Emily, the Cookbook by Emily and Matthew Hyland was my selection for Cookbook of the Month during the month of December. I can’t recall exactly what prompted me to purchase this book in the first place, but I believe it might have been flipping through a copy at my bestie’s house. Certainly the thing that really drew me in was the promise of homemade Detroit-style pizza, a pizza that I think doesn’t get nearly enough hype. After owning the book for literally an entire year and never actually making anything from it, it seemed a perfect candidate for this new monthly feature so I could become better acquainted with it.
The book is divided into the following sections:
This book has many strengths, chief among them a large number of truly irresistible and crave worthy dishes. Even though I cooked many recipes, there are still so many I would love to try. The pizzas and cocktails in particular are excellent. I have made many a pizza dough recipe over the years, and while I have a few favorites, I actually think this dough will be my go-to from here on out. The flavor, texture, and ease in working with the dough are top notch in my opinion. Some recipes were so fantastic that we made them up to three times in the same month, which is a rarity in my kitchen since I’m always wanting to try new things. This was an especially fun book to cook from with friends and all of the food was perfect for cozy cooking evenings at home.
While the recipes are wonderful in concept and flavor, the actual recipe writing and overall writing quality of the book are quite lacking. This very much feels like what it is – the cookbook of a restaurant which gained immense popularity, and a cookbook was the logical next step. Some of the recipes are missing actual steps (an ingredient is listed, but then omitted in the directions) and some have crucial notes on technique that are laid out in such a way that you might easily overlook them. Additionally, the narrative associated with the recipes was uneven and lackluster. It often felt like there had been no editing at all. This doesn’t affect the outcomes of the recipes, but as someone who adores a well written narrative to accompany recipes, this book was underwhelming. One more pet peeve of mine is when dishes are photographed in a way that doesn’t accurately reflect the way the recipe is written. This was true of a couple of recipes in the book and it did annoy me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still very glad to have this book in my collection. I have found many favorite recipes that will continue to be on repeat in our repertoire going forward, and still a long list of others I want to try. If you are into Detroit-style pizza or curious about making your own at home, and if you love easy drinking, well balanced cocktails, this book is your jam.