After opening The New Art of Cooking for the fifth time this week and the umpteenth time this month, I am convinced that I must share it with all of you. A few months ago, I was delighted to discover that Frankie Unsworth wrote a book. It seemed very natural to me, after following her work for some time and witnessing the magic in the photos and recipes that she creates. There is a humble, understated elegance in Frankie’s style that is unmistakable.
I received the book as a Christmas present, and I couldn’t put it down until I studied every word and photograph. I brought it to a cabin in northern BC, read it by the wood fire while snowflakes tumbled down the windows outside, and continued to read it back at home in Vancouver until I had extracted every last drop. At the end, I knew I wouldn’t be finished with it, and I knew that I had to write about it, too.
Frankie’s delightful writing and striking style causes me to think of preparing, cooking, and presenting food in a way that displays its natural beauty. Since reading the book, I find myself in the kitchen thinking about how I can best slice these onions, show off the colour of this mango, or pep up these radishes. When in doubt, I pick up the book and quickly flip back to a recipe or paragraph that I can be sure will guide me in the right direction. The writing and imagery provide a true sense of the taste and feeling of the food that you will create.
The book is approachable and down-to-earth, two qualities that I am sure are reminiscent of Frankie herself. She gives lifts to typical recipes from different cultures, so there is truly something for everyone. I learned plenty just from the first section, “Preparing Ingredients Beautifully”, which details different ways to prepare and cook every fruit, vegetable, legume, or raw ingredient that you can think of. It is a goldmine for anyone looking to improve the way they approach cooking, or if you feel like you have a good visual style and cooking technique, but lack that spark to bring them together.
I would classify The New Art of Cooking as a modern day home economics book. It is not a textbook — rather, it is a thoughtfully written compilation of Frankie’s know-how that she has built from her diverse experiences. Among these, of course, her prolific work as a food stylist and recipe developer. The book’s subtitle, “a modern guide to preparing and styling delicious food”, should come as no surprise after a quick visit to her Instagram profile. A secondary theme in the book is preparing food for others: how to set a table, create a mood, and share our abundances. This aspect, in particular, I cannot wait to put into practice.
Buy her book and read every word. It’s worth it.
Disclaimer: This is an honest, unsolicited review. I have not received compensation in any form nor been asked to write this. I simply love the book.