Author: Christina Tosi
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Purchased by Reviewer
Blurb: Go off the clock with Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar as she bakes one-bowl treats, grills with skills, and embraces simple, nostalgic—and often savory—recipes made from supermarket ingredients.
For anyone addicted to crack pie®, compost cookies®, and cake truffles, here are their savory counterparts—such as Kimcheezits with Blue Cheese Dip, Burnt Honey–Butter Kale with Sesame Seeds, and Choose Your Own Adventure Chorizo Burgers—along with enough make-at-home sweets to satisfy a cookie-a-day habit. Join Christina and friends as they cook their way through “weaknights,” sleepovers, and late-night snack attacks to make mind-blowingly delicious meals with whatever is in the pantry.
Review: I waited for this book for months. Months! I had it pre-ordered and would occasionally pull up the page on Amazon to look at it. Then finally, after practice of course because that’s my life, I had it in my hot little hands. I’ve gazed lovingly at every page at least twice so far, and I have all the stuff to make the Mac ‘N Cheese Pancakes and the Ritz Cookies. Yes, you read that right. If you read and baked from Christina Tosi’s previous book, Momofuku Milk Bar, you should know to expect absolutely nothing similar. This book is not the next generation of recipes to come from the Milk Bar bakeries. Do I want a book that’s the next generation of recipes to come from Milk Bar? YES! But that doesn’t mean this isn’t an amazing book in its own right. Momofuku Milk Bar was about how a chef cooks at work. Milk Bar Life is about how a chef cooks and eats outside of work. It’s not always pretty, but it always looks delicious.
So, what can you expect as at home fare from the lady who bottled Cereal Milk and proudly makes a cake that is supposed to taste exactly like a box cake? Pretty much the same stuff everyone else eats at home. Both Velveeta and Cool Whip are involved. Not in the same recipe. Things come out of boxes and cans with no shame and no regrets. Okay, there is some shame and regret. One chapter is entitled, “Weak Nights” and is all about the food thrown together when you’re too tired to do anything resembling cooking. It’s not anything you’ll want to admit to eating. You certainly wouldn’t want to admit eating it to your doctor, but it’s the reality of an exhausted professional at home at the end of the day, even if that person happens to be a chef.
There is a lot of good food in this book you’ll want to brag about. Thankfully, “Weak Nights” is followed by, “Freakin’ Weekend.” You would not be ashamed to cook for your Mother-In-Law from this chapter. Or maybe your Mother-In-Law is the type of person who would love a grilled ham and cheese corn cookie. Or maybe you’d like to insure she never comes to visit again. I’m not judging.
This book runs the gamut in terms of skills required. For the most part, the recipes are very approachable to a person with little to no cooking skills. You can work up to the recipes that require a candy thermometer. The majority of ingredients are also available at the average grocery store. This is a plus. Please note I did say majority of ingredients, not all. You may need to hit up online retailers.
There is something quintessentially family about this book. The recipes either come from Tosi’s own family or the family she’s created at Milk Bar. I like that a professional chef is unabashedly embracing family recipes and sharing them with the world. Many of the recipes in this book haven’t become retro just yet. Probably because Tosi is rather young. They’re still uncool even though they’re delicious. I don’t think this book is going to make dried minced onions a household staple, but maybe it will stop some of the scorn for the things we loved when we were younger. I hope it happens soon. I’m not ashamed to admit I love those sweet & sour meatballs cooked in a Crock Pot.