When I heard Tara O'Brady from Seven Spoons was writing her first cookbook I was excited. I've been a dedicated follower for nearly eight years now. Her photographs always look so mouthwatering that I can't keep myself from rushing to the store for ingredients so I can make them as soon as humanly possible. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of her book and was fortunate enough to get a peek at a pre-release digital version earlier in the year. The recipes and writing were everything I had hoped for, although I would have loved to see photographs with every recipe.
When I finally got my hands on a printed copy (courtesy of the publisher) I was disappointed. The photos lacked the depth and texture I've come to associate with Tara's blog. I don't think this cookbook does her photographs justice and it all comes down to poor paper choice. The print edition uses a matte paper, a terrible choice highly textural photographs. The ink tends to soak into the paper more than semi-gloss or glossy paper (which is what you'll normally see a cookbook printed on.) It leaves the photographs looking flat and lifeless. Flat, lifeless photographs are not going to inspire me and they certainly won't cause me to pack up the kid and go running to the closest store so I can get cooking ASAP.
For some of you, this really may seem like a nit-picky thing. Keep in mind that my day job is as a photographer, poor paper choice seriously bothers me, much like Comic Sans bothers graphic designers, and squeaky things (nails on the blackboard, balloons being rubbed together, and cheese curd squeak [yes, that is a thing]) bother most normal people. If you're looking for inspiring photographs, pick up the digital version instead, you'll be much happier.
Now I don't want to leave you thinking I hated the cookbook (that couldn't be farther from the truth, I'm just moderately annoyed with the paper it's printed on.) There are some great recipes to be found within these pages and here are my top picks:
Dipper Eggs with Cheese-Fried Soldiers (p35) - definitely kid-friendly, especially if you have a little boy who is currently obsessed with army men.
Bostocks (p41) - Broiche bathed in orange syrup, slathered with almond cream, and then baked. I wish this had a photograph accompanying it, it sounds delicious.
Pickled Strawberry Preserves (p111) - This small-batch preserve recipe is right up my alley.
Bee-Stung Fried Chicken (p167) - I'm always up for more fried chicken, even if it sounds like a seriously labor-intensive endeavor.
Five Spice Steak (p172) - now I now what to do with that jar of Chinese five-spice powder I bought on accident.
Whiskey Self-Saucing Pudding Cakes (p240) - it sounds very sinful, just what I'm looking for in a dessert!
As always I'll be sharing photographs of the recipes I tried from this book, so keep your eyes peeled, they'll be on Instagram soon.
Where to Purchase
This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.
This book was sent to me for review by Ten Speed Press through the Blogging for Books program. A digital copy was provided through NetGalley. As always, all opinions are my own.