The Newlywed Cookbook (Chronicle 2012) sound like a throwback to a time when newlywed wives were given cookbooks that would somehow teach them to cook the perfect romantic meal. Don’t be fooled. Sarah Copeland‘s book, subtitled: Fresh Ideas & Modern Recipes for Cooking with & for Each Other aims to inform both the bride and the groom on the importance of cooking and eating well.
It’s hard not to love the person who just spent their evening making chocolate pudding from scratch or who missed an hour of extra sleep to have a fat stack of pancakes waiting for you on Saturday morning when you wake up.
Sarah is a newlywed herself, and write about her own experiences understanding her husband’s Hungarian family through their dishes and ingredients.
There is a good list of strategies in the Introduction for new cooks like:
- Get Smart Get Fresh
- Glam Up Everyday Ingredients
- Use Flavor to the Fullest
These maybe familiar to cooks who have been feeding a family for years, but getting the tone right – getting the kitchen set up right ¬– can be intimidating to a newlywed. Sarah follows the introduction with a guide to the panty and tools – perhaps helpful to read before the wedding to ask for those things as wedding gifts? Sarah is an urban gardening guru, so the heart of the following chapter, The Seasonal Kitchen, includes instructions on how to grow vegetable garden on windowsills and in the backyard. There are photos by Sara Remington of Sarah and her spouse, Andras, planting strawberries happily together.
Fresh fruits and veggies figure prominently in the book’s recipes. The recipes are organized by meal type: Brunch, Little Meals, or Date Night, but vegetables get a chapter onto themselves. The Gardener’s Pizza (p. 158) in the Date Night chapter is loaded with slices of fresh green, red and orange tomatoes and fresh herbs. The Homemade Gnocchi with Summer Beans (p. 162) is served with chicken broth, beans, and mint leaves. There is a recipe for Seared Halibut with Coriander & Carrots (p. 173) that is served with a yogurt sauce. In the Vegetable chapter there is another recipe featuring carrots – Carrots with Caraway Sour Cream (p. 197) with Hungarian paprika and garlic sounds like it comes straight from Andras’ country house. Another Hungarian dish, mentioned in the Introduction is Potatoes Rosti (p. 186) a kind of hash brown that Sarah’s mother-in-law taught her, simply flavored with rosemary.
Don’t miss the chapter on Sweets to Love, Honor & Cherish. There is a Better-Than-Boxed Chocolate Cake (pp. 257-259) from Sarah’s mother, that’s simple and deeply chocolaty. For more chocolate – evidently the basis of a happy marriage – there is also Deep-Dark-Secret Chocolate Cookies (p. 261) with four kinds of chocolate including cacao nibs, and Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies (pp. 263-265) with step-by-step photos of the cookie/biscuit process.
Obviously, The Newlywed Cookbook would make a fine wedding present – but it would be best to receive before setting up a home together – whether married or not.