MacCarthy – I hereby worship the ground you walk on.
More than just a cookbook, this release provides life hacks and lipstick lessons for those who need it.
Emmylou MacCarthy is, most importantly, a “self-confidence advocate” for women, along with being a popular Instagrammer. She teaches how to whip up a simple but impressive meal and to look good while you’re doing it.
As a bloke, I can’t say that her lessons in how to tie a turban head scarf (page 100) or nail the perfect brow (page 128) were of any use, but her various tips are sure to come in handy for her target audience and some Mars Bar performers too. Her instructions are simple to follow and offer photographic step-by-step instructions. If only I wanted to know them!
The chapter headings include Weeknight Favourites, Comfort Food, Entertaining, something about healthy stuff, and a couple of others about sweet things. The recipes are supported by a useful index and photography by Mark Roper.
The most delightful aspect of this cookbook is its reality check about the foods we like. That’s not to say it attempts to convince you to munch on a lettuce leaf. Rather, it gives you the recipes to go forth and indulge. For those on a health kick however, there are plenty of salad and vegetable meals to keep the diet clean. Sausage Rolls, Quiche, party platters and Ice Cream Sandwiches sit alongside salads, skewered meat, and a Vegan Apple & Berry Crumble.
Confidence in the Kitchen is a colourful and marvellous cookbook that promotes body positivity and an appreciation of food. What the book sadly lacks in font size, it makes up for with many tips and tricks, including How to Build a Killer Grazing Table (page 80), Make Your Own Cake Stand (page 205), and the aforementioned beauty tips.
I took MacCarthy’s lead in selecting a couple of recipes to sample – I opted for the simple, despite being tempted by many other meals. My greatest food critic is my son, who went back for seconds – a sure sign of success for both my cooking and MacCarthy’s excellent instructions.
Beef and Apple Rissoles (page 36)
If ever there was any doubt, I can now confirm that I am an utter glutton. The sweetness of the apple was quite subtle in these rissoles, but the combined herbs and other ingredients made these meatballs so delicious that I made myself feel ill from over-indulging. My son did too. For cooking, I flattened them into meat patties because I was short on time, but the shape doesn’t affect the flavour and OMG, you need to try these. Seriously. You do.
Zesty Broccolini with Slivered Almonds (page 144)
I deliberately chose the most boring sounding dish for two reasons: I wanted to cook something healthy and the recipe was too easy to even rate a mention. What shocked me was just how good this side-dish turned out. It was an ideal accompaniment to the meatballs and is a meal that I would happily eat on its own to feel good about myself. Who knew broccolini could be anything but boring? MacCarthy – I hereby worship the ground you walk on.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: October 2020