There have been quite a few books aiming to change the way we think about and cook dinner lately, and Dinner Changing the Game by Melissa Clark is the newest one to land in my hands.
For some reason this cover reminds me of Food52’s A New Way to Dinner. Similar title, similar colors… maybe it’s just me. Regardless, it’s a solid cover. The arrangement is appetizing, it’s simple but interesting, the title and author are clearly visible. The book itself feels nice in the hand.
Melissa Clark has some interesting ideas that she puts forth in this book. I love the different ways she gives to roast a chicken! She gives instructions for whole roasted, spatchcocked, and her own splayed idea for chickens, along with reasons why you might want to try each method. There’s also a speedy roasted chicken in this book where the chicken is cut into parts, which is always nice.
Many of the recipes here take familiar concepts (roasted chicken, meatballs, pasta, etc.) and put a little twist on them. For example, many new to me ingredients or ingredients I have tried but haven’t used much are included in this book, such as sumac, pomegranate molasses, harissa, preserved lemons (these are popping up everywhere and I need/want to try them so bad! Need to do this!), kimchi, Za’atar and more. You can find information on them in their own little ingredient section, which I always find helpful.
There are a LOT of recipes in this book. They are split into quite a few sections: chicken; meat:pork, beef, veal, lamb, duck & turkey; the grind; fish & seafood; eggs; pasta & noodles; tofu (& a touch of seitan); beans, legumes & vegetable dinners; rice, farro, quinoa & other grains; pizzas & pies; soups; salads that mean it; and dips, spreads & go withs. Whew, that’s a lot to type out, but just looking at the number of sections can give you an idea of how many recipes are in here!
The author is good at explaining her dishes and how they work, and her goal is to make things as unfussy as possible. While I don’t find this book particularly fussy, I don’t find it particularly unfussy either.
Also, Melissa Clark explains in the beginning that she means to change the game by giving us choices and skills to make cooking dinner a delight rather than a chore. She also says, however, that the first time you make one of these recipes it may take 30 minutes, the next time 25, and the third time just barely longer than it takes the most time consuming ingredient to cook. While I believe this is true, I don’t see it as changing the game, I see it as a normal result of practice.
Am I being nitpicky? Perhaps. But I just don’t see the way this book changes the game. It does, however, have many delightful and approachable recipes. Definitely try to get your hands on it, this one is a nice one!
Please note that I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for my honest review. You can find more information on the book here