Spunky sugar maven and courageously playful leader of the Momofuku Milk empire Christina Tosi released her second cookbook, Milk Bar Life, yesterday--and yep, it is every bit as enticing and delightful as one would expect. Unlike her first book, Momofuku Milk Bar--a collection of confections featured on the Milk Bar menu--Milk Bar Life shares a captivating collection of the recipes that fill Tosi's plate when she's not elbow deep in Crack Pie filling. MBL's value is measured less by ingredient weights than the original Milk Bar cookbook; rather than a glossary of ingredients you'll need to order from Amazon to create the recipes at hand, it offers a glossary of the language Tosi and her staff communicate with in the Milk Bar kitchen. This is a celebration of the family recipes with which she's developed her palate and earliest food memories, the greatest hits from BOH (back of house) "family meals" created by fellow Momofuku crew members over the years, and the dinners she scraps together way too late at night before collapsing exhausted, but happy, into bed. This is a story of life, her life, and the food that fuels it.
MLB's recipe index doesn't exactly fall in line with CL's nutrition parameters, but the heart and unadulterated sense of adventure behind this cookie-slinging rock star's cooking is something that most anyone who loves food, loves making it, and loves sharing it can stand by. Tosi makes clear with this second book that yes, she's a busy busy lady with a serious career and an image to maintain. I mean, we're about to see her as a panelist on Master Chef Junior (arguably the greatest cooking show of all time)... she's basically killing it. But every bit of that aside, she continues to walk into a kitchen each day because she believes that that's how she can deliver joy most profoundly, how she can build community, and how she can make a difference in the sphere around her. The oddball compilation of recipes awaiting behind this cover sprinkled with Fruity Pebbles and potato chips could not exist otherwise. Since I picked up her first cookbook published in 2011, Tosi has enchanted and inspired me with her curious spirit in the kitchen, the love she pours into feeding people, and her fearless attitude about embracing Cap'n Crunch as a legitimate pillar in her professional life.
That being that, here are 12 reasons you, too, should embrace the Milk Bar life and make a pretty new addition to your cookbook shelf today:
Reason #1: You didn't buy it yesterday, come on.
Reason#2: Desperation Nachos will forever change the way you look at seemingly hopeless leftover scraps in your fridge. They matter.
Reason #3: Instead of calling it something like "another power salad," Tosi calls her quinoa, blueberry, almond-studded green salad an XXXL Lady Salad. That's my kind of salad-tude.
Reason #4: There's a challenge involved--a Bo Ssam Challenge! Who doesn't love a Bo Ssam Challenge?
Reason #5: Even if you don't read the anecdotes or make any of the recipes (which would be weird of you), MBL makes a lovely picture book. The photos of food are fun and the photo's of Tosi's life/friends are pretty and will have you aspiring to likewise wear mustard yellow large-knit sweaters and floral head scarves.
Reason #6: You'll find fun ways to use up Ritz Crackers, Cornflakes, Tang, and other random supermarket gems you might have hanging out in your pantry for a few weeks too long.
Reason #7: Everything about this book will make you want to throw a wacky fun dinner party. I'm planning to. And I'm so excited about it. There's no way around it.
Reason #8: Four words for you-- Corn. Bread. Ice. Cream.
Reason #9: Tosi provides a solid, cut-and-dry guide to grilling. And if the idea of cooking outdoors over an open flame confuses or intimidates you, Christina seems like a really nice person to hold your hand through it.
Reason #10: There's a chapter titled Freakin' Weekend. I know you wanna know what that's all about.
Reason #11: This quote--I want to create a world where cookies let people know it's going to be okay and remind them to let their imaginations run free.I feel ya, girl.
Reason #12: Tosi gracefully explains what the term OG (Original Gangster) means. Not sure if this is a common plight, but I can't tell you how many times I've described someone or something as OG and been met with confused expressions begging for explanation. Now, at least there's a reputable text I can refer people to.