family-meals-Oh . . . my goodness.  I have never been this giddy about a cookbook before.  And I have loved many a cookbook.

Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen by Maria Helm Sinskey is not a quick fix meal plan book for busy families.  Instead it encourages families to spend time together in the kitchen by giving detailed instructions and recipes to make from scratch.  Some of the recipes include homemade ricotta cheese and homemade pasta and omelettes stuffed with brie and smoked salmon, crab cakes, bread-n-butter pickles, puffy apple oven pancakes . . . sounding good yet?   Most of those I just listed probably wouldn’t appeal to my picky eaters if I made them by myself, but I am hoping that by establishing a stronger tradition of cooking more together, they will eventually come around.  And if not, more for me!

Family Meals completely captures the life I have often pictured for my family—slow paced, relaxed, simple.   I usually envision living that way on a small pumpkin patch somewhere in New England with a golden retriever running around our huge farm we’ll use mainly for horseback riding.  But since it seems that dream will be shelved for some time, I suppose I can do my best for now with this book.

It is packed with beautiful photography and is printed on high quality matte finish paper.  It’s just gorgeous.

On a side note, I read a review of it on amazon that was quite helpful.  She explained how wonderful the book was, but then noted how the book has a recipe for pork tenderloin that directs to cook the pork until it registers 140 degrees.  Though I have heard that pork is now one of the cleanest animals in the US, I would agree with the reviewer and cook mine to 165 degrees.  She also said that in the chapter where Sinskey teaches how to make your own sourdough starter, the recipe says to use organic grapes.  The reviewer cautions to only use unwashed, organic grapes that you can be sure of their origin.  So in that case, I would suggest that when you make your own sourdough starter, you somehow find yourself a friend who grows their own grapes without pesticides, and use those.