Sunday, August 21, 2011

Super Natural Every Day: Earnest Summation

I spent a lot of time analyzing my relationship with Super Natural Every Day while I was having the relationship. Here's what it was like: like dating an impossibly beautiful, cool, and graceful person who you really want to mesh with, but don't, quite. Like The Way We Were, and you're Barbra Streisand.

I admire this book a lot. I admire the sensibility, the aesthetic, the photography, the principles of restraint and mindfulness that underpin every gorgeous page. But I'm just not that restrained or mindful and the food -- simple vegetarian dishes --  wasn't what I, or the people I live with, wanted to eat.

Except when it was! There were some big hits. So the spread here is very unusual.

Of the 23 recipes I cooked from Super Natural Every Day:

worth the price of the book -- 2 (lemony yogurt on the outstanding farro soup; broccoli gribiche)
great -- 5 (I craved the white beans and cabbage and Swanson's oatcakes.)
good -- 5
so-so -- 9
flat-out bad -- 2

For the record, here the designations "so-so" and "flat-out bad" reflect sharp differences in taste, not recipe glitches. At this house, we simply like sweet things sweeter, cheesy things cheesier, alcoholic drinks more alcoholic, and we're not lovers of millet and tempeh. I wish we were, but we're not. Still: an exquisite cookbook, with some excellent recipes. This book stays.


  1. That's kind of how I feel when I read her blog - almost like I'm in a store where I find everything is beautiful but not quite "me".

  2. I just picked up the book, after having seen it here. It is gorgeous. Ten Speed Press did a knockout job.

    I'm really excited to try a number of things -- the farro soup, the cabbage and white beans, the yogurt biscuits, the baked oatmeal, the rye crepes. But this may indeed turn out to be like the time I bought a bunch of fancy makeup at the department store, wore it for a week or two, and then went back to my, uh, shall we say "fresh-faced" look.

  3. just for the record, plain polenta (as a side dish) is neither cheesy nor buttery. Just cook it with water and salt and you have a great side dish.
    And I think I will buy that second african cooking book now. It sounds like something I need!

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