It should come as no surprise to some of you that I have a bit of a girl chef crush on Anne Burrell.  Her passion for food and cooking is not only adorable, it’s completely infectious. I almost wish I was a bad cook so I could go on Worst Cooks in America with the hope of ending up on her team.  Her tough love approach with her charges is no nonsense but kind of nurturing at the same time. But if you don’t respect the ingredients…watch it!

For Christmas, a friend who loves and knows me, gave me Anne’s cookbook called Cook like a Rock Star. Well ok Anne, I think I’m up for the challenge…when I have time anyway. I’ve managed to read the book and go through the recipes, but haven’t had a chance to make anything. I’m a busy lass.  Or, alternatively, lazy. You can decide…but keep it to yourself. I prefer to think I’m just uber busy leading my very glamorous life. So, this review is about layout and form moreso than the recipes. But let’s face it…they are not going to suck.

This book is gorgeous. It could be a recipe in and of itself, it looks that yummy.  It’s set up in a farily logical order of little nibbles (Piccoolini), Firsts, Pasta, Seconds, Sides and Desserts but with a little bit of an Anne twist. SIdes are known as the sparkle factor. And honestly…when you eat out, don’t sides play a big role in the decision making process? Or, is that just me? Anyone?

Moving along…

Here is thing that absolutely sends me over the moon about the book; at the beginning of the recipe, Anne lists what the Mise en Place should be.  For those that don’t know (and why don’t you?) mise en place is the organizing of ingredients in a professional kitchen. But you can do it at home and you should. It makes life a lot easier. I do this as a general rule, no matter what I’m making.  I also set up my ingredients before I start to actually cook. With most recipes/cookbooks, you have to go through the recipe and pull out your mise en place. Anne does it for you. That’s a big honking deal in my book. And it’s something that makes the book user friendly. See? Anne wants you to succeed.  She’s setting you up for cooking success.

She also introduces each recipe and her history with it. I like that. It’s kind of warm and friendly.  It also includes explanations on techniques like braising and browning, trusssing, pasta cooking, etc.  I like that too. I like learning more about techniques and learning new ones. Even if I don’t think I’ll ever do it (I am not sure I’ll ever need to truss anything but I guess you never know) but I like having the knowledge.

Here is my one problem with book; it makes me hungry. Seriously, everything in it is so appetizing to me and all of the photos look so good that it took me ages to read because it would invariably make me hungry.  And then my eyes would start to glaze over with throughts of zucchini and parm fritters, bucatini, spice roasted cauliflower and pear tarte tatin. For someone like me who thinks about food almost constantly (no, I really do…it makes Weight Watchers a challenge sometimes), getting through a book where almost everything appeals to me is a challenge. But, that’s a good problem to have.

So, there is some definite worth and fun and love of food to be had from Anne’s book. I highly recommend it!