First there's tea, and then there's talk of recipes, and before you know it, there's a Monday Morning Cooking Club. But this is no ordinary cooking club — when you bring together a group of Australian Jewish women who draw their culinary identities from such far-reaching places as Russia and Hungary, China and South Africa, Great Britain and Poland, the dishes coming out of the kitchen are bound to be anything but ordinary.
• Who wrote it: Monday Morning Cooking Club
• Who published it: Harper Collins
• The angle: Recipes are as much about community and history as they are about nourishment.
• Number of recipes: Over 100
• Recipes for right now: Bean Soup with Csipetke, Soufflé Pancakes, Chocolate "Bread and Butter" Pudding, Rice Paprikash, Portuguese Peri Peri Chicken Livers, Sara's Pickled Brisket, Gina's Hair-Raising Honey Cake, Almond Kifli, South African Cheesecake, Chicken Persian Pilau
• Other highlights:
More than maybe any other cookbook I've come across in the past few years, this Monday Morning Cooking Club feels like a modern day version of the old community cookbooks. Personal anecdotes and bios of club members are tucked between the recipes. The recipes themselves are a giant jumble, seemingly thrown together at random. In any other book, this would feel hopelessly frustrating, but given the spirit of this cookbook, it instead feels charming and exactly right — there's a sense of paging through someone's personal cooking diary with new discoveries on every page.
Unlike those old community cookbooks, though, this one comes extensively tested and curated by a team of six core club members. It's also beautifully photographed throughout, which is handy when you're wondering what, exactly, Buba's Eggplant might be.
But most of all, I am amazed by the diversity of recipes here, which is representative of the diversity of this community. I love cookbooks that show us how real, everyday home cooks put food on the table, and this one has given me so much inspiration. I've never heard of kilfi biscuits, but now I want to make them. I'd expect to find dishes like Masala Chili Fish and Peri Peri Chicken on restaurant menus, but the fact that they are in this cookbook being offered by fellow home cooks makes them feel completely approachable.
• Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who's been feeling bored with their cooking and needs to shake things up.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Monday Morning Cooking Club
• Visit the author's website: Monday Morning Cooking Club
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)