Cravings: Hungry for More (Chrissy Teigen), by Lisa E. Brown

I must admit that when I received Chrissy Teigen’s first cookbook, Cravings: Recipes for all the Food You Want to Eat, in a subscription gift box, I shook my head. I knew Teigen only as a model and the wife of singer John Legend. But could she cook? I had my doubts, but I dived in and, to my surprise, I enjoyed the book. There were actually recipes I wanted to try, and I became a fan of her chatty, breezy style of writing.

So when the Joplin Public Library recently acquired Teigen’s follow-up cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More, I promptly put it on hold and eagerly checked it out. I got distracted by work and let it sit on my desk for a couple weeks, but when I finally opened it, I was delighted. And I found several recipes I want to try.

Like savory waffles? Teigen has a Crispy Parmesan Waffle Breakfast, featuring easily homemade waffles with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and served with a Spicy, Buttery Maple Syrup. She had me at cheese and buttery maple syrup. Yum. One note: The buttery maple syrup gets its heat from red pepper flakes, although I would probably use a smallish dollop of sriracha instead.

I plan to make the Cheesy Polenta with Mushrooms for dinner this week. It looks like a fast, simple after-work meal, with the fanciest ingredient being fresh thyme. The recipe calls for white button mushrooms, though I prefer baby portobellos, or creminis. Really, any mushroom would do. Who doesn’t love mushrooms?

Like Teigen, I love soup. She features a Creamy Tomato Soup with Peppery Parmesan Crisps. I’m always looking for a good tomato soup recipe, and although I think I prefer my old stand-by that uses tomatoes seasoned with garlic, basil and oregano, Teigen’s tomato soup is quick and basic. The Peppery Parmesan Crisps are a nicely elegant alternative to my favorite accompaniment, grilled cheese.

Speaking of grilled cheese, I’m most eager to try the Sweet & Spicy Peach & Brie Grilled Cheese. Ideally, I would have come across this recipe when peaches were in season and found at this summer’s farmers markets, but, alas, it’s November and I’ll have to settle for a store-bought peach. I can’t get enough of Brie lately, so this recipe really calls to me. It features a basic ingredient list of butter, bread, Thai sweet chili sauce (probably my favorite condiment), red onion, Brie and one peach. Put them all together, and throw in the skillet. Easy-peasy.

I could go on, but that would just make you and me hungrier.

Aside from the variety of recipes I’m looking forward to trying, there’s much I appreciate about Cravings: Hungry for More. I like Teigen’s conversational writing style, which she displays when she prefaces each recipe. Ingredients for her recipes are easily acquired; it’s all stuff you’d have in your refrigerator or pantry, or could find at your local supermarket or farmers market. This book is definitely a family affair: pictures feature Teigen’s mother and father, husband and children, and several recipes are inspired by her Thai mother. And the food photographs that partner with the recipes look scrumptious.

The Joplin Public Library has both of Teigen’s cookbooks in its collection, as well as an e-book version of Cravings: Hungry for More. If you’re looking for an accessible cookbook and some delightful inspiration in the kitchen, I suggest you check them out.