Keep the Table Laughing, by Susan Whelan & Meredith Flynn

If you have ever bought, been given or simply browsed a cookbook, you will probably know that the biggest drawback of cookbooks is that they are full of photographs of delicious-looking but impossible to replicate offerings. The second-biggest drawback is that each cookbook seems to be useful for two or three recipes, with the rest either impossible, uninteresting or forgotten once the first few attempts have proven disastrous.

Keep the Table Laughing is a recipe book with a difference. There are no photographs from which to draw unflattering comparisons with ones own efforts, and the recipes, almost without exception, are practical every-day meals and goodies which can be cooked quickly and easily and are likely to be cooked repeatedly.

There are recipes from around the world, recipes for children to make, soups, cakes, roasts and everything in between. There are old favourites – sometimes with a new twist, such as the Yoghurt Pikelets – and others which may be new but are still fairly easy to make. My eight year old and I had a go at the French Jellies (which, the recipe promised, would taste like store-bought jubes) and were delighted with the results. They were yummy!

The other difference about this cookbook is that it is fun. The recipes are interspersed with narration from the two authors. They share their lives and their culinary experiences through anecdotes, jokes and little scripted conversations. Their comments on men in the kitchen caused particular laughter at our house.

This is a cookbook which will be used and enjoyed. Not a bad combination.

Keep the Table Laughing, by Susan Whelan & Meredith Flynn
Temple House, 2005