RecipeTin Eats Dinner
By Nagi Maehashi (Woodstock, VT: Countryman Press, 2023, 376 pp., $35, hard cover)
Nagi Maehashi is the creator of RecipeTin Eats, a Website that took off internationally with its emphasis on fast, tasty recipes that still uses fresh or whole ingredients. With her giant golden retriever Dozer by her side, Maehashi brings hundreds of meticulously tested recipes to readers, with the goal of making weeknight meals for the average person easier and tastier. “RecipeTin Eats Dinner” is Maehashi’s first cookbook, and includes 150 of her favorite and most popular recipes.
Maehashi began her career in corporate finance, not in a restaurant or kitchen, and is a fully self-taught home cook, recipe tester and Website creator. The specificity and clarity she brings to her recipes are the product of repeated, obsessive testing. (Her vanilla cake recipe was tested 89 times.) As a result, Maehashi brings a near guarantee-level of certainty and confidence to recipes that will give readers the extra nudge they might need to try something new. For those that are looking for solid standby dishes, a few recipes are named with “Forever,” such as her Forever Chocolate Cake and Forever Spaghetti Bolognese, and are the dishes that Maehashi finds herself coming back to time and time again, even after trying other variations.
The majority of Maehashi’s recipes are accessible for the average home cook and are geared toward regular people, with the understanding that not everyone has access to specialty ingredients or equipment. While there are a handful of recipes that might take more time, these are in their own section of the book titled “Bigger Things,” which have recipes designed to feed and wow a crowd.
Maehashi’s recipes all have notes with helpful tips on preparation, substitutions and how to store leftovers. She notes which foods can be frozen, versus what needs to be eaten straight away, how long foods last and the best way to reheat. A champion against food waste, Maehashi’s notes are practical and specific. Readers will love the ease of her recipes: One-tray Moroccan Baked Chicken or Miso Glazed Eggplant are both options that come together quickly, and with fewer items to wash afterward. And just in case you do need a video or more visuals, every recipe links to a QR code that will take you straight to the RecipeTin Webpage that features that very recipe.
Many of Maehashi’s recipes bring an element of comfort to them. She has two different kinds of lasagne recipes (beef, mushroom), Chinese Fried Rice and Secret Family Quick Ramen. Her Roast Chicken recipe, roasts in a pot in the oven, breast-side-down, yielding a juicy chicken, and with the vegetables that are included makes an entire meal in itself. But for those that are seeking something more fresh, she has an entire section dedicated to Asian-style salads that can be a meal in themselves. The Kyoto Chicken Soba Salad with Creamy Sesame Dressing combines familiar flavors and ingredients in a hearty one-dish meal.
Maehashi loves feeding people. During the pandemic, she started her own nonprofit organization, RecipeTin Meals, to provide prepared meals to help combat hunger and food insecurity in Sydney, where she is located. That same desire and joy to share a good meal with people comes through in every recipe. Whether you are seeking an easy way to get dinner on the table or just looking for some foolproof recipes, this book will have you covered.