“Just Married: A Cookbook for Newlyweds” by Caroline Chambers, Chronicle Books, 272 pages, hardcover, $35

Food writer and recipe developer Caroline Chambers calls “just married” a “delicious stage of life; one to be savored, and nurtured, and nourished to grow strong.” One way to do that is to create more memories, she says, perhaps by getting together at the beginning or end of the day to share thoughts and feelings over a meal.

To help newlyweds learn to find time to cook or perhaps to learn how to cook, she offers a collection of 130 memory-making recipes plus stories from her first years of marriage to her husband, George, in “Just Married: A Cookbook for Newlyweds.”

Side Dish: Recipe for Shrimp Fajita Salad with Avocado Cilantro

The cookbook is for both the couples who rely on takeout and those who want to expand their culinary abilities. Chambers provides practical advice, such as when a recipe calls for a special ingredient, she gives at least three alternate uses for the ingredient. “Do Your Thing” notations suggest ingredient substitutions and tips for adapting the recipe, and “Leftovers are a Good Thing” notes give ideas for how to repurpose leftover ingredients.

The book opens with a guide to the perfect wedding registry for vital kitchen tools, nice-to-have tools and fun-to-have tools; what to stock in the pantry; and how to use the book.

Recipes are divided into 10 chapters, from Breakfast-on-the-Fly with recipes like Smoothies Two Ways and No Recipe Saucy Baked Eggs, to Desserts like Berry Crumble and Bourbon Banana Pudding. There also are recipes for making entertaining affordable and easy and others for that special-occasion meal for two (St. Valentine’s Day, for example). The collection also includes recipes for dinner in a hurry, salads, soups, sandwiches, brunch, party drinks and bites, and sides and vegetables.

The book is illustrated with beautiful full-color photographs of completed dishes and closes with 16 menu suggestions.

“Just Married: A Cookbook for Newlyweds” would make a terrific wedding gift.


Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at sonnierfood@gmail.com, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.