2 out of 5 stars.
I would like to thank Ten Speed Press for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.
As you can from the score, this cook book wasn’t for me. This doesn’t make it a bad cook book; it’s just one I got very little out of. Please realise the following is meant as constructive criticism as to why I didn’t like it, and not just a stab at the author or their ability.
It was the opening pages, where it gave instructions on how to make coconut milk, which initially put me off. Part of the instructions was that, after straining the liquid from the pulp, you discard the pulp. This boggled my mind as – with ANY nut milk making – I put my pulp on an oven tray and dry it in the oven on a low heat before blitzing in my food processor and making it into nut flour. So to have a cook book encourage the discarding of the pulp in the first few pages… yeah, it just put me in the wrong mood to read on I guess.
But read on I did and, yes, there were some interesting recipes… but nothing that original for me. I grew up in the tropical north of Australia and has heavily influenced by Asian cuisine, so using coconut in savoury dishes is really a no brainer for me. Plus there are some far better cook books out there that show you how to make the best of it in such dishes.
It may have been my fault in the way I had hoped this would be more about baking with coconut in its different forms, so the fact there was barely any baking in the book was another disappointment and probably made me score it as low as I did.
I cook, bake and make with coconut nearly daily. Mostly in the forms of coconut flour, coconut milk (or a coconut rice milk blend), coconut nectar, coconut sugar or shredded coconut, but I sometimes play with raw too. Here in Australia we don’t seem to NEED to sweeten our dried coconut – that alone is mind boggling too. So using coconut is not a new thing for me. Maybe if it was, this book would have been better? The use of coconut for beginners maybe?
To me, this book was a bit of a letdown, but I do feel it could be more due to my perceptions of what I hoped it would be, rather than what it actually was being bad. If that makes sense?
The chunky, all over the place formatting and paragraphs mid-sentence in some recipes didn’t help me like it any more either. Perhaps it just caught me on a bad day? But this book really wasn’t for me.
Would I recommend this book to others?
Sadly, no. I will say again I don’t feel it is really a BAD book… I just didn’t find it that interesting or its recipes that unique or original. Very much a ‘been there, done that already’ read for me. I’m sure there are many people who will love it, but it won’t be on my recommendation.
Would I buy this book for myself?
No. See all of the above. I’m sorry, I really am sorry to give such a doom and gloom review and please don’t take it to heart! It is just meant as constructive criticism as to why this one, tiny little reader didn’t enjoy it. I am sure there is an audience out there who will love it and scorn my review. Let’s hope they buy this book instead! 😉
In summary: Yes – it IS a cook book that uses coconut. No – it’s not one I would recommend, buy or use. But I am sure I am in the minority and it’s going to do well with those who haven’t worked much with coconut until now.
Until next time,