Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over

Clarkson Potter: Crown. Oct. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9780451497017. $32.50. COOKING
New York Times food columnist and Instagram star Roman, perhaps best known for her viral salted chocolate chunk shortbread cookie recipe, delivers a fun and practical twist on “having people over” (don’t call it entertaining). Roman provides readers with simple and attainable recipes perfect for casual social occasions, from a DIY Martini Bar and a “not-crudite” platter to easy roast meats and lemony turmeric tea cake. Although there are some vegetarian, vegan, and “accidentally” gluten-free offerings, Roman makes room for dishes with butter, cheese, and tinned fish as well. Many recipes contain ingenious culinary nuggets: the “reverse sear” for slow-cooked cuts of meat, or roasted butternut squash with the seeds left in for extra crunch and a toasty flavor. Roman’s trademark wit shines through in breezy, opinionated asides (“a formal apology to leeks”), while stylish photography and a refreshing design lend an up-to-the-minute feel to a cookbook with all the makings of a contemporary classic.
VERDICT If Roman’s wildly popular first cookbook, Dining In, is any indication, this title will be in high demand; recommended as a first purchase.
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