Big Love Cooking is a welcome collection of good recipes that reflect a love of good food that sets instead of follows trends. Joey Campanaro dedicated this book to his mother and grandmother and for good reason, their recipes and their food aesthetic form the foundation of his cooking, and many of their recipes are included. There are eight chapters with around ten recipes in each one. Most of the chapters, though, are organized by the main ingredients, not by the meals. The exceptions are the opening chapter on brunch and the closing chapters for “Sunday Supper” and desserts.

Big Love Cooking is full of the kind of recipes I want to make, pasta, meatballs, roasted chicken, pizza, and biscuits. There are exquisite details that elevate the recipes such as a dash of molasses and oregano in the pizza dough or sausage incorporated right into the biscuits. The recipes are amply illustrated with photos that make everything look delicious.

The recipes all have a bit of introduction and very detailed instructions. Ingredients are given in American and the rest of the world’s measurements. He also provides details on what you should stock your pantry and the kind of kitchen equipment necessary. This is a great idea. I would, however, move the chapter on stocking the pantry and buying equipment until the end simply because it takes several pages of reading before getting to the first recipe.

This book could actually be very helpful for inexperienced cooks because the instructions are so clear. However, it is designed in such a way that it might intimidate someone from even trying. These are almost all design elements, not part of the author’s recipes. The ingredients are double spaced and even salt and pepper have their own lines every time telling us Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Of course, he must include salt and pepper, but why not one line? The double-spacing makes the ingredient list feel longer than it is. A few times I nearly balked at a recipe, thinking it looked like more trouble than I wanted to deal with. However, reading the recipe, it was not that long or complicated, it just seemed that way.

Nonetheless, everything sounds delicious and I can vouch for the pizza dough. It’s spectacular.

I received an e-galley of Big Love Cooking from the publisher through NetGalley

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