Cookbook Review: The Family Table Slow Cooker by Dominique DeVito

Note: I received a digital advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

While I do love my slow cooker and believe in its magic, I have to admit that I'm not always the best at using it. So I was understandably excited to get this ARC and make better use of this contraption that is otherwise gathering dust in my closet. While this may not be the book to change that completely, I did find a number of interesting and delicious-looking recipes within its pages that have me ready to dig it out of storage.

That's mostly because this book is full of recipes! Really, there's a terrific amount. For the most part, they are targeted towards families as the title would imply, as they are unfussy, straightforward, and sure to please a number of palates. There's not many exotic, gourmet ingredients here or complicated restaurant-style dishes. Just honest, commonly found grocery staples put to good use in recipes like Stuffed Mushrooms, Spicy Shrimp Scampi, and Super-Simple Split Pea Soup. There are also some more international offerings, like Indonesian Chicken Curry and Tandoori Chicken, but for the most part, the recipes lean American. For me, this was a disappointment, as my palate is more diverse and adventurous than most of the recipes in here. For families and new cooks, this is ideal, and I can see why this was the direction DeVito took.

The book definitely skews more instructional rather than conversational. The little blurbs before every recipe are mostly there to explain an unusual dish, offer serving suggestions, or give other little tidbits of advice. It's less personal than a lot of the cookbooks I tend to favor, and DeVito doesn't do much to inject her personality in the pages. She's there to dispense recipes, not life stories.

What was a bigger complaint for me was that a lot of the recipes involve cook times that range between 2-6 hours. As someone who is usually out of the house for 8-10 hours on weekdays, these recipes are less practical, as they would require a programmable slow cooker and also being okay with your food being kept on the "warm" function for half the day. These are best for people with more flexible schedules or whose days keep them centered around the house, less for the full-time worker.

One big plus is that the book itself is bright, accessible, and colorful in its design, which gives it instant visual appeal. The pages are simple and uncluttered, with recipes laid out neatly and little tips on the bottom to streamline prep or add variety to the standard recipes. While there isn't a photo for every recipe, there are enough photos to get you inspired to cook, and the photos themselves are vibrant and beautifully styled.

While it may not be a staple on my bookshelf, there are a number of recipes that I do want to try out, and it fills a niche that was much needed in my household.

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

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