Review: New cookbook brings chefs together for COVID-19 relief


photo by Ella Waldman

Freshman Ella Waldman prepared the Broccoli and Ancient Grain Salad from “Family Meals: Recipes from Our Community.”

Ella Waldman, Reporter

Vegan Chickpea-Avocado Salad, Mushroom Bolognese and Penne alla Vecchia Bettola are some of the many delicious recipes featured in Penguin Random House’s newest release, “Family Meal: Recipes From Our Community,” which was put together within a matter of months in order to raise money for the Restaurant Workers’ COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. All proceeds from the book go towards that cause. 

The relief fund partnered with the Southern Smoke Foundation to provide financial assistance to restaurants. The fund also helps nonprofits that are supporting restaurant workers and created a loan program for small businesses to help them reopen. 

With contributions from Bobby Flay, Alison Roman, Claire Saffitz and many other prominent chefs, the cookbook has a variety of different styles, flavors and techniques. The result is an amazing cookbook that people can utilize while stuck at home.

In this sense, the book is very similar to food magazines like Bon Appétit, which also features many different styles of foods and ways to make them. 

Because the book contains so many different cuisines, I decided to make dishes that were very different from one another. I made the Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza, the Broccoli and Ancient Grain Salad, the Salmon Veracruz and the Sweet Noodle Kugel. 

The recipes were easy to follow and resulted in delicious food that my whole family could enjoy. 

Along with the recipes, each chef included a short introduction before their recipe. Many of them included notes about the dish, where it was developed, why it is such an important recipe to them, and why the recipe is unique.

These recipes are not dishes you will find at the chefs’ restaurants; instead, they are recipes that the chefs make at home for comfort. The introductions illustrated this and gave insight into why the chefs love these recipes so much. 

The cookbook is very inexpensive at only $5.99, but it is only available digitally. Because it was digital, I found myself having to constantly turn my Kindle back on and find the pages of the recipes I was making. Eventually, I grew tired of flipping back and forth and decided to take pictures of the recipes and print them out. 

Despite this one difficulty, this cookbook is a worthwhile buy. It offers delicious recipes and supports a good cause. I definitely recommend buying this cookbook to add some new dishes to your quarantine menu.