Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart

Image of Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart: A Cookbook
Release Date: 
December 13, 2010
Random House
Reviewed by: 

Maya Angelou’s lovely books usually reside on our bedside tables, yet this is one you’ll keep close at hand in the kitchen. Known for her essays, poetry collections, and bestselling autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou, we find, has had a lifelong passion for good food.

What inspires such a successful author to write a personal cookbook? Her own journey to a slimmer body, through delicious meals in smaller quantities, led Angelou to share her self-taught wisdom.

In Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart, her theory is that food should be fun and foods that are good are good whether you eat them at 8:30 A.M. or 8:30 P.M. She mixes up meals around the clock and really knows how to enjoy them. In fact, Angelou candidly reveals there are times when she makes a dish so appealing she opens an ice-cold beer and won’t answer the phone while enjoying her meal.

Raised in Arkansas, Angelou learned to create excellent savory meals with traditional meats, but her book also includes two vegetable sections with creative dishes such as “Southern-Style Green Beans” and “Orange-Stuffed Squash.”

The easy manner Angelou has with her readers is evident in the conversational introduction she writes for each section. And the simplicity of her recipes may have you cooking and baking while you are reading. When you come upon the easy recipe for “All Day and Night Cornbread,” stop reading, make the corn bread, and head right back to the book for more inspiration while it bakes.

Great Food, All Day Long includes a section on savory foods in small portions, when cooking for one, or to enjoy throughout the day—whenever you can take a break and spend a few minutes in the kitchen. Angelou includes an “Eggplant Parmesan” recipe you can prepare in minutes. “Braised Lamb with White Beans” takes a couple hours in the oven, but you can feast on it all day.

One of Angelou’s smart tips she learned while dieting was to eat small portions, with the goal of being able to have more later and enjoy the wonderful flavor again. Great Food, All Day Long is full of alternative ways to reuse leftovers. This year, with holiday leftovers you can create “Scallops of Turkey Breasts,” which cooks in a skillet in about ten minutes.

Angelou learned how to improve a meal with imaginative leftovers, and includes recipes for roast chicken, roast pork, and prime rib, each turned into different dinners and soups for another meal. In a few pages, she creates recipes to turn these three meals into nine.

As Angelou says: “At one time, I described myself as a cook, a driver, and a writer. I no longer drive, but I do still write and I do still cook. And having reached the delicious age of eighty-one, I realize that I have been feeding other people and eating for a long time. I have been cooking nearly all my life, so I have developed some philosophies.”

With Great Food, All Day Long, she leaves us her legacy. This charming book includes more than 60 recipes, over 40 color illustrations, and Angelou’s clever tips and tricks on everything from portion control to timing a meal.