Today I had the huge privilege of going to my favorite kind of work event. It wasn’t about a brand, although two great brands – KitchenAid and Glad – were both sponsors. No, today was more personal: a chance to get together with friends to celebrate one of our own, a blogger and all-around wonderful person who is seeing one of her dreams come true with the publication of her cookbook, Homemade With Love.
My friend Jennifer Perillo has had lows and highs in the past year and a half that I can only imagine. Her cookbook isn’t just about food, it’s also about love and family. Her husband Mikey was her cooking muse, and she lost him in August 2011. Her love for him – and of cooking for him and their daughters – infuses the pages of the book and seeps into the recipes.
The day my book arrived from Amazon I took it to bed with me, thinking I would just read the intro and flip through it. I stayed up for hours reading the entire thing. I lost count of how many times I teared up.
And today, I got to eat a lot of that food. It’s not the first time I’ve eaten Jennifer’s food, but this time was different because every time I tasted something and ooh-ed and aah-ed, I knew I had the recipe waiting for me at home.
Jennifer spent the first part of the event madly cranking out dishes from her tiny kitchen, and when she insisted that we all start eating I wasn’t shy. I started with some creamy homemade ricotta, chickpea salad, homemade cheese crackers, and of course a cupcake.
Then I moved on to the pastas: one with pesto, one with a delicious red sauce and lentil-ricotta meat(less)balls. Everything was wonderful and backed up the book’s premise: good food is not complicated. Start with simple, healthy ingredients, add Jennifer’s techniques and instructions, and the results will be amazing.
The kids and I just got home last night from Spring Break in Buffalo visiting my mom, and now I’m on a plane headed to California for a few days for a work event. By the time I get home I’ll have gone nine days without cooking or baking anything, and will probably be in withdrawal. I already know what I’m going to make first, and I copied the recipes from Jennie’s book last night so that I could put in a grocery order while I was away and have the ingredients ready to go when I get home. I can’t wait. I’ll make sure to report back.
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