I Love Tasty: A feast for your eyes, in cookbook form

Catrine Kelty's salute to Tasty is for no-frills, picture-loving, dietary-restrictions-free home cooks.

click to enlarge I Love Tasty's release date is Nov. 1. - Courtesy of The Quarto Group
Courtesy of The Quarto Group
I Love Tasty's release date is Nov. 1.

Unless you've been living under a rock (or, OK, avoid Facebook altogether), you've seen them. Those quick, two-minute videos spotlighting an array of raw ingredients — flour, dark chocolate chips, pistachios and maybe even a cup of Baileys Irish Cream. Suddenly, a pair of clean, polished hands appear on screen, whisk everything up, pour the mixture into a heart-shaped pan, place it in the oven, and voilà. Out comes dark chocolate brownies with some sort of gooey center.

The footage goes viral, and the likes multiply as friends tag friends.

Tasty, founded by Buzzfeed and shared through Facebook and other social media channels, draws more than 400 million unique visitors a month. Since its creation in 2015, the video channel's food-prep productions have spread like wildfire, and the visual phenomenon continues — this time, in the form of a book. I Love Tasty: The Unofficial Cookbook by Catrine Kelty, available starting Nov. 1, brings more than 100 recipes to Tasty enthusiasts using a photo-friendly, step-by-step format that's still a feast for your eyes.

The cookbook puts its purpose simply: This is an "unofficial way to pay homage to Tasty."

As far as recipes go, I Love Tasty is well-rounded. There are quite a few breakfast options, both sweet and savory (think bacon, cheese and onion quiche or jam-filled crepes). Uncomplicated snacks and appetizers are also covered, alongside sandwiches, salads and pasta. Most of the "All Kinds of Vegetable Dishes" chapter is a welcome addition for herbivores (though there are a couple of things with pork), and the meat-centric section is there for those who can't go without animal protein. Of course, the book wraps up with desserts like pecan chocolate chip cookies, peppermint bark and Almost Like Mom's Apple Pie.

Every recipe, by the way, is straightforward. Lists of ingredients rarely exceed 10 easy-to-find items, because who wants to hunt down some obscure seasoning that will never, ever be used again? An average of four to five pictures also illustrate the different steps of each food formula. Adam Detour's photos are bright, clear and do a great job of showing the reader what's going on without losing their visually pleasing appeal. Many of the recipes even contain "Tasty Tips," including substitutions and which green beans work best for which dish.

My big "aha!" moment came after flipping to one recipe and thinking, "That looks difficult." A second glance at the accompanying photos followed, as did the counter thought of, "Oh, nevermind. That actually looks pretty easy." I'm fairly certain this is what I Love Tasty means to accomplish.

So, who is Kelty's soon-to-be-released kitchen lit for? Anyone who generally dislikes cookbooks for the amount of reading they involve — and the unrealistic recipes they offer. Folks who like to look at stellar photos of food as much as they like to make it. And those who're eager to prepare a kick-ass dinner with minimal effort.

Who wouldn't enjoy the book? Vegans. Sorry, friends. Unless you already know what it takes to make a conventionally buttery dish vegan-friendly, I wouldn't bother. It's not for "culinary artists" who need to be challenged in the kitchen, either. This Tasty salute is for no-frills, picture-loving, dietary-restrictions-free home cooks.

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