I like cookbooks, both to use and to read. I also like the tv show Queer Eye, although I’m behind on the most recent season. I’ve seen and heard some things about the current food guy, Antoni, so when I saw his cookbook, I kind of had to pick it up and see. The biggest thing I was curious about was what kind of food does Antoni do when he’s not necessarily trying to show someone the basics? The biggest critique on him I noticed when the show was revived was that all he seemed to do was no-cooking kinds of things like guacamole, then Ted Allen (original food guy on the first version and Antoni’s boss for a while) came to his defense saying that he (Antoni) actually can cook.
This is not a cookbook I would buy to use. This is a trendy cookbook in the worst way, and honestly, it kind of matches the non-cooking thing Antoni was getting grief for. There’s a surprising amount of pre-prepared things in many of the recipes, and a substantial number of them don’t involve much cooking. There’s a lot of slicing or combining things, and piling them up artistically. The book seems to be less about cooking and more about Antoni being pictured in tight white t-shirts, maybe shopping in a farmer’s market, and talking about himself (mostly biographical stuff).
That’s not to say there aren’t any good worth-trying recipes in the book. There really are, but for me the problem is that most of them are more for entertaining, as in dips and munchie platters of various sorts. Things like “Olive oil and pepper-marinated watermelon bites with halloumi” or “Ricotta with pickled wild mushrooms, toasted hazelnuts, and honey” actually do sound tasty. Radishes dipped in herbed butter and served cold however sounds terrible. Why would anyone think eating cold butter is anything other than slightly salty grease? If it were warmed, and the butter melted, this would not be the finger food it’s supposed to be here, but at least it might taste good.
For the mains and things, again, a few things sound good, but a lot of it seems incomplete or lacking somehow. For example, “Easy Bastardized Ramen” looks and sound pretty good, and it involves ingredients you can find anywhere, no need to try and track down things like bonito or seaweed; I don’t live in an area that has these things in local grocery stores, and I do not like using Amazon to order food items. But then you get to things like “Hanger steak with charred limes, fresh chilis, and herbs”. Just meat and a sauce basically, and not ideas about what else to do with it. To me, this is a) not a meal or even a complete main, and b) lazy in not providing ideas of what to pair it with.
Honestly, this book seems to confirm those criticism of Antoni more than anything else. I would add he seems to be more into foodie trendiness more than any real love of food and cooking. It may not be how the real person he really is actually is, but that’s sure how he comes off in his book.
Good thing I got this from the library, since now I get to give it right back.