This cookbook has a copyright of 2010. I bought this cookbook for myself. I have never cooked from this before.
I don't review cookbooks. When I post a recipe from one of my gazillion, many, wonderful cookbooks, I usually will post a photo of which cookbook the recipe came from, tell you where I got said cookbook and give you a brief rundown of what you may find inside the cookbook (including a list of all the recipes I'd like to try). It usually isn't until then that I check online to see if people liked the cookbook or had problems with the recipes. I post cookbooks this way because I'm not a cookbook reviewer and I rarely cook more than one recipe from the book. I give a rundown of the cookbook only so that folks will know where the accompanying recipe came from and so that if someone might be interested in getting said cookbook, it gives them a feel for what they might find inside.
Most of the time, I ignore negative reviews of cookbooks..."I made this dish and it didn't turn out the way I wanted" or "I hate this chef so only one and a half stars" or "I'm a vegetarian and my mother bought me this book on steaks so I'm giving it only one thumbs up out of five", "it didn't have any photos and I can't make a recipe without a photo". Fer cryin out loud folks, don't review a cookbook that you haven't cooked from or are against before you even open the pages! I give latitude if a dish doesn't always come out the way I planned so comments like that don't bother me. And I always laugh when someone reviews the author, or contents of a cookbook without actually trying recipes. Other times though, reading a review of a cookbook online can give you some pretty interesting information. You'll find some of the things I came across regarding The Good Stuff Cookbook at the end of this post*. I felt they were important enough to include here.
I ordered this book for two reasons...this really is the summer of burgers and shakes for me so I wanted several cookbooks to choose from, and I was a fan of Spikes on Top Chef. I've always wanted to eat at his restaurant so I thought getting a book of recipes from the place would be fun.
The acknowledgements to this book (along with the preface and introduction) were a good read. Spike tells how he came to start his restaurant The Good Stuff, how people influenced and helped him and his overall philosophy of his dishes. The recipes are supposed to be dishes from his restaurant. There is also a brief section on how to use the book (pantry items to have on hand, party planning). The chapters are divided into Condiments and Complements (mayo's and sauces); Salads (which Spike calles Wedges); Sides; Burgers; Shakes, Malts and Floats; Desserts; and Party Dishes (a few alcoholic beverages and things like donuts).
The recipes seem pretty straight forward and easy to follow though some seem to have a lot of ingredients...eleven ingredients for the Mac and Cheese and that's not counting the five plus ingredients for the cheese sauce used. Then you have some really simple recipes like the Root Beer Float with two ingredients. Root beer and ice cream. Or the Black and White Shake which has, hot fudge sauce, ice cream, and milk (I admit, I did kind of raise an eyebrow on these two recipes in their simplicity). Each recipe has a brief introduction explaining a bit about the recipe or what the recipe reminds Spike of. Sprinkled throughout the cookbook are notes from Spike like "Don't press down on the patties!". ˇThere are some nice photos, but there is not a photo of every recipe (he gets bonus points for having a hockey photo!).
Recipes I'd like to try: Good Stuff Sauce; Siriacha Mayo;, Mayolive;, Farm Fresh Ceasar Wedge; Arugula, Red Onion, and Parmesan Wedge; Poached Eggs and Frisee Wedge; Sunny's Hand Cut Fries; Cliffs Homegrown Vidalia Onion Petals; Nic's Mess with Sunny's Hand Cut Fries; Homemade Cornbread; Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushrooms; Farmhouse Bacon Cheeseburger; Good Stuff Melt; Prez Obama Burger; Pork and Pancetta Burger with Smoked Mozzarella, Peperonata, And Basil Pesto; Caprese Burger; Toasted Marshmallow Shake; Milky Way Malt; De-Lecheble Leche; Creamsicle Shake; Avocado Shake; Bananas Foster Shake; Cadbury Shake; Banana-Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches; Baklava Cookies.
*Now...we come to the reviews that I'm finding online...and they aren't pretty. Just take a look at Amazon reviews. Lots of "I've eaten at the restaurant and the food rocks" five star comments. But when you read the comments of folks who've actually made some of the recipes? People are asking for an errata sheet as some of the quantities on the ingredients are off (I would have made the Mac and Cheese without realizing there was too much flour called for). I also, had some questions about the directions for the recipe I made. I still want to try several of the recipes from this cookbook, but I'll probably check online to see if anyone has previously made the dish to make sure it turns out okay.