When the kind people at Penguin Books first sent me “She’s Leaving Home” by Monica Trápaga, I was really excited to start reading it. The cover along with the whole book is so well designed and all you want to do is curl up on the couch and start reading. The great thing about this book is that, yes, it is a recipe book, but it’s also filled with stories about Monica’s daughter, Lil’s travels and cooking.
Monica decided to write this book for her daughter when Lil decided to leave home at age 21. The book started as a scrapbook full of crusty pages and inserts. Now, Lil is a qualified scientist and full time trapeze performer and has started adding her own twists to recipes and adding new recipes of her own. As Monica says, “So now this book, that started out as a gift from me to her, has become a gift for women everywhere.” And that’s exactly what this is. If you have any female relatives or friends, or if you are a female yourself, you HAVE to buy this book, read it and pass it on to other women.
The recipes are delightful and mostly very easy and accessible. Classics like guacamole, french toast and roast chicken are all in this book but then there are lovelies like bad bad brownies, paella a la Ignatius and slow-cooked sticky Lamb shanks with parsnips. From East to West, there are recipes for every type of cuisine imaginable.
And even though the recipes are utterly delightful, it’s the art work and design of this book that’s the real treat. There’s not a single photograph in this book, every single image is made up of material, string, rope, ribbon and buttons. My absolute favourite thing in this book is the sandwich section where the sandwiches are made up of materials found in a sewing drawer. Absolutely incredible. The family tree is equally charming.
This really is a great book to get for your daugher if she’s leaving home as there is a complete list of pantry necessities and utensils. Also, Monica gives a detailed description of the different herbs and their uses and there’s a great little sauce section discussing sauces from the classic Béchamel to basil pesto.
I have read many cookbooks in my life and I am being completely honest when I say that this is the most delightful, charming and adorable book I’ve ever read. This really is the type of cookbook you can take to bed and actually read through (even though I do that with all my cookbooks). If you are struggling to think of ideas for Christmas pressies for all the women in your life, look no further…You’ve found it!Alida Ryder