The Kitchen Front

BOOK REVIEW

The Kitchen Front is a wonderful book which feels like a World War II based combination of Downton Abbey and the Great British Baking Show. In Fenley Village, England, 1942, Ambrose Hart is reluctantly looking for a radio cohost. His bosses have decided they want a local woman who can help listeners find the best uses for their food rations. A cooking contest begins, and the winner will be Ambrose’s co-host on The Kitchen Front radio show. The four contestants are Audrey, who is trying to raise three sons and wallowing in a mountain of debt, Nell, a kitchen maid who is tired of her poor treatment, Lady Gwendoline Strickland, the haughty grand lady of the manor, who is both Nell’s boss and Audrey’s sister, and Zelda Dupont, an English girl turned London-based French chef who has been forced to cook in a British factory and is not happy about it. As the show progresses, each woman’s life begins to change forever.

I immediately connected with the characters and the story. The “upstairs/downstairs,” “Downton Abbey” type relationship is demonstrated by Lady Gwendoline, Sir Strickland, and their cooks and other staff. The radio show cooking contest reminds me of a World War II radio version of the Great British Baking Show. For the contest, each contestant has to provide a starter, a main dish, and a dessert, all on different episodes of the show. All of the recipes for the contest, plus others mentioned in the story, are included in the book. We are given a window into each contestant’s life, both before and during the contest. Audrey is a grieving war widow. Gwendoline is a neglected wife of a strict and domineering nobleman. Zelda is pregnant and abandoned by the child’s father, and Nell is a young girl who wants to get out of the bonds of service. Interesting tidbits about food and history are included, such as why British sausages are called “bangers,” and how some villagers would run to “Anderson shelters,” to escape the bombings. We even get a little education on World War II era planes. I enjoyed every minute of this book, read it in one day, and will read it again. 

If you love cooking and cooking shows, World War II fiction, and strong female characters, you will enjoy this book.

The Kitchen Front will be released on February 23, 2021. I highly recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer Ryan is the author of National Bestseller THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR, THE SPIES OF SHILLING LANE, and THE KITCHEN FRONT. Her writing has featured in Literary Hub, Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, The Daily Mail, The Irish Times, The Express, BBC Online, YOU Magazine, The Simple Things Magazine, and Good Reading Magazine. Previously a book editor with The Economist, DK, and the BBC, she moved from London to Washington, DC after marrying, and she now lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. Her novels are inspired by her grandmother’s tales of the war in Britain.

JENNIFER RYAN’S WEBSITE

PREORDER THE KITCHEN FRONT
(Released February 23, 2021)

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

BOOKS-A-MILLION

Vegetable Simple

Vegetable simple is a lovely cookbook with gorgeous pictures that provides recipes for vegetables that can be done often in the simplest and freshest ways. My favorite so far is the romaine caesar gratin, where you actually broil the parmesan on the top of the romaine before serving. Ingenious idea. I also want to try the Vidalia Onion Risotto and Vegetable Lasagna. In the summer when garden tomatoes are available I plan to try Tomato Croque Sel.

There are a few recipes that are not as simple as the title implies, but overall this book uses recipes with fresh ingredients and simple methods to help you prepare wonderful and healthy food.

I received a free advance review digital copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

This book will be released April 20, 2021.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Ripert is the chef and co-owner of the New York restaurant Le Bernardin, which holds three Michelin stars and has maintained a four-star rating from The New York Times for more than two decades. He is vice chairman of the board of City Harvest, a New York-based food rescue organization, as well as a recipient of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor. He serves as a regular guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and is the host of his own TV series, Avec Eric, which has won Emmy and James Beard awards. Ripert is the author of five cookbooks—My Best: Eric RipertAvec EricOn the LineA Return to Cooking, and Le Bernardin: Four Star Simplicity—and a New York Times bestselling memoir, 32 Yolks.

Link to Preorder Vegetable Simple

Link to My Goodreads Review

Plant Based Cookbook

Plant-Based Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Melissa Petitto is a gorgeous book filled with tempting plant-based recipes. It is divided into seasons, which I think is so important because it gives you a chance to use vegetables and fruits that are available and fresh in the current season.

The recipes I will be trying soon, as we are in between the Fall and Winter seasons, are the Fall Bean and Butternut Squash Minestrone, the Baked Apple Cider Donuts, and the Brussels Sprout, Apple, Turnip and Mandarin Slaw. There are many other tempting recipes for every season.

Each section includes a list of in-season vegetables and fruits. This book is all about using fresh, available, in-season fruits and vegetables to create delicious, plant-based meals. The photos are gorgeous and plentiful. The recipes are detailed and helpful. I recommend this book to anyone who follows a plant-based way of eating, plus anyone who wants to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Link to the Book on Amazon

Link to Melissa Petitto’s website

Chasing Flavor

Chasing Flavor is an amazing cookbook by Dan Kluger that is true to its name and helps you get the absolute best flavor into your food. He starts with suggestions for pantry and kitchen equipment to help you make his recipes. He shows different techniques, such as how to cut and blanch vegetables, make pasta, and slice brisket. The cookbook is full of great ideas, such as adding pureed cauliflower to tomato soup so you get creaminess without dairy, or turning chicken nuggets into something insanely special by adding a maple chile glaze. 

Among the recipes I plan to try are Cashew Vinaigrette, Crushed Cucumbers with Yogurt and Chiles, Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Parmesan Croutons, Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Fermented Chile Sauce, Grandma Pie, Raisin Stuffed Pork Loin, and Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Warm Potato Salad.

I received a free, temporary digital copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Clean Treats for Everyone

Today we have the first cookbook I’ve reviewed on this blog. Although I review a lot of fiction, I love to cook and I often review cookbooks, so you will see more of those occasionally, especially since the holidays are coming up. Below is my review of Clean Treats for Everyone. It uses natural ingredients to make delicious desserts. Release Date: October 6, 2020.

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I am really enjoying this dessert cookbook. I wouldn’t classify my diet in any particular group. I’m not totally vegan or vegetarian, although I eat many of those types of foods. I don’t really follow any named diet. I’m just someone who wants to try and eat a little better. This cookbook gives me treats that use natural ingredients so that when I do snack, it is in a healthier way.

I have just made the almond cranberry granola bars, which were delicious. The chocolate mug cake is next on my list, and then the lemon bars. However, I will be trying lots of recipes in this book. 

If you want some recipes for some sweet treats made in a healthier way, you will love this cookbook.

I received a free, temporary digital copy of this cookbook from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Link to the Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Clean-Treats-Everyone-Desserts-Ingredients/dp/1592339646/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=clean+treats+for+everyone&qid=1601950441&sr=8-1

Link to the Author’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Fuentes/e/B00IKUA23W/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Link to my Review on Goodreads: (Put a “Like” on it if you are so inclined): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3582398027?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1