Title: Just Add Water
Author: Lauren Chattman
Review Summary: Nothing special about the book and the recipe I tried was proof that sometimes just adding water isn’t enough.
Like the slow cooker cook book, this was a book I picked up because it contains a lot of quick recipes requiring few ingredients. It also made the claim that any one who can boil water could make these recipes and let me tell you – I boil a mean pot of water.
While searching the library for a cookbook, I was shocked at how few books had pictures of recipe results. The pictures are one of my favorite parts of cookbooks. Sadly, this book was no exception and the only pictures were on the cover. I decided to pick it up any way based on it’s alluring promise of recipes only requiring boiling skills and based on the nice organization. Categories included breakfast, veggies, soups, beans, grains, dinners, and deserts. I found it very easy to find what I was looking for, with most of the sides in the vegetable section and most of the dishes with meat in the dinner section. It also helped that each section began with an list of recipes, although an index including page numbers would have been nicer.
Instructions for every recipe were very clear, although this was largely due to the simplicity of the recipes. In every way, this is really just your standard cook book, set apart only by the ease and simplicity of the recipes. So, my feelings about it mostly depended on the recipe, which we’ll talk about now.
The Sausage, Barley, and Spinach Soup recipe jumped out at me right away. I like all the title ingredients and I even had some barely left over from last weeks recipes. Ingredients were under $15 and, even had I needed to buy barely, my shopping list would have only included 4 ingredients. Cooking was really as simply as combining all the ingredients and boiling. It was a beautiful thing. Although with cook time the recipe took about an hour, I didn’t spend more than 15 minutes on it. Sadly, things could only go down hill from there.
While this recipe fulfilled all my hopes and dreams for cheapness and ease of cooking, the resulting soup wasn’t tasty or substantial. I think it may just be a case of getting out what you put into something, since eating it was a lot like eating spinach, barely, and sausage bits out of diluted chicken stock. It looked even more unappetizing than it smelled and tasted, so much so that I couldn’t even bring myself to take a picture. I am still having some trouble giving up on the just add water dinner so I might try another recipe some time, but so far, I’m not impressed.