Bare Minimum Dinners: Recipes and Strategies for Doing Less in the Kitchen

Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9780358434719. pap. $18.99. COOKING
This collection by Helwig, food director at Real Simple, has an inspired premise and delightful recipes. The cookbook’s four well-explored themes—30-minute meals; one-pan meals; seven-ingredient or fewer meals; and slow cooker meals (here mixed with a multicooker)—together create one masterful guide to getting dinner on the table, no matter the obstacles of the evening. The recipes are simple (sometimes only two steps), and readers who are comfortable in the kitchen will enjoy Helwig’s encouragement to substitute ingredients to suit their pantry. While the recipes are written for the confident home chef, the introductory information, as well as a few personal anecdotes, seem to be geared toward novice cooks doing things like buying fresh greens for the first time. Helwig’s friendly and accessible tone includes such words of wisdom as her “Nine Commandments for Bare Minimum Dinners” and “Perfectly Acceptable Store-Bought Sides,” which may seem preachy, but the blog-style writing will appeal to many readers. The book doesn’t offer many vegetarian or gluten-free options.
VERDICT A worthwhile consideration for all libraries, but note that the book is published in paperback and might not withstand high circulation.
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