Do you wish you could be a gourmet cook but dislike cooking? Phyllis Blackman, songwriter, recording artist, and shadchan, just published a unique cookbook titled Bonnie’s Kitchen (a different kind of cookbook).

With humor and fun details, Phyllis shares an exciting cooking journey, filled with all types of recipes from desserts to main dishes, side dishes, bonus recipes for vegetarians, helpful hints, and very clear instructions. There are recipes for everyone; but also, she reaches out to the reader and encourages her as she shares her own trials and tribulations with cooking. The photographs of the food along with the entertaining quips from her avatar on each page add to the fun.

In addition, she includes all sorts of intriguing activities and trivia for the cook. She has a section called Things to Do While Waiting for the Food to Cook. She introduces this section with the following advice: “You must be very careful not to get distracted when cooking. That short phone call to your friend Karen can quickly turn into another burnt pan for your ‘rust in peace’ collection. To avoid this, I’ve put together some interesting things that you can do while sitting in the kitchen, waiting for your food to cook.”

In this section she includes exercises to improve your balance and some of the author’s favorite quotations. This writer especially enjoyed reading the quotations. She also includes jokes and instructions on how to clean leather and instructions on learning Esperanto.

There’s a section on Things to Do When You’re Eating Alone. In this section, she includes: the Rambam’s Advice on Staying Healthy, Learning the States, Quotes to Encourage Success, and Some Not So Interesting Facts About Mozart. Here are a few examples of the Rambam’s advice. “One should eat only when hungry and drink only when thirsty. (The exception to this is when a person suffers from dehydration.) Even when a person feels hungry or thirsty, he should wait briefly, since the sensation is often an instinct and not true hunger. Eat and drink sitting down. Eat calmly without haste.

Below are a few examples from the Quotes to Encourage Success section: “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear” (Rosa Parks). “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” (Thomas A. Edison). “Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” (Mother Theresa). And Phyllis’ favorite: “We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are” (the Talmud).

Phyllis sets the tone of this hilarious cookbook with her introduction: “I’m always buying pots and pans, so people think I’m quite the chef; but the truth is, it’s because I’m always burning them beyond recognition and need replacements. I’ve had to take my smoke alarm down because I was disturbing my neighbors on a regular basis and I’m not ready to move yet… I’ve always loved a home-cooked meal but unfortunately, it’s always at someone else’s home. So why am “I” writing a cookbook, you might ask? Well, here it is. I know Bonnie, the rabbi’s wife, an amazingly gifted cook. I have never eaten anything at her home that didn’t warrant a third helping. She’s always so relaxed and seems to actually enjoy cooking all these fantastic meals. I’ve always wanted to be a “Bonnie.”

She went on to share how she tried to cook a cholent and it looked like a mass of molten lava and seemed to be breathing.

She lets the reader know right away that cooking is not her thing and that helps readers who may be intimidated by most cookbooks and recipes in magazines feel hopeful and encouraged to try. This is a one-of-a-kind cookbook that will lift your spirits and feed your appetite. This writer highly recommends it.

 Phyllis Blackman’s books and CDs are available on iTunes and

By Susie Garber