Crave by Karen Akunowicz is the perfect cookbook for novice and experts alike

Crave: A New Cookbook by Chef Karen Akunowicz. Image courtesy The Brooks Group
Crave: A New Cookbook by Chef Karen Akunowicz. Image courtesy The Brooks Group /

Karen Akunowicz’s debut cookbook Crave is a combination of cookbook, life story, and kitchen encyclopedia. Chef Akunowicz starts off the book talking about how she got into cooking and as we get into the actual recipes, she includes a story about what each recipe means to her and a little bit of how it came about.

There is also an incredibly helpful guide at the very beginning of the book that tells you what certain ingredients are and what utensils you’re going to need. Why all cookbooks don’t do this I will never know.

While a cookbook is primarily directions on how to make recipes, it’s also meant to teach and it’s very difficult to learn if you don’t have the right tools. Knowing what you need before you even get into the recipe is so helpful!

But now, let’s get to the recipes! The book is split into ten different sections:

  • Tangy & Bright: Pickles, Preserves & Dressings
  • Fresh & Crisp: Salads, Herbs & Grains
  • Creamy & Cheesy: Dips, Soups & Cheeses
  • Crispy & Crunchy: Antipasti, Fried Snacks & Toppings
  • Hot & Spicy: Sauces, Broths & Relishes
  • Roasted & Grilled: Vegetables, Meats & Fishes
  • Carb-y & Starchy: Breads, Dumplings & Pasta
  • Hearty & Homey: Like (Someone’s) Mama Uses to Make
  • Decadent & Savory: Rich, Luxurious, Special Occasion Delights
  • Sweet & Luscious: Desserts, Ice Creams & Baked Treats

Crave by Chef Karen Akunowicz needs to be in your cookbook collection

Crave: A New Cookbook by Chef Karen Akunowicz. Image courtesy The Brooks Group /

Now, if you’re anything like me, you will immediately go to the Creamy & Cheesy, Carb-y & Starchy, and Sweet & Luscious chapters when you get this book. Cheese, carbs, and sweets are pretty much the most important food groups, in my opinion, and Chef Akunowicz does not disappoint!

Some of the recipes in the Cheesy and Carb-y sections include Smoky Eggplant Dip (yes, please), Marinated Mozzarella (I would like ten), Grilled Cheese with Fig Caponata (just the thought has me drooling), Taleggio- Stuffed Focaccia (I would literally die for this), Sicilian- Style Pizza, and Lobster XO Dumplings.

But what about dessert?! I am usually cautious when looking at non-pastry chef cookbooks because the desserts are normally boring. There are only so many molten lava cake or flourless chocolate cake recipes one can stand before it becomes a snoozefest. That is not the case here! The recipes include Grandma Hattie’s Peach Cake, Polenta Cake with Soft Cream and Strawberries, Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandwiches, and Cranberry Crostata with Eggnog Ice Cream. Yum!

If you’re looking for a cookbook that teaches as much as it makes your mouth water, Crave by Chef Karen Akunowicz is definitely one you want to check out.

It comes out on Tuesday, Sept 19, 2023 in both ebook and hardcover formats.

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