Cookbook Review by Alannah Maxwell, RD, MHSc in Nutrition Communication

*disclosure: Alannah received a complimentary copy of the cookbook for this review.

When I first heard about Mustard Makeovers & More! 100 Marvellous Recipes for Busy Families, I thought it would be filled with the standard, savoury recipes that mustard commonly accompanies—but boy was I ever wrong. As I slid the cookbook from cardboard packaging, out popped this vibrant and lively looking book. Of course I flipped right to the table of contents to see what recipes caught my eye, and I was more than impressed. The diversity of recipes was outstanding; everything from breads, sauces, casseroles, and even sweets and treats! Yes, that’s right, there are recipes for ‘Apple Crisp with Mustard Streusel’ and ‘Honey Mustard Mini Cheesecakes’. My mind was blown! Never before had I thought of mustard as such a dynamic ingredient in the kitchen.

Aside from the amazing recipes, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fun information that was sprinkled throughout. For instance, did you know that the characteristic heat mustard bears is the result of enzymes that change into an oil once the seed is broken? Or that mustard being used as a condiment dates back to the Middle Ages? Before getting into the recipes, Mustard Makeovers & More starts with a ‘Mustard Monologue’ that discusses the varieties of mustard and how to pair them appropriately based upon their taste profile—an incredibly handy resource. Next, the culinary benefits of cooking with mustard are addressed. I learned that mustard can act as an emulsifier, which makes it a handy ingredient to have around when making sauces.

So far my foodie appetite had been taken care of, but I was waiting for something to really standout to satisfy the Registered Dietitian side of me. That is until I came across the section on ‘Kids in the Kitchen’. More than ever, the relationship children and adolescents have with food and cooking is dwindling away. The increasing availability of processed foods means that children are not in the kitchen like they used to be. This cookbook acts as a reminder to get the young ones helping with meals. There is a section of recipes dedicated to being kid-approved and there are tips for parents and caregivers throughout on how to involve children in the cooking such as delegating age-appropriate tasks, touching and tasting ingredients, and how important it is to avoid words like “never” and “bad” when cooking. In my opinion, Mustard Makeovers & More, is one of the best cookbooks for young families that I have seen in a long time.

Lastly, this cookbook would be entertaining for all levels of cooking experience. For the masters, the diversity gives them a new dimension of mustard-containing recipes to add to their cooking repertoire. For those who are beginners in the kitchen, the instructions are simple and easy to understand. If there is a cooking term you are unfamiliar with, just flip to the cooking glossary at the back to find out what terms like deglazing or dredging actually mean.

Overall, this cookbook has my seal of approval. It is fun, light-hearted, and embraces a dynamic Canadian spice crop. I cannot wait to head out to my local store and pick up a few ingredients to host a mustard-themed dinner party with friends.


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