Sunday, December 20, 2015

Book Review: The Best and Lightest by the editors of Food Network Magazine

I'm a big fan of Food Network and Food Network's magazine. I love to read it, I love to watch it, I love to try new things. And I have learned so much over the years. It's been a wonderful tool for me, as a home cook.

I'm always on the search for new things to try: new food, new ideas, new delicacies. Who doesn't love good food?

So, when I was offered a chance to check out Food Network Magazine's compilation of their best and lightest dishes, how could I say no? As soon as it arrived, I started plowing through, much like I do the magazine. Cover to cover, pouring over each recipe with delicate care. Reading the ins and outs and ups and downs - every ounce to seep out all the inspiration and deliciousness.

First thing I see is that one of my favorite parts of the magazine has found its way into the cookbook: the visual recipe index. A glorious index organized by category and filled with images of each dish along with the title and page number. Heaven. I love that they put it right in the front, ready for when you want to find something fast. A quick glance and there is whatever you might be ready to make in delectable and mouth-watering color. The book does not disappoint here.

This is followed by a short and simple introduction and then onto the 150 healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So many choices. Thank goodness that most of us eat three times a day, at least. And, thank goodness, there are leftovers.

As I slowly flipped through the book, there were a lot of really wonderful choices. Some I had seen in the magazine, others I didn't recall. Plenty of fairly simple dishes, a few more complex. Light, simple, easy - just as described. But, here was the strange part for me - the recipes seemed lackluster. I just wasn't excited. They looked yummy and sure, I'd eat them, if prepared. But, the pure joy of wanting to make some of them just wasn't there. I don't think they picked the most interesting recipes to add.

Light and healthy fare doesn't have to be boring. But, I must say, in comparison to what I know of Food Network Magazine, this book is a little boring. I don't think I would run right to it to make my next party fare, let alone my next meal. I might take an idea or two out of it, but it just was lacking in pizzazz.

Now, mind you, some of these recipes are really fun and I will try them: Carrot and Parsnip Fries, Broken Lasagna with Zucchini and Tomatoes, Artichoke and Pea Gratin. But, I don't think this is going to be my go-to book for fun ideas and recipes to make. The magazine - absolutely. I have so many ideas and thoughts and things I want to make from those, there is never a short supply. But, this book seems to be lacking the same great explosion of creativity. I know they have a lot of healthy and light fare throughout the magazines, many of them I have marked to make. But, the book feels rather boring when I read through it, somehow missing the same amount of sparkle the magazine carries (and no, I don't mean the higher calories).

I will probably hang onto this one for a short time, just to give it another good try. But, more than likely, I will stick to the magazine for future inspiration and daily dishes.

*This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

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