In this week's cookbook review, we are back with one of our favorite genres of cookbooks - home cooking. Today we decided to review That Sounds So Good Cookbook by James Beard Award-winning author Carla Lalli Music.
Great food is an achievable part of every day, no matter how busy you are; the key is to have go-to recipes for every situation and for whatever you have on hand.
The recipes in That Sounds So Good are split between weekday and weekend cooking. When time is short, turn to quick stovetop suppers, one-pot meals, and dinner salads. And for the weekend, lean into lazy lunches, simmered stews, and hands-off roasts. Carla's dishes are as inviting and get-your-attention-good as ever.
That Sounds So Good is organized by situation and occasion, rather than by ingredient or recipe type. In this book, Carla decided to divide a typical week into two buckets: Monday through Thursday, and Friday and the Weekend.
Within the weekday and weekend sections of this book, the individual chapters are devoted to the sorts of everyday scenarios you might find in.
In the weekday chapters, you'll find stovetop suppers and dinner salads, and a chapter on the healthy-ish recipes that we all need after a weekend of eating and drinking and sleeping in. With many of us juggling work, school, housekeeping, caretaking, and commuting, these weekday dishes make the most of short active times. Half an hour of effort can add up to a complete meal if you know how to prioritize your prep and cook times.
By comparison, the weekend section is mostly devoted to recipes with longer cook times and some with larger serving sizes: soups, stews, braises, roasts, and things to grill. This section also has many grilling recipes that can be made before your friends arrive, if that's how you like to party.)
There are hundreds of recipes in the weekday and weekend section designed to help remove any stress and pain from cooking at home.
Carla has done a great job removing everything unnecessary to execute the recipes in this book. It means there are no desserts with meticulously arranged, color-coded fruit, and no sub-recipes that send you hunting for ingredients at three different specialty stores.
Every recipe includes multiple suggestions for substitutions under the "Spin It" heading, because having dinner upended by a single missing ingredient is never not annoying.
The recipe instructions in That Sounds So Good are written chronologically, so you'll rarely see things such as "1 cup chopped onions". Instead, you'll see whole ingredients listed.
This book is all about time efficiency! In most recipes, Carla tries to balance inactive and active times. The recipes are set up so you start the longest-cooking item first, and while that is in process, you'll use the downtime (inactive time) to prep the things that go with it.
When making a quick dinner, the inactive and active times overlap neatly from beginning to end, and you can use every minute to your advantage. Take the pork chops on page 41: They are seasoned in the first step and left to sit for a few minutes while you wash the radicchio and slice the onion that go with the pork. After cooking, the chops rest for 10 minutes - a necessary part of their journey! - while you sauté the vegetables in the pork drippings left in the skillet. Once the veggies are done, the pork will be ready to slice and you can eat.
Filling inactive time with active steps that keep you moving toward the finish line means you've used the time to your advantage.
After reviewing That Sounds So Good it's easy to understand its success and why it was named one of the best cookbooks 2021 by Time Out.
Carla has done a fantastic job producing a book with recipes to match every mood, situation, and vibe. The way Carla approaches food is this book is perfect for those with a busy life but who can't give up a good home-cooked meal.
That Sounds So Good is a cookbook for anyone who wants to learn to be more efficient while cooking. This book has all the things you need to start making delicious and effective meals at home from Monday to Sunday.