I've been a cookbook junkie for a long time, yet the country's recent explosion in interest in eating well has been followed by an increasing number of mediocre cookbooks. The Capital Cooking Cookbook, however, is refreshingly different. I picked it up after catching Ms. DeSantis's D.C.-produced television show on Colours, a small network on Dish. The book stands out from most cookbooks for a couple of reasons. First, it is not just a cookbook, but also follows the story of the Capital Cooking show and how Ms. DeSantis, the host and producer, started it as a creative outlet from her day job as a lawyer. That alone may inspire readers who have dreamt of a creative world outside of their nine-to-five. It also features some beautiful, as well as a few humorous, pictures of Ms. DeSantis and the Capital Cooking crew hard at work.
Second, the recipes are diverse but accessible. They range from simple homestyle meals that are not that difficult to make but taste really good (I have already tried several of them at home) to high-end restaurant recipes (for which Ms. DeSantis often provides alternative ingredients/techniques for the common kitchen at home). This style is likely born of the fact that Ms. DeSantis is not a chef by training but has cooked with some of the best chefs in the Washington area and included their recipes in the book. The photography is mostly clean and colorful, and I like the book's relatively smaller size and fewer number of recipes as compared to larger cookbooks. This may seem counter-intuitive, but I often become lost in cookbooks with hundreds of recipes, confused as to which recipes are truly the best to try out and wondering if many of them aren't simply "filler material." Not so with the Capital Cooking Cookbook.
Hopefully we will see additional books from this up-and-coming entertainer, and that a hardcover version is available in the future. The Capital Cooking Cookbook is excellent and well worth owning.