I participated in this event on behalf of Wendy’s Bloggers for Zondervan. I received a copy of We Laugh We Cry We Cook to facilitate my review. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Christian publisher Zondervan is well-known for so many great books of all kinds. I’m so excited to tell you that I recently had the opportunity to read and review one of them and I totally, TOTALLY love this book. Women – all you moms and daughters out there – this one is for us. And if you like good food (who doesn’t?) this is going to be right up your alley.
We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook is a fantastic book filled with beautiful stories about the love between mother and daughter duo, Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph. It’s also filled with some amazingly delicious and easy-to-make recipes for every course of the meal and every occasion. It’s become my new go-to when I’m stumped for something to cook. But it’s really so much more than a cookbook.
Here are the authors, Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph. I haven’t personally met these ladies but I feel like I know them. With the stories they share in this food memoir you can’t help but connect with them. Becky has authored, co-authored, or collaborated on over 40 books. And the lady can write! She’s right up my alley: disorganized with a bit of a wing-it style and full of love and fun. Rachel, Becky’s daughter, is a bit different from her mom. She’s a young mom, married and living in Texas with her husband and toddler. She’s a planner, an organized person, and she’s a vegan. Polar opposites you say? Somehow it works! And often because of their love for good food. Becky and Rachel blog together at We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook where I’ve found about 50 new recipes I need to try. *drool*
It’s more than food that brings life to this memoir. It’s the meaning of it all.
“Unlike anything else, food sears itself into our memories. You never know what gooey grilled-cheese sandwich or steaming bowl of basil-tomato soup will become a comforting memory forever sealed into the heart of someone you love.” ~ We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook, p.9-10
Yes! Don’t you have a food that takes you back? I remember my Dad’s homemade french fries and my Mom’s amazingly good chicken stew. The food was good, yes. But it’s the memories that are tied to the food that make it important to me. That feeling, that love that you show the people you care about through food. We can all relate to that in some way, can’t we?
This book really did make me laugh, cry, and cook. That Becky is a riot and I think my favorite quote from her is “If you cannot get your act together, then the least you can do is try to make your act entertaining.” (p.39) I love that! I’m more like her: slightly (okay maybe more than slightly) disorganized. I could related to her tales so well. Crying? There are a number of places in the book where I got a little choked up. The story of Rachel becoming a mother is so sweet, especially when told from both her perspective and the new Grandma’s! And cooking? Absolutely! These Tomato Basil Stackers are pretty much the best thing ever. I’ve made them countless times and they’re so simple, yet sooooo good. What I love about each recipe in this book is that it’s totally doable. Nothing weird with ingredients I’ve never heard of or techniques I can’t possibly master. It’s simple, solidly delicious and in most cases good-for-you cooking. Perfection.
Dessert is the best part of any meal. What? It totally is. Even better if you can call it healthy because it as fruit in it. These Blueberry-Raspberry Oat Bars pass the test and this one was a piece of cake to put together. I threw everything but the berries in the food processor and the bottom layer is the same as the crumbly layer on top. It’s not two different batters as it might appear so it’s really easy to make. And it’s so delicious, too!
You can try to eat just one piece, but, well… Good luck with that. This recipe is actually found in the ‘Walmart Gourmet’ chapter. Again I’ll say that I love this book because it speaks to real people, real people that shop at Walmart and not some fancy schmancy place. You can find these ingredients anywhere. I had to run out and get some raspberries but otherwise I had everything I needed to make this one at home.
Want to know what other recipes you’ll find in We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook? Here are a few:
- White Bean Guacamole
- Pesto Parmasan Chicken
- No-Stress Sangrias
- Oven-Blistered Potatoes
- TONS more!
Each chapter features some heartwarming stories told from both Becky’s and Rachel’s point of view and then some related recipes. I happen to love the freezer meals that went along with the chapter on ‘Stocking Up, Nesting, and Losing Control.’ That chapter also contained one hilarious story about poor Rachel’s shopping trip to buy a maternity bra. That was a ‘we laugh’ moment for sure! Another great feature of this book because Rachel is a vegan is that recipes are marked as being vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free. Great for those of you looking for those things specifically.
“And being a mom is a little like being an Iron Chef – with a million things to do in a ridiculously short amount of time – only you have to do it without a full night’s sleep or hired help.” ~ Becky in We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook, p. 39
Amen to that, sister. We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook was one of the best books I’ve read in months and I’m an avid reader (borderline obsessive reader). Now that I’m done with the stories, I keep the book in my kitchen with the rest of my cookbooks, but it’s got a special place in my heart now that I feel like I know the authors. These recipes have come to life for me and I go to them first when I want to make something special for my family. You should check it out, too. We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook is available for purchase from the publisher, Zondervan, and also on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com.
You can enjoy more great tales of love and food by following Laugh Cry Cook on Twitter, and definitely follow Rachel and Becky too. They’re so fun to chat with! All of the latest releases from Zondervan can be found on their Facebook and Twitter pages, too. Now we just need to find more time to read it all…and to cook up all these delicious recipes!
The lovely authors are generously giving one of my readers their own autographed (yes, autographed!) copy of We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook! This giveaway is open to US residents ages 18+ only and will end on November 26, 2013. One winner per household, email address or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again. You can enter to win this giveaway [HERE].