August 15, 2008

Recipes in a Chick Lit Package

I opened the mail the other day and found this little cookbook I had ordered from the Pork Checkoff website.

The cover of Grill Power: A Girl's Guide to Grilling (2005, 16 pages) looks suspiciously similar to all the covers on those chick lit books currently overpopulating the shelves at the bookstores and libraries.

I've tried to like that genre, I really have. I've made my way through several different titles and authors, but have never found any that really appealed to me other than The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries (and to be fair, I enjoyed the books much more than the film versions). Eventually I just quit picking them up at all.

The interior pages of this booklet are decorated in the same pastel colors as the cover. Each of the five recipes are shown in full color. There are several small cutesy illustrations relating to the grill. The recipe booklet provides tips, techniques and all the information one might need if attempting to grill food outdoors for the first time or looking to brush-up on the basics. I like the spiral binding and the feel of the slightly weighty, laminated pages. It's a very nice looking booklet, especially for a freebie.

I wonder if this cookbook was purposely designed to appeal to those same people who read/buy chick lit?

The recipes themselves are decidedly contemporary and sound doable without too much fuss. Never mind that some of the recipe names sound kind of silly: Fast-off-the-Grill Chorizo Quesadillas, Grilled New Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions, Breezy and Easy Marinated Pork Tenderloin, BBQ Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Girls' Dry Rub and Mop Sauce, Carmel Frozen Yogurt Pie with Grilled Peaches.

Recipes aside, some of the other copy inside leaves me feeling a bit confused as to whether I'm in the year 2008 or 1959. There's quite a contrast between the two cultures and to me, they seem to be oddly intermingled within this cookbook. Imagine if the women on Mad Men were hanging out with the ones on Army Wives. It's a bit like that.

Ladies everywhere are stepping out of the kitchen and onto the patio to conquer one of America's favorite cooking techniques: grilling.

Ladies, grilling is no longer just for gentlemen.

Did I miss something? Although the 1950s definitely had the men in charge of the grill, I thought women had long ago figured out they were capable of more than being providers of the baked beans and potato salad. I thought this sort of thing was settled already.

More things I never expected to read in 2008:

Boys Allowed Too - While women across the country are catching "grill fever," men have not abandoned their grilling tongs.

Who says you need to leave the house for girl's night out?

Mixed in is this more modern lingo:

Simply gather round the grill with your girlfriends. We know how essential it is to host the perfect party for your galpals...

Add style to your outdoor space.

You Go, Girl!

Low-Fat and Fabulous

... moms everywhere can turn to the grill for a variety of mouth-watering flavors at mealtime ... Include your family's input when deciding what to serve each night to be certain they're satisfied, and we guarantee you'll be one hot mamma!

All in all, it's an interesting little cookbook just because of the confusion it creates in my mind.

For those who might think I'm missing out on some good fiction due to my mental block about the book covers--perhaps you're right. If so, I'll discover the good stuff eventually. If the titles are worth reprinting, the covers will be redone too. Maybe I'll like those better.


At 6:00 PM CDT, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

Hi Kathy,

First, I must agree about The Devil Wears Prada book. I thought it was better than the movie, although, I enjoyed the movie also.

I'm also a bit confused as to where that little booklet is coming from. I have earlier books published by the pork council, I'm going to have to check them. It's rather odd they would go with this kind of theme. I don't think pork was a popular choice for dinner in the 50's, grilling or otherwise. The recipe titles seem to reflect, today. The artwork, well I'd be curious to know which gender was responsible for it.

At 2:33 AM CDT, Blogger Rochelle R. said...

It seems to be an odd combo of retro and chick lit. The little grill illustration looks retro but not the ladies. I agree with what you said about the copy. Not the colors I would think of for a grilling book either but I guess it does appeal to ladies.


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