Cookbook Review: Grazing by Julie Van Rosendaal

For someone who loves to throw parties at the drop of a hat, getting my hands on this book was like finding that cookie jar meticulously hidden away by Mom! Friends and family will swear to you that when I decide to throw a party, food is all, if not the ONLY thing that sits on my mind for most days prior to the event in question. Hubby Dear can attest to the fact that I call him during office hours simply to discuss menus with him. Not that he has much say in it, except for what he would like to eat himself at the party.For a girl like me who loves to excite and impress her guests with tiny tid-bits of food that not only buffer ongoing conversation, but become topics to discuss in length themselves, Julie gives me eactly what I’m looking for. From dips you can sink your heart into, daintily filled phyllo packages, lip-smacking favourites, to sweet litlle bundles of sugar, she takes you on a wonderful ride through the fabulous world of miniature food.

The first time I sat down with Grazing, I couldn’t help but run to get my sticky markers (the mini post-it stickies that I can’t live without!) to mark the recipes I just knew I had to try. No matter how much I try and contain my excitement everytime I flip through a page of the book, it always seems to drive me to my kitchen. Now, I’m not a fan of cookbooks that do not have a story to tell. There have been ample times when I picked up a great looking cover, only to place it down again because it lacked what I’d like to call, a soul. True, great photographs do make you swoon, but I’d rather know a little something about the essence of the dish than what it could look like. I’m a firm believer that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and I’ll gladly try out a recipe that might not look too appetizing, but has a strong conviction to back it up.

And here’s exactly where Julie’s book breaks all my ground rules. With very few (but highly delectable) photographs to allure your taste buds, and no inside tales to gossip over, Julie hits the nail right where it’s meant to be. The 100 or so recipes truly stand out for themselves leaving very less to imagination. The simplicity of it all tells you than you can expect yourself to be blown away by it’s smartness and mingling flavours. As a crazy woman who’s sole resolution for the year was to throw at least ONE party each month, I couldn’t be happier to get my hands on this treasure trove. And if you’re one of those who love to munch through a meal without the guilt of eating a 10-lb steak, then I’d suggest you jump in on the bandwagon. You see, the book is only filled with munchies, food in its miniest (if that’s even a word!) size, and perfect for those who like me, believe that as long as it’s tiny, it hardly matters how many you ate. After all, how weight can one gain over such a small bite of food, right?

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