Beautiful Platters & Delicious Boards looks really pretty, as in it has many attractive and colorful picture. I had a good time with my New Year’s experiment with this trend (using a different cookbook), and I was hoping for some more ideas as March is not just birthday month, but also this year, it’s a decade-change. This requires more extensive food-fun. That said, it turns out, this was not the book for that. It’s all a big lie.
This book has quite a few recipes for hand-food and munchies, such as you might expect of a platter or board arrangement. Some of the more interesting ones include stout brownies, veggie samosas, candied walnuts, and herbed crackers. It’s organized by season which I also appreciated.
There are three big problems though. First, there’s a lot of fried stuff. I know how to fry somewhat, but I try to avoid a lot of that kind of thing for obvious reasons, and most fried foods doen’t keep well. Soggy zucchini fritters or cold empanadas just do not sound good to me, and definitely not celebratory. Problem two is the uneven focus on scratch and pre-made or really basic components. Macarons might be a fun new baking challenge, but a recipe for peach galette that calls for “1 pie crust” with no indication of a recipe for that or preferred brand or type of crust (deep dish, pre-formed, etc) in the ingredients list seems an odd contrast. Likewise, do you really think someone who needs/wants an actual full recipe for guacamole is ready for making their own cultured butter?
Problem three is the worst one: there is absolutely no discussion or advice for how one might combine any collection of items into a platter or board. All there is about the concept that covers half the title of the book is a few paragraphs in which there is indeed the claim, ”That freewheeling nature, which is at the center of so much of the excitement that builds around the serving board, can also make it difficult to know exactly what should go on the board. To make it easier, we have picked out some of our favorite boards to serve as sources of inspiration”. LIES!!!!! There are plenty of pictures of boards, but no advice, no words to make sure I know what each item in the picture is (one fried thing looks like most of the other fried things; same for a lot of the dips). Good thing this was a library book; having paid money for this would have only added to the insult. No wonder no person wanted to have their name listed for author credit.