Tamara Reynolds and Zora O’Neill are the fabulous ladies behind the Astoria based supperclub Sunday Night Dinners. They gather friends and friends of friends around a table of mismatched tableware pouring wine into mason jars, treating each guest with enough love and good food to whisk all the petty troubles away. Last Sunday they celebrated the publication of their new cookbook Forking Fantastic! with a booksigning and potluck dinner party at WORD bookstore on Franklin. It was a vibrant and appetizing soirée with irresistibly delicious homemade dishes folks brought, from glazed chunks of lamb and cornbread to mixed veggie rice and lasagna, giving us a taste of the rambunctious energy the hostesses provide in their homes, with plenty hysterical laughing and cursing to reform any stiffneck diplomat into a woozy reveler.
The cookbook is not your traditional kitchen manual catering to stepford wifey types, it’s quirky nuances are seriously entertaining enough to just read on your couch with a glass of wine and I guarantee you’ll laugh your ass off at some of things these ladies mention. For example, in comparing cooking and prepping dinner parties to sex: “Cooking is like sex, in that at first it can seem a little messy and not worth all the trouble. Trust us, it gets a lot better… People put an amazing amount of energy into getting laid, but you can get quite a lot of satisfaction from food as well… cooking is better, or at least more reliable, than sex.” Amen to that. The book goes on even further, creating a chart that compares sex to cooking and why the latter is far more gratifying.
Forking Fantastic! is also just a feel good cookbook and will appease and inspire any lazy or intimidated person toying with the idea of cooking for friends. Recipes range from simple to challenging from all cultural cuisines. There’s also a fool-proof menu section for when you’re stumped and indecisive.
The Beer Can Chicken is an example of can’t-fail-and-will-succeed recipes, where a can of beer is stuck up a whole chicken, simultaneously grilling and steaming from the brew. Grilled peaches with duck fat sounds heavenly and decadent while the asparagus and poached eggs with miso butter takes Momofuku’s David Chang’s recipe a step further, and might I say, sexier. The Magnificent Lamb Roast teaches you how to build a lamb grill from a steel drum and cinder blocks and a complete DIY chopping method that will admittedly gross me out a bit but not stop me from eating it.
All that said, I suggest you grab a copy of Forking Fantastic! as soon as you can. It’s truly a revolutionary, a light-hearted, guaranteed fun-to-read cookbook that will not only inspire you to cook and share with friends but maybe even get you laid.
There’ll be a free raffle at the food market tomorrow where you can win a copy of the book.