A Cover-to-Cover Read., December 27, 2008
By LimeyDawg (Punta Gorda, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
Making a cookbook stand out from the crowd is no easy feat, but in "Stir, Laugh, Repeat," author Martha Cheves has the perfect formula. Readers will enjoy "Stir, Laugh, Repeat," as much for the stories accompanying each recipe as they do for the recipes themselves.
Throughout the book, Cheves shares a little of the back story leading to the creation of each recipe. Like the food, Cheves is unpretentious and honest. "I'm a terrible cookie-maker," she admits, but shows how a little perseverance and ingenuity overcame this shortcoming with her outstanding Sugar Bar Cookies (p.43). She also shares a life's worth of knowledge gained by struggling to feed a growing family using only what was on hand, or that which a meager budget would allow. Cheves is unabashed in her admission of trying to imitate some of her favorites from restaurants she has visited, and readily explains that this was the genesis of the wonderful recipes she came up with in the process of experimentation. In this, "Stir, Laugh, Repeat," is approachable by a wide audience indeed.
"Stir, Laugh, Repeat" is not a book one will take out for a single recipe, but rather one which the reader will enjoy cover-to-cover for the gems of wisdom and pointed honesty of the author. If, however, you buy the book for the recipes alone, you will not be disappointed. This is a cookbook for everyone, regardless of skill in the kitchen. The simple recipes produce good food, which is as much as anyone could ask of such a slender book. Just as she did when developing her recipes, Cheves encourages readers to experiment and make the recipes their own. In this way, the reader becomes one of Cheves' lucky testers by extension. [...]
"Stir, Laugh, Repeat" is a wonderful little cookbook. The stories make it a fine addition to the bookshelf as much as the kitchen library. It may well be the one cookbook in any cook's collection that gets read cover-to-cover.