Sometimes, if my day isn’t going so well or if I just need to relax a little, I’ll visit the big, shiny bookstore that is very close to my place of work. Or I’ll go here.

Both very dangerous places.

But what’s a Cream Puff to do? Sometimes I just need that thrill of walking to the cookbook section and browsing. Of course this can also be a bit of a disconcerting exercise especially when I realize that I own most of the cookbooks that I see.

Occasionally, though, I will come across a book that I haven’t heard of before and of course it will have to make its way home with me.

Such is the case with The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes Plus Lessons for a Hand-Crafted Lifeby Tom Hudgens.

First of all, this is a beautiful cookbook. Every recipe is an example of the purpose of this book: to encourage everyone to cook the foods they love from scratch.

In every way, the book is proof that what you make in your own kitchen with your own hands will be far more delicious than anything you can buy on a supermarket shelf. The book has more than 500 recipes so you can imagine that it covers everything from breakfast to dessert (my two favourite food groups!).

I’m probably not explaining it very well but I just adore the tone of the recipes. It’s a peaceful, calm cookbook that is meant to encourage and inspire, not intimidate.

I plan on trying many recipes but the one I had to try first was the “recipe” for Steel-Cut Oats. What drew me to the instructions for the preparation of this breakfast staple was the direction to toast the oats lightly in some melted butter. This made me think of risotto. When we cook risotto, we will cook the rice grains in olive oil for a minute or two to toast them. This seems to add a bit of a deeper almost nutty flavour to the dish and the same is true for the oatmeal (you can do this step with regular oats or steel-cut oats).

I really did feel like I was making a breakfast risotto. The oatmeal was so delicious!

I hope you pick this book up and look at it. It’s worth it.