Review: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks cookbook

One of my favorite things to receive as someone who reviews gluten-free products is cookbooks. I am always looking for new recipes to expand what I make at home, so while it is always fun to read new cookbooks and share with others, it is also for selfish reasons, because I love to cook and try new things in my own kitchen. Native Floridian, Chef Michael Bennett offered to send me a copy of his new cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks , which focuses on Caribbean cooking, so of course I was thrilled.

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks

As soon as the book arrived, I started reading it from cover to cover. The dishes and flavors sounds really interesting, using combinations of spices and flavorings that are not typical in other parts of the world. Many of these dishes are naturally gluten-free and provide the reader with the comfort and knowledge that while many recipes need to be converted to be safely gluten-free, many that we already love are gluten-free in their original format, without the label “gluten-free”. Not only are they naturally gluten-free, but they are also healthy and made of clean ingredients, leaving out processed foods and empty cards, which is what really attracts me.

The recipes in this cookbook are very seafood/fish heavy, so if you like fish, which I do, then this is great for you. There are a couple of chicken, beef and pork recipes, but for the most part the book focuses on the sea as is typical for the Caribbean.

Charolette Amalie Wahoo
chef Michael's "deep" flavored GLUTEN FREE Wahoo dish

I did feel the bulk of the recipes were sauces, and that many of the non-sauce recipes in the book called for one of the sauces, so most likely you will be making one of the sauces in order to make many of these dishes. Most of the sauces and seasonings have quite a few ingredients in them, with most of them being pretty common things we may already have in the kitchen, and a few of them being less common that we may have to search for at an international market, such as guarapo (sugarcane juice), Seville orange marmalade, and guava paste.

With the above being said, I really enjoyed the content of the book, but feel the presentation of it may cause someone not to look twice. Unfortunately, it is not a coffee table book to flip through while drooling over photos, but if you are looking for unique, fresh and clean recipes this is a great cookbook to check out.

WAhoo Charolette Amalie

One of my favorite things to receive as someone who reviews gluten-free products is cookbooks. I am always looking for new recipes to expand what I make at home, so while it is always fun to read new cookbooks and share with others, it is also for selfish reasons, because I love to cook and try new things in my own kitchen. Native Floridian, Chef Michael Bennett offered to send me a copy of his new cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks , which focuses on Caribbean cooking, so of course I was thrilled.

As soon as the book arrived, I started reading it from cover to cover. The dishes and flavors sounds really interesting, using combinations of spices and flavorings that are not typical in other parts of the world. Many of these dishes are naturally gluten-free and provide the reader with the comfort and knowledge that while many recipes need to be converted to be safely gluten-free, many that we already love are gluten-free in their original format, without the label “gluten-free”. Not only are they naturally gluten-free, but they are also healthy and made of clean ingredients, leaving out processed foods and empty cards, which is what really attracts me.

The recipes in this cookbook are very seafood/fish heavy, so if you like fish, which I do, then this is great for you. There are a couple of chicken, beef and pork recipes, but for the most part the book focuses on the sea as is typical for the Caribbean.

I did feel the bulk of the recipes were sauces, and that many of the non-sauce recipes in the book called for one of the sauces, so most likely you will be making one of the sauces in order to make many of these dishes. Most of the sauces and seasonings have quite a few ingredients in them, with most of them being pretty common things we may already have in the kitchen, and a few of them being less common that we may have to search for at an international market, such as guarapo (sugarcane juice), Seville orange marmalade, and guava paste.
Now, with how much I love the topic and flavors of the cookbook, I was disappointed in the actually quality of the physical product. My favorite thing about cookbooks are the photos and this book seriously lacked in quality photos. Having a background in editing, I can’t help but look at the photo quality, the font, the layout, etc… So, I was surprised to see the low resolution and quality of photos used, even for the cover. The photos throughout the book were stretched and grainy, and looked as if they were copied and pasted from the internet. The font was too big, and made readability difficult with the use of all caps and bolded letters. My last critique is the use of QR codes throughout the book, including the cover. I understand it is effective in driving the reader to websites about where to find certain ingredients or to learn more about a dish, but there are just too many throughout the book, and they are too large and distracting. His website has beautiful food photos, if only these carried on through the book.

With the above being said, I really enjoyed the content of the book, but feel the presentation of it may cause someone not to look twice. Unfortunately, it is not a coffee table book to flip through while drooling over photos, but if you are looking for unique, fresh and clean recipes this is a great cookbook to check out.

Review: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks Cookbook

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