By Lucinda Scala Quinn
Artisan - 2009
Buy it on Amazon
Many cookbooks rely on a theme. Sometimes, it's an over-arching concept, like all of French cuisine. Other times, it's a little more niche, like, say, cupcakes or bacon. But Lucinda Scala Quinn went a totally new direction for her latest cookbook, "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys." More than just a theme, she introduces us to a way of life, one where feeding a ravenous family -- without picking up the phone for takeout -- can be quick, fun and delicious.
As the Executive Director of Food for Martha Stewart, Quinn knows how to deliver impressive meals. But her recipes here come across completely differently than the fussy pages of "Martha Stewart Living." Steps are stripped down; flavors are dialed up. This approach makes for a revolutionary and yet straightforward approach to not just getting dinner on the table, but truly serving something that meets the demands of big appetites with more than just hefty portions.
In her own fun and feisty voice, Quinn dishes on how she has come to develop these winning homemade meals for the men in her life: her three sons and husband. Not only does she share tips on how to keep the hungriest of bellies full, she divulges her secrets for how to teach them how to master the kitchen and cook for themselves.
Takeaway Tips: Always keep bacon in the house. Wow, why didn't we think of that before? Of course, it works wonders on just about any dish.
Quality of pictures: Mikkel Vang's work has appeared in magazines such as "Gourmet," "Domino" and "Marie Claire," as well as Australian favorite "Donna Hay." His romantic streak has more edge than the dreamy photos of his you may have seen before. And, rightfully so, this cookbook is all about men. Regardless of your gender, his work here will leave you ravenous.
What We Tested: Where to begin? All of the recipes are totally doable -- no tricky steps, long processes or crazy ingredients. Flipping through the pages, you find yourself nodding along thinking "I can make that with what I have in the kitchen!" or "I could totally eat that right now!" The chili recipe proved to be a winner and just got better with time. And then there were the oven-braised short ribs -- delicious and totally mess-free, since the eliminate the step of browning them on the stovetop first.
Worth the investment: Anyone who's looking to bang out delicious meals for hungry appetites should own a copy of this book. It also makes a great gift for curious cooks who are just learning their way around the kitchen. The easy-to-follow, foolproof recipes ensure success.