Last week Giada De Laurentiis  fourth cookbook, Giada's Kitchen  ($32) hit bookshelves. The book release coincided with the relaunch of her website, Giadadelaurentiis.com . I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of the glossy hardback with Tiffany-blue interior. Yesterday I spent some time reading the book — which is full of pretty pictures and delicious-sounding recipes — to see what I thought of it, .
- The book is loaded with clear, tantalizing pictures. Most recipes include a picture.
- At the back of the book, there's a section devoted to menu ideas. There's a bunch of different themes (Aprés-Ski, Italian Picnic, Elegant Vegetarian Dinner, etc.) with dishes from the book. The menus are carefully thought out and make me want to host one of the parties.
- This is the first book where De Laurentiis devotes a chapter to (not) just-for-kids food. Many of the recipes look scrumptious!
- The recipes are written in paragraph form, without any steps, making them harder to follow. It seems more like a showy book you would read, rather than actually cook with.
- The aforementioned menus section does not include page numbers. So if you want to make the Tuscan Mushrooms for a Game Day viewing party, you have to look in the index to find out what page the recipe is on.
- Many of the recipes have appeared on Giada's Food Network series, so a lot of them — like this orange ricotta pound cake  or this chocolate and brie  panini — can be found on the Internet.
Recipes: The recipes are classic Giada with the most delicious-sounding ones being her California-Italian-style dishes. The recipes listed below are on my must-make list:
- Appetizers and Cocktails — pecorino crackers, apple and thyme martini, crostata with mushrooms and pancetta
- Salads and Vegetables — parmesan potato pancake, artichoke gratinata
- Meat — chicken scallopini with saffron cream sauce
- Desserts — hazelnut crunch cake with mascarpone and chocolate
Imagery: The pictures are beautiful. The double page snapshots of Giada performing several steps of a certain recipe are especially helpful because they demonstrate the recipe's techniques.
Overall Rating: Mixed. While I'm a huge fan of Giada and I love her recipes, the fact that many can be found online makes me wonder what is the point of a cookbook? If you collect cookbooks, I suggest you get your hands on a copy. But if you can't afford the splurge, check out Giada's recipes on FoodNetwork.com .
Have you checked out Giada's Kitchen? What did you think?