My friend Jennie’s first book has hit the shelves. Run to your local purveyor of books and buy Homemade With Love. Now. DO it. I promise you won’t regret it. I have seen Jennie’s book on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, listed on Amazon, and perched among the upcoming visiting authors shelf at my favorite local book store, the inimitable Quail Ridge Books. I squee every time I see the book and drag my boys along to run my fingers along Jennie’s name on the cover. I could weep with pride. And truth be told, I have.
Right after I bought the book, Bird, Deal, and I stole away to the children’s section of Quail Ridge to flip through the pages and prioritize what we wanted to cook. By “we” I mean “me.” Jennie’s blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen, is our family’s go-to recipe file anyway so I knew everything in her book would be fantastic. We have dogeared several recipes, including chicken pot pie, ricotta meatballs, fennel salad, and everything in the sweets department. For dinner tonight we settled on mussels. We have had some pretty good mussels, and Bird enjoyed some in Boston’s Little Italy that left us all wishing we had ordered what he did. Those mussels serve as the bar to which all other mussels must strive.
And Jennie’s did just that.
Let me put it this way, Bird, Deal, and I ate the amount of mussels that would normally serve all four of us. Mac Daddy missed out tonight. We had some crusty sourdough bread to sop up the creamy juiciness and enjoyed a spinach salad with shaved parmesan and a lemon/mandarin orange vinaigrette. For a moment there I thought Deal was going to dunk his head into the large bowl of broth and lap it up Lark style (Lark is our dog…you get the picture.).
Find the recipe on page 119.
No good meal is complete without a sweet treat, and since today is the last day of spring break, we indulged all day long. The boys have wonderful memories of visiting Jennie and her girls in Brooklyn and asked for an egg cream from Jennie’s book. We enjoyed a daily egg cream in Brooklyn, and the maple was a family favorite. Tonight Bird and Deal slurped down a chocolate egg cream and marveled at how easy it was to make (code for “We should have one everyday.”) and said it reminded them of Brooklyn. It was a statement that made me realize that we have indeed eaten In Jennie’s Kitchen. And that, my friends, was a treat. You should know that Jennie has even eaten in my kitchen, but anything delightful that came from that experience was due to Jennie doing the cooking.
Find this recipe on page 207.
While I can’t grant you an invitation to Jennie’s kitchen, you can eat just like you were seated at her table (the very table photographed in her book, which made my boys beam since they
spilled food and left crumbs ate at it too).
Jennie is my dear friend so I can understand you might find me full of hyperbole when writing about her book. Let’s celebrate a Roger Ebert moment and see what the real critics have to say.