think about weight gain since basking in the presence of the people who mean the most in your life overrides such superficial concerns.
I happen to have gotten my hands on a copy of “Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings” by Leela Cyd and here I find really inspiring ideas and recipes with pictures so inviting it just makes me want to leap into the book to take a sampling of the delicious depiction. I’m not being hyperbolic here, really, you’d have to see it for yourself. I especially want to try the Raw Vegan Cacao & Coconut Hearts dessert. I just love coconuts (I happen to hail from a Tropical Island before I moved to the States) and I’m a complete sucker for Chocolate. The best part about this book are the recipes where there’s absolutely no baking required! Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake, but if I could make decadent desserts in a jiff without having to turn on the oven, I say, hooray!
Looking at the other recipes, most of them called for ingredients that are not really common in your ordinary kitchen. You can’t easily find Burrata cheese, Matcha powder and dates sold at your local grocery store unless you went to a specialty store like Fairway (in NYC, sadly for me I moved to Central FL where the closest specialty store is about 30 miles away) which carries a whole bunch of other imported and exotic ingredients. I wonder if I could substitute dates with pitted prunes instead? Regardless, I want to try the recipe which caught my eye because everything about it screams “Eat me Caeli” and I sure won’t let the lack of pitted dates stop me from trying.
One thing I definitely would have liked to see more in this book are recipes with meat but sad to say it was non-existent. The only ingredient close to meat were eggs. I was expecting a potpourri of recipes which included a little bit of everything from meat all the way to desserts. I am not ashamed to say I am a meat lover and therefore, meat is an absolute staple in my menu to serve at gatherings, but that’s okay. Meat happens to have this natural attracting force you don’t need too many ideas to make it look palatable. It just has to be done right!
Overall, I like everything about the book from the cover, to the layout and the presentation although the title could have been a little bit more precise in stating it was mainly geared towards Vegans, quick pick me ups and quick fixes for impromptu visits but nevertheless, I am still greatly inspired (hopefully a specialty store opens nearby fairly soon) to execute the exotic recipes found in this book whenever the opportunity presents itself. Amid my one particular “meatless” gripe, I can say I still am thrilled to have this as an addition to my recipe book collection.
[This is my unadulterated review for a complimentary copy of the aforementioned book which I received from Blogging for Books ]