Joshua Weissman has every reason to be “unapologetic”


Photo by Malley O'Carroll

I have always been one for a challenge, and following YouTuber Joshua Weissman’s intricate videos during quarantine last year was my favorite pastime. My dad and I spent hours each night binge-watching Weissman’s videos where he showed how to enhance recipes and  improve classics from well-known fast-food chains in his “But Better” series. In June, Weissman announced the release of his debut cookbook, “an unapologetic cookbook.” I was quick to pre-order it as a thoughtful Father’s Day gift, but when it was released on Sept. 14, it ended up being a gift for myself.

Instead of overwhelming a new home chef with his recipes, Weissman begins with “a little cooking foundation.” He teaches the reader how to make an array of ingredients instead of buying them at the store — some of these recipes include jams, nut butters, broths, compound butters, cheeses and so much more. I have always appreciated Weissman’s dedication to making almost everything homemade, but he informs his readers when it’s OK to get store bought items without sacrificing flavor. Weissman’s approach to cooking has helped me refine my cooking capabilities and the skills presented are a great way for any new cook to improve their recipes.

A subsection of Weissman’s cooking foundation includes “breads & starches from scratch,” consisting of everything from sourdough and pasta to graham crackers and browned butter cornbread. When it comes to bread, Weissman encourages his audience to measure based on mass rather than volume. He reinforced this in his book by only including metric measurements for a few of his bread recipes. In his other recipes, he gives both imperial and metric measurements. I’ve always found that following Weissman’s recipes using metric measurements yields more consistent results compared to imperial measurements. 

The rest of his book contains a wide variety of recipes from every category: breakfast, appetizers, fish, meats, pastas, sandwiches, vegetables, soups and dessert. The recipes Weissman included will please the average cooking connoisseur. In his YouTube videos, he puts the ingredient list in the video description, and instructions are only included in the videos, which makes it difficult to make his recipes. I’m glad to have this book to be able to follow his recipes with ease instead of getting my phone covered with flour. 

My one disappointment with this book was that Weissman didn’t include his “But Better” recipes. These are some of my favorites to make. I especially love his In-N-Out burger recipe from this series which includes a homemade bun, spread and everything in between. He managed to make up for this by including his key lime pie recipe, which I swear by. It is time-consuming, considering you have to make homemade graham crackers for your crust, but it is worth it everytime. 

Weissman has every right to be “unapologetic” about these recipes considering they always taste Michelin-rated. This is a great cookbook for anyone wanting to expand culinary expertise. I am looking forward to making everything in this book, but I may have to renew my gym membership first.