Flavour First: Delicious Food to Bring the Family Back to the Table.


194 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 978-0-9783452-0-4
DDC 641.5





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



This utilitarian recipe collection focuses on flavourful home-cooked dishes with family appeal. For some dishes the flavour is the product of marinades or the liberal use of strong natural flavours such as olives, lemons, and garlic. For many others, the key is the use of herbs and spices. The words Cajun, Creole, curry, and chili put in numerous appearances, and the list of recipes with “spiced” or “spicy” in the title is considerable. Watch out for jalapenos in the muffins, curry in the carrots, cloves in the tomato soup. Even the bonbons are “spicy.”


The book includes eight menus for small parties or special family dinners. The recipe groupings are traditional if limited: breakfasts, soups, appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts. Imperial and metric measurements and serving size are given throughout. There is no nutritional analysis—a serious omission today in a collection of recipes for family meals.


International flavours are strongly represented with recipes influenced by Russian, Greek, Italian, Indonesian, French, Japanese, Indian, and Mexican traditions.


Waisman is a professional chef but an amateur writer, and the book could use the help of an editor. Skip the lengthy introduction and its weak prose that gushes with exclamations marks substituting for content. The notes introducing each recipe are somewhat smoother but are still low on information or value. Visually, the book is dull. Sixteen colour plates struggle unsuccessfully to relieve the indifferent layout. Overall, the book scrapes by but lacks spark and originality to help it stand up to the considerable competition in the cookbook field.


Waisman, Mary Sue., “Flavour First: Delicious Food to Bring the Family Back to the Table.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/26731.