By: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan
Publisher: Weldon Owen
Publication Date: August 2011
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 2011
Is there anything better than sitting down to a wonderful meal, with close family and friends? The problem is, many of us are far too busy, and perhaps lack the culinary skills to entertain. Personally, I know that I go into apoplexic shock at the very thought of entertaining friends. With my lackluster cooking abilities? Yikes! Fortunately, there’s Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan’s wonderful cookbook, Good Food to Share, to guide us through the process of putting a tasty, delightful meal on the table so we can enjoy the preparation, meal, and most importantly, relax and enjoy the company.
Good Food to Share is broken up into six sections: Drinks, Starters, Salads, Mains, Vegetables and Sides, and Desserts. Each has a nice selection of dishes, including a fair number of fish and vegetarian dishes. Drinks anyone? Why pull out a bottle of “something” when you can prepare your own delectable refreshments? Watermelon mojito was super easy to make and cherry rum punch, also easy to prepare, looked great in my new glasses. Hmm… maybe I’m concentrating on the drinks too much!
This cookbook has some amazing recipes with exotic names but fortunately, not crazy prep times or complicated preparations. “Israeli couscous with porcini and arugula” and “Crispy five-fragrance calamari and dipping sauce” were names I kept a secret until after my kids had tried them. While the calamari wasn’t a big hit with my teens, it was rated a 5 by my husband. Yes, the kids were more into the “Smashed potatoes” which is basically mashed potatoes with a slight variation in ingredients and a suggestion to leave some chunks “for an appealing texture.”
While I was initially apprehensive about this cookbook, given its topic of entertaining, I found the recipes I tested to be fairly easy to prepare and delicious. I particularly appreciated the author’s notes included with most of the recipes. From how best to handle leftovers, to ingredient notes and how to dress up a dish to better present it to company, these suggestions came in handy.
As with all Williams-Sonoma cookbooks I’ve encountered, this one is replete with amazing, tantalizing photos. You can see the juices popping off the page on the “grilled steak with charmoula.” “Beef tataki with vegetable slaw and ponzu” anybody? It looks fabulous on the page as well as on the plate. And the taste didn't disappoint! While there are a zillion cookbooks on the market today, if you’re entertaining, and even if you’re not, consider Good Food to Share for some delectable recipes.
Quill says: Make yourself a “Sparkling limoncello-raspberry cocktail” and get to work creating some fabulous dishes for your night of entertaining with this wonderful cookbook.