Don’t Wor­ry, Just Cook: Deli­cious, Time­less Recipes for Com­fort and Connection

Bon­nie Stern and Anna Rupert

  • Review
By – October 16, 2022

Bon­nie Stern is a main­stay of the Cana­di­an culi­nary land­scape. She ran a cook­ing school in Toron­to from 1973 to 2011, worked on a week­ly news­pa­per col­umn for thir­ty years, helmed her own tele­vi­sion shows, and has writ­ten twelve best­selling cook­books. Don’t Wor­ry, Just Cook: Deli­cious, Time­less Recipes for Com­fort & Con­nec­tion is Stern’s lat­est culi­nary con­tri­bu­tion, and the first writ­ten along­side her daugh­ter, Anna Rupert, with whom she has been cook­ing for years.

The cook­book is orga­nized in a clear, non-intim­i­dat­ing way. After a fore­word by the Lon­don-based chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi, the first chap­ter fea­tures the ingre­di­ents, spice blends, and tools that should take the stress out of prepar­ing Stern’s recipes. It con­tin­ues with appe­tiz­ers and spreads, includ­ing a deli­cious-look­ing pump­kin chir­shi. Stern then moves on to soups, sal­ads, all-day break­fast, and baked goods before end­ing with drinks. Par­tic­u­lar­ly delight­ful is the Aper­ol spritz with fresh herbs, as inspired by Tel Aviv’s Café Levinsky.

Stern has led ten culi­nary tours to Israel, and her Jew­ish her­itage seems to inform much of the book. She cooks for occa­sions such as Shab­bat din­ner, Hanukkah, and Passover; and she pre­pares both Jew­ish Amer­i­can clas­sics like rugelach and chal­lah and less­er-known Mid­dle East­ern favorites like hari­ra and Yemeni chick­en soup. Keep­ing with this mix­ture of com­fort and adven­ture, Stern also pro­vides two recipes for latkes: the more tra­di­tion­al vari­ety that her moth­er Ruthie used to make, and, for those who’d like to try some­thing new, sweet pota­to latkes.

The idea of say­ing it’s okay, don’t wor­ry” in the face of any cook­ing mishap is per­haps a wise les­son for life. As Rupert high­lights in her clos­ing notes, if you’re cook­ing for oth­ers and some­thing doesn’t work out, Don’t apol­o­gize. You just cooked din­ner for every­one!” Besides, it’s quite pos­si­ble that no one will notice anyway.

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