As her 1.3 million Twitter followers are well aware, you can now officially buy supermodel Chrissy Teigen's new cookbook, Cravings?, co-authored by food writer Adeena Sussman. The photos are appetizing, the text flows and Teigen smiles from her kitchen invitingly on the cover like a part Thai Ina Garten. But do her recipes work? As with any cookbook, there was one way to know.
I first made the yellow cake baked oatmeal (which is also available on her blog) as a late-day office treat. My primary emotions throughout the process were confusion and skepticism. This had nothing to do with the boxed cake mix, but more because the batter was so liquidy. I thought there was no chance of it firming up in the oven over the next half hour. Four people walked past and independently asked if I was making clafoutis. I got tired of trying to explain ("No, but yes kind of, but there's oats, and yellow cake mix, and what was the question?"), so by the fourth time I just said, "Yes."
Despite everything, some type of custardy, pudding cake-like treat sure enough formed.
After that 6 p.m. dessert break, I went home and made dinner from the book as well. I chose the chicken lettuce wraps pictured above and used turkey instead of chicken, because it was on sale (forgive me, Chrissy). I followed the rest of the recipe as is and ended up with one of the most satisfying dinners I'd had of late.
Teigen used to live in my neighborhood, and I'd always imagine we'd bump into each other on the street one day, and she'd say, "Let's go make nachos and eat ice cream." As I dove into the spicy-sweet poultry filling using a cool, crispy lettuce cup as a fork, I felt like that dream was actualizing.
Cravings isn't your average cookbook. There are exclamation points, sentences-long caps-locked phrases that make you think SHE JUST FORGOT TO TURN IT OFF. There are Instagram photos, as well as pictures of her eating fried chicken with husband John Legend in luxurious environs. Seventy percent of the photos involve her smushing food in his face.
Other recipes include hasselback potatoes ("Want to waste three hours of your life like I did? Do a google image search of these potatoes," she writes) and Cajun catfish ("It's wonderfully hard to overcook unless you're really just an idiot"). All the headnotes include her unbridled "tell it like it is" realism.
Teigen is bound to face inevitable criticism as being just another celebrity with a cookbook, or a self-serving how-to-be-Chrissy guide. But she's long demonstrated her love for food, especially via her cooking blog, So Delushious. Her tweets include food truisms so relatable that it feels like she may be speaking from inside your soul, and her Instagram gives you a peek into her kitchen. It doesn't matter that she's a supermodel. One's ability to look bangin' on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition should have nothing to do with a propensity to make risotto. She wants to be credible, and the least we can do is grant her the chance to prove herself.
There are already glued-on scallions and a lingering Sriracha scent on the pages of my copy: the first signs that a book will be well-loved.
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